Posted on Jun 03, 2021
The following article is from Kandace Mink, a Rotary Youth Exchange student. It was in response to a message sent to several dozen such students who are on RI's list of "Alumni" with addresses in District 6380.
In addition to former Youth Exchange students, RI's list includes Rotaractors, Interactors, Ambassadorial Scholars, and Group Student Exchange participants among a few other smaller categories. The list includes about 500 names dating back several decades. Over half of the entries have an email address which facilitates electronic contact.
Here's what she wrote:
Thank you for your email! Yes I was an exchange student during 2015/2016 from Birmingham, MI to Taiwan! 
To this today, I am forever grateful to Rotary & the experience you all provided for me, it was life changing quite literally. I met so many different people & my mind blossomed in ways I could never have imagined without that experience. 
Through Rotary, I have made life long friends who I can connect with even to this day, no matter where I go. 
I had a french exchange student in my home as well who was from Rotary who is to this day my best friend who I call my sister as well. Through her, I got to go to France myself & that sparked me living in France these last 2 years working as an Au Pair there. While in France, I was able to meet many exchange students I had gone on exchange with!! 
Without Rotary, I wouldn't be where I am today, I would have never moved to France or have the mindset I have today. 
Currently I am in Texas but hopefully I'll have my ability to go abroad again- Rotary sparked my forever lasting passion for being immersed in new cultures, languages, and way of life.
My experience in Taiwan at 16 years old, altered my life & I have seen fragments of how it has every single day since I left. 
I truly can never express enough gratitude to what Rotary has done for my life & I can say the same for all the exchange students I have met (I even randomly bumped into Rotary Exchange students while in Bolivia this past November!! And it is amazing how Rotary Exchange students will always have that connection, no matter if you knew them before or not.) 
Thank you all greatly!