Current Invercargill Sunrise Rotary Club President Christine Pryde has been reflecting with club members memories of the great people we have met and the things we have achieved as a club.
In 2010 our Club hosted International Rotary Exchange Student Lucie Kuenen from Belgium.
Lucie recently graduated from University and sent our club the following update and photos.
"In August 2010, I was 17, just finished high school in Belgium and was about to get on a plane that would take me to the other side of the planet : New Zealand! No need to say I was quite nervous as I'm not much of an adventurous/extrovert person. The first challenge was actually to get there because I missed my connecting flights due to the delay of the first one. First lesson learned : if you're not in danger, don't panic about unexpected problems; you'll eventually find the resources to make it right!
Once in Invercargill, I was lucky to be hosted by four amazingly welcoming families as well as a caring counsellor. I don't think there was a very big "culture shock", as we would say in French.
The true challenge is actually to start your new life from scratch. Your town, your house, your family, your language, your school,...obviously everything is new, and you have to find some new friends too!
I think this is what makes you grow personally during a one year exchange : you accomplish things by yourself and learn how you're capable of handling life when you're out of your comfort zone.
My year in New Zealand was a great experience, besides it's an outstanding country! I'm grateful that Rotary could offer me the opportunity to live that.
Today, I wouldn't say I'm more skilful than before, but I clearly have more confidence in the things I can achieve, and that makes a difference!"

Lucie Keunen