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GRSP Update
Sharing Memories, Investing in the Future

Above - Lynn Clarke and Anita, her first GRSP student. Below - Magu from Brazil, Class of 2017-18

Above - Lynn Clarke and Anita, her first GRSP student. Below - Magu from Brazil, Class of 2017-18

GRSP Class of 2018-2019

This year Georgia Rotary Clubs will host 47 students from 13 countries, attending 23 schools in Georgia. District 6900 will be hosting 21 students from Brazil, Pakistan, Columbia, Turkey, Germany, Scotland, Sweden, England, Denmark, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Of those, 15 are female and six are male. 42 of our 68 clubs are hosting a student for next year. The other Districts will also be hosting students from France, Sri Lanka and Turkey. From our District, we are sending one student to UGA, two students to Columbus State, two students to Georgia Southwestern, two students to Kennesaw, five students to Oglethorpe, one student to North Georgia, two students to Clayton State, one student to University of West Georgia, three students to Valdosta, one student to LaGrange and one student to Georgia State University.

This is a good time of year to take a look at your student’s “suitcase” to be sure that they have the things that they need to make their stay in a dorm a pleasant one. It is very easy to just recycle everything that your student from last year had, but it is a gift to your new student to take a look at what you have and throw out a few things that may have become worn out over the years. Some students take excellent care of the items in their suitcase, but others … well ... not so much.

Also, be sure to write your student over the summer before they arrive to be sure that there are no mis-communications about their arrival. You want as many people as possible at the airport to welcome them. As I look through the pictures of students over the 20 years plus that I have been involved with GRSP, it is fun to reminisce about how excited the student was to see so many American faces beaming at them with their welcome signs and flags. How wonderful would you feel, if you were met at the airport by so many people!!!!

For those of you with young children, invite your student to your home for a meal or even out to a restaurant with the kiddies. The students enjoy this and your children will learn about the world through the eyes of young people living the dream of spending a year in Georgia, but with remembrances of home.

On a Personal Note

This summer I was lucky enough to travel to Scandinavia for a couple of weeks with my grandchild, who is 13. I wanted to see all of my students, but as I count my Scandinavians, I knew that it was just not possible. I was able to spend an entire day with the very first student that I hosted, who happened to be from Denmark. My granddaughter and I were able to meet Anita’s two children and her husband and to talk about old times and new times. This is a picture of us standing on her balcony in Copenhagen.

Many of us host families have had the wonderful experience of seeing our students in their own environment. We have attended weddings and have become GRSP grandparents over the years. We have had our students’ families visit with us and some of us have been lucky enough to visit them. Would I have had the chance to spend a week in a vacation home on the coast of Sweden had I not hosted a student? Would I have been able to pick strawberries with the locals on a “pick your own farm” in Sweden, if I had not hosted a student? Would I have dined in Sweden with friends for lunch under a hot June sun? Would I have walked nearly 10 miles in one day to see major sites in Copenhagen with a local? Would I have eaten in a Mexican Restaurant and been invited to a party for a newly graduated doctor that was a previous GRSP student? Probably not … unless I had hosted a GRSP student. Think about it!

Goodbye to the Class of 2017-2018

Many of us said goodbye to our students from last year just in the last couple of weeks. We have a couple of students that will be staying in the States either on another scholarship or as summer interns, but for the most part they have all returned home. One of our students, Maria Augusta "Magu" Ferreira de Assis Moura, from Brazil, attended Clayton State University. She wrote in the GRSP Yearbook:

For a year and a half leading up to and during the application process, GRSP was all that I wanted. I didn’t think I was going to get it though, so when I did I couldn't really believe it. Even when I finally arrived in the U.S. parts of me still didn't think it was real. Little by little, it all became true. A lot wasn't like I thought it was going to be........... Being able to visit different states in the country, and getting to know different places in Georgia was great, as was learning a bit more about American culture every single day.

This was undeniably an amazing opportunity to be able to study subjects I wasn't going to learn back in my home country. I have definitely learned and grown so much as a person due to this incredible year. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who made this opportunity possible for me: my host families, my trustee and last but not least families that weren't assigned as my host families but did welcome me as one of them. I had the best time with all of them.

The most absolutely amazing part of this year is the friendships I have made with other GRSPs from all over the world that I am going to cherish for the rest of my life. It was incredible now even during our first get-togethers I was able to tell that these friendships will last forever. I will never forget each and every one of you, especially all of our crusty moments! I have learned about different cultures from completely different places in the world, tried different types of food and just bonded with other amazing kids! Now I have a place to crash anywhere in the world, and my home is always going to be open to those whom I spent this year with.

Gratefulness is the word I want to finish this with. I am grateful for all I experienced, everyone I met, and everything I was able to do. Thank you, GRSP, for the best year of my life.

Magu - Brazil

Clayton State University

Posted by Lynn Clarke
July 7, 2018

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