A Whole New World

By Julian Benedict Rubio | Posted on August 26, 2021

A whole new world. This was also how my journey was described back when the local newspaper of Meredith, New Hampshire did an article on me as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.

My Rotary Exchange experience was featured in the Local Newspaper of Meredith, New Hampshire, USA

I spent a year in the United States and this experience changed my life and my view of the world forever. My fellow exchange students and I lived that year following “The Motto” . It was a song by Drake and Lil Wayne emphasizing “YOLO” meaning “You Only Live Once. We lived the best year of our lives in the whole new world we are living.

A crazy photo collage to summarize my whole year with messages from all my Rotex batchmates

It would be impossible to pick a favorite memory from my exchange in the United States due to the sheer number of opportunities I had and dreams I lived. From studying abroad, to having 4 extended American families, to having additional 21 brothers and sisters from all over the world, to having a White Christmas, to having New Years in Boston, to Skiing the whole winter, to celebrating my Birthday in NYC, to seeing the Boston Celtics play the Washington Wizards, to swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and many more. There are simply too many experiences to pick a favorite.

A page from my college scrapbook project featuring all 3 host families I had during my exchange

A whole new world

If I had to think of the best thing the Rotary Youth Exchange Program had given me, I would say that this program gave me A whole new world. Out of all my life experiences up to date, I would say that my exchange year played a fundamental role in forming and shaping the person I am today. It has given me the courage to step out of my comfort zone; it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry; and has given me the experience of living in an interconnected and continually shrinking world.

Group photo during our orientation weekend

I wanted to pay forward to Rotary because of how incredibly grateful I was for the opportunity I had been given. Now that we have officially chartered as the Rotaract Club of Cosmopolitan Lucena, Rotary International, District 3820. We are all ELEVATED to see what the future will bring. 

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