Highlight: Rotary Youth Exchange


Eddie Odneal

Most Americans are familiar with exchange students. Its official definition, from Merriam-Webster, is, “…a student from one country received into an institution in another country often in exchange for one sent to an institution in the home country of the first.” To put that in simple words, one student from, for example, America, is sent to France for a year to study, and a student from France comes to America to study.

The interview process for the Rotary Youth Exchange has concluded, and outbound candidates have been established. I spoke with one of the 2023-24 outbound candidates from CCHS: Violet Conway. I myself was accepted into the program, so I will also share some of my input.

Outbound Candidates

What country are you going to be studying in next year?

Violet: ”I’m studying abroad in Spain during my senior year!”

Eddie: “I’ll be studying in Germany my junior year.”

What are you most excited about?

Violet: “I’m mostly excited to explore a new country, experience a culture different from my own, and have a chance to become truly independent away from the comfort of my friends and family.”

Eddie: “I’m excited to be more independent and see the world from another perspective, and I’m also excited to get out of my comfort zone and try new things in Germany.”

What’s your biggest concern?
Violet: “My biggest concern is the possible language barrier, Spain has such a different dialect from any other Spanish-speaking country.”
Eddie: “I’m mostly concerned about making friends and the language barrier. German is a somewhat complicated language, because many German regions speak it differently. I’m worried about feeling like an outsider.”
How do you plan to navigate the struggles of the new country?:
Violet: “To navigate the struggles of a new country I’ve already familiarized myself with the culture, social norms, and basic history of Spain to prevent those sorts of barriers.”
Eddie: “I’ve started researching German culture, studying German, and learning how the school system, public transportation, and everything like that works so I can have some prior knowledge. It’s interesting to learn about!”
Would you encourage other students to go through the interview process?:
Violet: “If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows you to travel and be your own person then I would absolutely recommend studying abroad. However, I understand it’s not for everyone. Studying Abroad isn’t for the faint of heart, It’ll be hard for sure but I absolutely think it’s worth it!”
Eddie: “Yes. If you have a strong work ethic and you’re willing to put a lot of work into your dreams of travel and learning, go for it! I’m so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had so far, and I can’t wait to have even more abroad.”