Rotary to send next exchange student to Chile
Rosie Roppel / Submitted Photo
Willis poses in Anchorage with Dennis Barrill, returning to Juneau from Chile and Mauro Araya an exchange student from Chile who's been studying in Soldotna.
The Petersburg Rotary Club is sponsoring sophomore Kyla Willis' trip to Chile where she will spend her next school year as an exchange student.
Willis, Sven Heinrichs, the Rotary exchange student in Petersburg from Dortmund, Germany, as well as other students in Alaska from around the world attended the Rotary District 5010's Winter Orientation in Anchorage earlier this month.
Local Rotary Club member Dave Berg said students meet with their peers from Alaska and abroad to help determine where they might want to travel. A selection committee also observed each student.
"The kids give the committee their input," Berg said. "We get a feel for the kids and choose a country."
Students participated in cultural awareness and educational activities and preparation exercises. The Rotary District will send 20 students abroad to countries such as Denmark, Finland, South Africa, Turkey and Indonesia.
Willis was selected by the local Rotary Club and completed an additional interview process in Anchorage where she was selected by the district.
"I'm really excited more than anything," Willis said. "I don't know why I'm not nervous. I get to go somewhere new for a change. I don't have to stay in Alaska."
Willis said she's looking forward to touring the Easter Island-an island dotted by moai monumental stones built by the Rapa Nui, an extinct Polynesian tribe.
Willis said she needs to brush up on her knowledge of the Spanish language.
"I know the word 'hola,'" she laughed.
Willis will be gone for a year, leaving Petersburg this August.
"I will miss everybody," Willis said. "It's like you're leaving your life for a year. It's going to be exciting and scary and all those things at the same time."