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Deadline for youth exchange applications approaching

Local teens looking to explore new places may soon get their chance. The Rotary clubs of Grande Prairie and Grande Prairie Swan city will be accepting applications until November 5th to send two high school students overseas for a year.

Rotary Club of Grande Prairie Youth Exchange Committee Chair Karen Munjak says students come back from exchange knowing more about the world than when they left.

“They learn about another country, they come home fluent in another language and they get a real appreciation for being a global citizen. It’s a huge learning experience and the kids who come back from this really grow as individuals and have such a broader view of the world.”

Munjak’s club has been giving teens this opportunity since the 1970s and says they’ve sent around 100 teens so far. Each club will send one student, at no cost to the parents, in August of 2019 to live with a host family and attend school in a different country. Munjak says each family is screened to make sure they are safe before a student is sent.

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“The host families are generally Rotarian and they have to go through police background checks as well as completing an application to our district to be a host family. We do home visits to make sure everything is above board and that it’s a good placement for our students. A similar check is also done in our host countries.”

This year Munjak says her club will be receiving a student from Italy and the other club will welcome someone from Austria. The program is open to students who are 16-years-old by June 30, 2019, and they can not turn 19 while they are on exchange. They also are not allowed to graduate high school before they leave.

Applications for the exchange are due online by the end of the day on November 5th. Successful applicants will then be contacted by Rotary for an interview on the 10th.

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