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Rotary Youth Exchange Program sending Kuskie sisters abroad PDF Print E-mail


By Tawny Burmood

UNL Student Intern


Janet and Jeannie Kuskie, two Perkins County High School students chosen to participate in the International Rotary Youth Exchange Program for 2010-2011, will soon be setting out on a journey to foreign lands.

After being accepted late last year to the program, the two sisters have been working hard to earn enough money to spend a full year abroad. Janet will be leaving for Finland Aug. 7 and Jeannie for France on Aug. 25.

Not only have they been working hard at their summer jobs, but they have also held fundraisers. They sold ice cream sundaes at the park on July 4 and popcorn at the movie night in the park on July 14.

   Along with raising money for the trip they’ve been researching about their respective country and practicing language of their countries. 

In June they attended a five day outbound camp the program puts on, where they learned more about the countries they will be traveling to and brushed up on facts about the U.S. and Nebraska. As for the language barriers, many people in Finland and France speak English fluently, but both girls have been picking up some basic words they will need to know.

Janet said she started learning Finnish in March, but she will also be getting the chance to pick up the language when she is sent through a language camp during her first week’s stay overseas. After, she will get a couple days to explore the area before moving in with her first Rotary connected family and starting the school year. Jeannie said she has been using Rosetta Stone for her teachings.

During their stay both girls will be attending school and will stay with a total of three to four families each. And they will spend three to four months with each family. 

Janet said she has been in contact with three of her families and talks to them three times a week through e-mail. Although Jeannie hasn’t had any contact from her hosting parents, she said, she knows she will be living with three different families.

The Rotary Youth Exchange requires the students stay with at least two host families to help achieve a maximum amount of cultural immersion. 

The program’s goal is to enable students to advance their education and world understanding by sending a select number of high school students to over 100 different countries and immersing them into different cultures. 

Each year it awards 8,000 students with a once in this lifetime opportunity.  In the end the program aims to promote community leaders who will volunteer their time and talents to help serve others and improve the quality of life in their communities.

While the Kuskie girls are abroad they will act as community leaders by meeting with other Rotary club members once a week to share their culture. When they return home, Janet and Jeannie will address local Rotary clubs about their experience and assimilate the positive aspects into their everyday living. 

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