Exchanging Lives

August Elwell, Intern

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It starts with bread. Bread is something you can easily overlook, but it stands for a lot. For the students that participated in Rotary Youth Exchange and other exchange groups like YES(Youth Enrichment Services), bread can mean a lot. “It’s like you Americans put like a lot of sugar in bread here,” says Laura Trinity, ’21. Trinity is a student at Linn-Mar, and is originally from Bielefeld, Germany. When asked the first thing they noticed was different in the states, it was the bread. In every instance, a student from Poland to a student from Uganda, the bread was the first thing. The question is what else is worse in America, or what is sweeter?

The students that are in America are some of the bravest people I know. To fully immerse yourself in a culture must be something that makes you grow. However, some people, such as Xavier student Bernard Reigns, from Uganda, are ready to hop on trends. “I want to be TikTok famous,” Reigns said.

There are so many countries represented at the round table and so little time, I didn’t get the chance to interview all. However from who I interviewed we had students from Palestine, Poland, Germany, Nigeria, Brazil, Sweden, Norway, France, Denmark, Japan, Uganda, and Russia. That is a person from every continent except the poles represented. To have such a diverse group of people all in one place, the conversations we had will be ones to remember.

On the topic of conversation, they ranged from some students from countries with a legal drinking age of 16 thinking about how much they miss beer, to talking about how much they miss family, friends, and pets. Every student expressed anxiety about what they were missing, but somehow had a very firm grasp on reality. 

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Exchanging Lives