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Youth Connection - International Youth Exchange
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Rotary Youth Exchange Program


Every year approximately 7,000 students ages 15 to 19 go abroad under the auspices of the Rotary Youth Exchange program, either for the academic year or an extended period of time. The increased self awareness and global perspective that this program promotes is helping to make the world a little smaller, one community at a time.  The Middletown Rotary Club has a long history of participation in the Youth Exchange Program.  Some of our former students even have their own teenagers entering the program.


To learn more about Rotary International's Youth Exchange Program, visit the RI web site.

For more information about the Middletown Rotary Club's exchange program, contact committee chair Dan Litwin dlitwin@youngsprinting or 860-347-8567 Art Meyers at ameyers@russell.lioninc.org or 860-347-0196.


Meet our international students...




2008-2009 YE

Felicia Bironneau, 2011-12

Home: France

School: Middletown High

Willy Lin, 2008-09

Home: Taiwan

School: Middletown High

Ariel Camargo, 2007-08

Home: Brazil

School: Middletown High


Katharina Wrede, 2006-07

Home: Konstanz, Germany

School: Middletown High

Azumi Hattori, 2005-06

Home: Komaki, Japan

School: Middletown High

Lison Botha, 2004-05

Home: Savoy, France

School: Middletown High


Alejandra Castro, 2003-04

Home: Santiago, Chile

School: Middletown High

Amina Omicevic, 2002-03

Home: Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

School: Middletown High

Oscar Rubio, 2001-02

Home: Guayaquil, Ecuador

School: Middletown High



Eduardo Salazar, 2000-01

School: Portland High


Juergen Bruenjes, 1999-2000

Home: Hanstedt, Germany


Sharon Supit, 1998-99

Home: Jakarta, Indonesia

School: Haddam-Killingworth 



Previous outgoing students...

Name Home Town Country Visited Year  
Lorraine Poitras Middletown Venezuela 2006-07 Blog
Matt Christopher Middletown Thailand 2006-07  
Brittany Hall Middletown France 2006-07  


Hartford Courant Article - July 20, 2006...

Rotary Gives Students New World Views In Exchanges

Courant Staff Writer

July 20 2006

MIDDLETOWN -- Come fall, three Middletown High School students will travel around the world, and two youths from India and Germany will visit the city.

The trips are sponsored by Middletown Rotary Club's international student-exchange program, which sends students abroad and hosts international students each year. The program began internationally in 1927, and in Middletown in the 1970s.

"Think of them as ambassadors," says Arthur Meyers, who chairs the local Rotary chapter's international service committee. "You get enriched by learning about a different culture."

Middletown High School students Brittany Hall, Matthew Christopher and Louriane Poitras will be heading to France, Thailand and Venezuela, respectively. Katharina Wrede, a 17-year old from Germany, and Vishal Sudhakar, a 15-year-old from southeast India, will be coming to Middletown. The students will spend the entire school year in the countries.

Hall's family has hosted two students in the past two years: Lison Betha from France and Azumi Hattori from Japan.

"[My husband] and I do love to embrace different cultures," said Laura Hall, Brittany's mother. "We thought it'd be a great experience for our kids."

Three families generally divide the responsibility of hosting a student, so that the students experience American life in a variety of households.

The hardest part was "making them bridge that guest-feeling to a family-feeling," said Laura Hall.

The experience made a strong impression on Brittany, who wanted to visit France, partly because her family hosted Lison.

"She was just a lot of fun. I really liked everything she told me about France," Brittany said.

While she is excited about visiting Paris and the Alps, she said she's keeping in mind that she will be an ambassador, above all.

"A lot of countries look down upon America," she said. "I think it's important for Americans to go out and be different from the stereotypes."

Programs like the Youth Exchange increase in importance as conflicts overseas get worse.

"I think more so than ever, it's important that students become citizens of the world and become aware of the different beliefs, cultures, religions and different customs," said John Hennelly, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. "Not so much building tolerance of it, but building an appreciation of it."

While the foreign students are in Middletown, they will deliver presentations about their native countries to other community members, including elementary schools. The outbound students will give similar presentations while abroad.

Meyers hopes that the Youth Exchange helps make changes around the world.

"That's our goal, that it fosters understanding," he said.

Meyers has found two of the six Middletown families needed to host the students. Anyone interested in hosting can contact Meyers in the evening at 860-638-3819.

Contact Sapna Maheshwari at smaheshwari@courant.com.

Copyright 2006, Hartford Courant