EIGHT Bendigo students will embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they take part in the Rotary Youth Exchange program this month.
Students will spend 12 months overseas, in either France, Denmark, Germany, Brazil or Norway, with each student spending their time abroad with four different host families.
The program, sponsored by local Rotary clubs, aims to provide students with a life-changing opportunity and fosters international peace, goodwill and learning.
Applications for the 2013 program were received in April and successful applicants informed in June of their acceptance into the program.
Year 10 student Gabriela Giggins, who will leave for Denmark on January 18, said she was excited about the exchange.
“Denmark is a place I have always wanted to go,” she said.
“I love Princess Mary so I think that had something to do with why I put Denmark as my preference.”
She said she hoped to be more confident and “worldly” upon her return home next year.
Ms Giggins said she would get homesick but thanks to Rotary had learnt ways to cope.
“Since I got accepted last year I have been doing different sorts of training sessions with the Rotary that will help me when I go overseas,” she said.
“Things like what to do when I get homesick and how to make friends.”
She said she would keep in contact with her friends and family through Facebook and her blog.
Bendigo couple Margaret and Ray Paulsen have hosted 23 international exchange students since 1973.
Ms Paulsen said the Rotary exchange program was one of the best offered in Australia.
“The students get to meet interesting people from all walks of life and share their cultures,” she said.
“They are only gone for one year however they come back four to five years older,” she said.
Rotary will soon seek applications for next year’s exchange program.
Anyone interested can visit www.rotaryyouthexchangeaustralia.com.au