Chester High School senior Hanna Doyle and her family have been quite busy in recent weeks preparing for a brand new experience.
Doyle applied for, and has been approved as, a Rotary Youth exchange student to Germany.
Even though expenses such as room, board and school fees are provided on her arrival in the host country, she still has certain costs to cover as part of getting there.
Round-trip airfare, travel insurance, travel documents such as passports and visas, spending money and any additional costs for tours or extra travel are all the responsibility of the student.
To that end, Hanna and her family are looking for sponsors that would like to help, and they are planning a pasta dinner as a fundraiser to help offset the costs.
This is not just any pasta dinner, this will be a dining delight prepared by Rotarian and Westwood Calvary Chapel Pastor Terry Johnson.
Johnson said the meal will include rigatoni with a Bolognese sauce, tossed green salad with creamy Italian dressing, garlic bread and beverages.
The dinner will be held at the Chester Memorial Hall on Friday, April 21, at 6 p.m.
There will also be prize drawings available.
Rotary Youth Exchange is a Rotary International student exchange program for students in secondary school.
Since 1929, RI has sent young people around the globe to experience new cultures.
Currently, Rotary clubs sponsor about 9,000 students each year. The typical length of stay for a student in another country is a year.
The student will normally live with two or more host families during the year. They are expected to help with daily tasks in the household as well as attend school in the host country.
Events for students vary from country to country and district to district, but exchange students are often able to visit other parts of their host country and sometimes other countries while living with their host families.
Many host districts organize tours for the visiting students, which may include weekend trips to nearby cities or even tours of the host country that may last several weeks.
Some students in Europe take part in “Eurotours,” visiting many countries in two to four weeks.
Like most exchange programs, however, the primary purpose of RYE is to provide a cultural and academic exchange. Significant independent travel by students is therefore not allowed.
The benefits for an exchange student include serving as an ambassador for their country and community; making lifelong friends, not only within the host country, but also with other students from around the world; learning about the cultural practices and accomplishments of people in other countries; and building memories that will be with them for a lifetime.
The students can return home with a deeper sense of other cultures and a better understanding of those cultures and their place in the world.