FULTON – For nearly 50 years, the Fulton Noon Rotary Club has hosted a high school foreign exchange student for the school year.
The students arrive in mid August and return home by August first the next year.
The students are ages 16 to 18 years old and are usually in their last year of high school in their home country.
About 40 students come into Rotary District 7150, the six counties in Central New York, and about the same number of American students leave to study in a foreign country.
The students and their families pay for the travel and each Rotary Club gives the students $75 a month for spending money.
The exchange students live with three Rotarian or community families.
This gives each student the chance to experience how different families live, their friends and relatives, various religions and activities in our community.
Many of the exchange students take a month long bus tour of the whole United States during the month of July each year.
The Rotary clubs are always in need of homes to house the exchange students each year.
If you are interested in housing an exchange student, please contact Judy Young, youth chairperson at 593-1888.
As you live and teach an exchange student, you learn as much about their country as they learn about ours.
Some of the countries the Rotarians are presently exchanging with are: British Isles, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Argentina.
Some years the Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club participates in the student exchange program.
Our exchange student this year is from Japan.
She was introduced to the Rotarians by Judy Young at a recent meeting.
Her name is Otone Ouishi.
She came to our city in late August from Nanto City, a “town” of 54,600 in western Japan.
She comes from a large family of three older brothers and two older sisters.
She said that her hometown, probably like many in Japan, is a big festival celebration city with a New Year’s festival, a Lion Dance festival in the spring and a big four-day Summer Festival.
She attends Nanto Fukumitso High School and Otone said that the students stay in one classroom; the teachers rotate to them.
And, days can be long with, according to Otone, 10-12 hour school days being commonplace.
It appears that Otone is enjoying her time in this country and she does plan on taking the U.S. tour at the end of the school year.