Each year, more than 8,000 secondary students take part in the Rotary International Student Exchange program and travel from home to a host country to learn about another way of living and a great deal about themselves. Many students take part in the long-term, one-year exchange and they attend high school in their host country. Such is the case for the student with the Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach.
Our 2011 international youth exchange student is Andreas Zahrer who comes to us from Ried im Innkreis, a town in the state of Upper Austria. It is situated in the alpine foothills, approximately 70 km west of Linz and 60 km north of Salzburg, and has a population of some 12,000 people.
At 17 years of age, Andreas is the oldest of three children. His father is a teacher and his mother a nurse. A classmate and good friend was a Rotary youth exchange student from Argentina in 2010 and this sparked Andreas’s interest in the exchange program.
Following an extensive interview with the president of the local Rotary Club, he was selected to be matched with our Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach for the 2011/12 academic year.
Although his previous studies have been focused on mechanical engineering, Andreas is busy immersing himself in our west coast and Island culture and perfecting his English. He is already in great demand as a soccer player and is looking forward to a season of weekend skiing at Mt. Washington.
When Andreas returns to Austria in June, he will have ahead of him two more years of technical school before embarking on a career in mechanical engineering design or marketing. Although he confesses to missing family and friends at home, he continues to enjoy the natural beauty of Oceanside and the friendliness of its people, both in and out of the classroom.
— by Georgia Maclean, PR Chair, Qualicum Beach Rotary Club. Area Rotary Club members will be submitting community news to the
PQB News on a regular basis.