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Busselton-Geographe Bay Rotary club celebrates return of Youth Exchange Program

Headshot of Breanna Redhead
Breanna RedheadBusselton Dunsborough Times
Ray and Chihiro Gannaway met after Chihiro travelled to Busselton in 2000 and later returned to live in the city.
Camera IconRay and Chihiro Gannaway met after Chihiro travelled to Busselton in 2000 and later returned to live in the city. Credit: supplied

With West Australians beginning to warm up to once again travelling internationally, the Rotary Club of Busselton-Geographe Bay has welcomed the travel bug back in style.

With the much-cherished Rotary Youth Exchange Program on the back burner since the last 2020 trip was cut short because of Covid-19, the club has officially announced the relaunch of the program in 2024.

In celebration of the news, the club invited past exchange students and host families to a reunion dinner at the Geographe Bay Yacht Club last Saturday evening.

After exchanging stories and memories of their trips abroad, guests were treated to a Zoom call with two past exchange students from Italy.

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With a global network of more than 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries, Busselton-Geographe Bay Rotary Club president John Mark said he is proud the limitless possibilities available to young people.

“Our exchange program has included Finland, Denmark, Brazil, Italy Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, South Africa, France and USA, among others,” he said.

“In fact, the idea of a cultural exchange with Japan was first discussed at a Rotary International World Conference in 1988 which eventually led to Busselton’s Sister City relationship with Sugito.”

The Rotary Youth Exchange is one of many youth leadership development programs offered by Rotary, which believe that living in a foreign country is a powerful way to gain global understanding and promote peace.

Available to young people between the ages of 15 and 19, the program aims to teach travellers a better global understanding and promote peace across the world.

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