Last year I made one of the hardest decisions of my life by moving 1000 miles away from Florida to Philadelphia. Through my involvement with Rotary in Florida, I knew that joining Rotaract of Philadelphia would help my transition as I moved back this year.
Coincidentally, the first event that I attended with Rotaract brought me face to face with a group of people who knew exactly how it felt to be so far from home (although I must admit, they probably traveled slightly farther than I did). On Sunday, September 25th I had the pleasure of meeting students who had come to America through Rotary’s Youth Exchange program all the way from Brazil, Italy, and Venezuela, just to name a few of the countries represented there.
The day started with us meeting at Reading Terminal, and walking to Independence Mall. Along the way I talked with a few of the exchange students, as well as some of their host brothers and sisters. Even though we had just met, we all got along extremely well. We talked about colleges and our respective countries and I encouraged the two students from Brazil to help me with my Portuguese. Once we got to Independence Mall we got a tour of all of the important rooms, and took a ton of pictures.
When we were done there we took the short walk to see the Liberty Bell, where some of the students began exchanging pins that had their names and countries on them (which are now hanging proudly on my bulletin board).
After more pictures, we began the walk to South Street. During this walk I discovered that one of the students who was visiting from Italy is now attending high school with one of my best friend’s brothers (it really IS a small world!) and started making plans to meet back up with a group of them.
During our free time on South Street we broke off into smaller groups, roaming in and out of the stores while telling each other stories, either about our own countries or about the things they had seen while visiting here.
All too soon the day had ended and it was time for me to head back to University City. But the day was something I won’t soon forget. I am so happy that I was able to be a part of their time here in America and I look forward to other events that will bring us together again.