Applications sought for 2025 Rotary youth exchange program

Suzanne AstonBusselton Dunsborough Times
Megan Grosse, Meg Watson, and Shelley O'Brien with exchange student Sofia Siribeli.
Camera IconMegan Grosse, Meg Watson, and Shelley O'Brien with exchange student Sofia Siribeli. Credit: Suzanne Aston

The Rotary Club of Busselton-Geographe Bay is appealing for applicants for its 2025 international youth exchange program.

The program is open for students between the ages of 15 and 18, who will get a chance to live like a local in another country for a year.

Applications are open until March 31 and the program will start in January 2025.

Students interested in applying for a position should be making sound progress at school and have a general interest in people and places.

They should also be really interested in sharing Australian culture and experiencing other cultures.

The program has been running since it started in 1927, with about 9000 students taking part worldwide every year.

Brazilian student Sofia Siribeli is currently on the Rotary Youth Exchange program here in Busselton, where she is attending school and living with four families during her year-long visit.

Ms Siribeli has been in Busselton for six months and said she was enjoying it immensely.

“I’m so close to the beach, I just love it here, all the travel is so much fun,” she said.

“Leaving my family in Brazil was the hardest thing I have ever done. I try to call them as much as I can.”

As part of the program Ms Siribeli has a Rotary Club blazer that over the course of her stay will become adorned with mementos of her travels.

Rotary Club of Busselton-Geographe Bay exchange program manager and youth director Shelley O’Brien said all students who took part would receive a Rotary Club blazer.

“It is not unusual for these blazers to end up weighing 20kg under the weight of all the badges,” she said.

Ms O’Brien is also looking for local families to host international students in Busselton.

The next inbound students will arrive in Busselton in July and will stay with each host family for three months.

For more information on how to apply for a position or to act as a host family, contact Ms O’Brien via email shelleyobrien72@gmail.com or on 0438 381 790.

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