To the Editor:

Rotary is an international organization committed to the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a fellowship of business and professional people united in the ideal of service. In furtherance of these goals, the Rotary Club of Wilton sponsors an exchange student each year from another country. Our exchange student attends Wilton High School and lives with three local families during the course of one full academic year.

For the academic year 2015–2016, the Wilton Rotary Club will be hosting Elise, an exchange student from Japan. Elise will be 17 years old in November and appears very enthusiastic about her anticipated experience in the U.S. Elise has studied English for 16 years. She has two younger siblings. Her father is a University Lecturer and her mother teaches English. Elise loves music. She plays piano and also plays percussion in the school band in Japan.

The Wilton Rotary Club is currently looking for host families for the 2015-2016 school year. We need a total of three host families and one “safe house” family, in case of an emergency. Each host family is asked to provide a home for our student for a period of three months. Elise will reside with each host family just as if she were a member of the family, and she is expected to participate in family life just as the host family’s own children do.

Elise will reside with the first host family from mid- to late August through mid- to late November. The second family hosts from late November to mid- to late February. The third family hosts from late February through May. Specific transition dates are arranged directly between the host families based on their schedules and convenience.

Elise will attend Wilton High School as a full time student. This enables her to advance her education by studying in an environment entirely different from her own, and undertaking courses and subjects not normally available to her in her own country. She is expected to study and observe our culture so that upon returning home she can pass on the knowledge she’s gained and assimilate the positive aspects into her everyday life.

The objectives of the program are to enable students to study first-hand some of the problems and accomplishments of people in lands other than their own; and to broaden their outlook by meeting and learning to live with people of different cultures and by having to cope with day-to-day events in an environment completely different from their own. They are also expected to act as ambassadors for their own country while they are here, by addressing youth groups and community organizations and teaching us about their culture. Even in the short time they are with you, you will see amazing growth in your exchange student.

We are a relatively small program, with usually only one student each year. Our primary goal is to provide a safe and rewarding experience for our exchange student, and the host families are pivotal in creating that experience. Your participation can have a very positive effect on our student and provide a rewarding experience for you and your family.

Please contact Elizabeth A. Edwards, Rotary Club of Wilton, youth exchange officer, if you are interested in hosting a Rotary Exchange Student this year, or if you would like more information about the program.

Elizabeth A. Edwards
Rotary Club of Wilton
Youth Exchange Officer