Westfield Rotary sponsors exchange student

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Westfield Rotary Club’s first outbound Youth Exchange Student Rachel Zaiger, and her parents, Gaynelle and Brian Zaiger, at a recent Tuesday morning meeting. (Photo by Jim Dahl)

Westfield Rotary Club’s first outbound Youth Exchange Student Rachel Zaiger, and her parents, Gaynelle and Brian Zaiger, at a recent Tuesday morning meeting. (Photo by Jim Dahl)

By Ken Kingshill

The Westfield Rotary Club is sponsoring a Carmel High School student’s opportunity to spend her senior year in Switzerland. Rachel Zaiger, 16, spoke to the club at a recent Tuesday morning meeting expressing her excitement and anticipation for her upcoming trip.

Rotary Youth Exchange is a study-abroad opportunity for young people who spend up to a year as an international student hosted by a local Rotary Club. Prime candidates for the program are youth between the ages of 15 and 19 who have demonstrated leadership in their school and community; are flexible and willing to try new things; are open to cultural differences; and can serve as an ambassador for their own country.

The Westfield club will pay a portion of Zaiger’s necessary costs and expenses for such things as insurance, travel documents, airfare and additional travel and tour fees. The club also serves as a form of hometown support for her during her stay abroad. Zaiger will be sponsored by a local Rotary Club in Switzerland. She will live with a host family from that local club and attend the local school there.

Zaiger is the daughter of City of Westfield Attorney Brian and Gaynelle Zaiger and has three older brothers. She enjoys running, reading, listening to music and plays rugby. She participates in Best Buddies and is a member of the “Do Something Club,” volunteering at nursing homes and homeless shelters. As part of the rigorous application process, she was required to prioritize a list of 45 potential countries. Switzerland was her first choice because she enjoys skiing and there’s potential to travel to other parts of Europe.

Zaiger is the Westfield Rotary Club’s first outbound Youth Exchange Student. In the past, the club sponsored inbound students from Russia and Spain.

The Westfield Rotary Club meets from 7 to 8 a.m. every Tuesday for breakfast at the Bridgewater Club. Visitors are welcome. For more information, contact Ryan Rothacker at ryan.rothacker@dukerealty.com.

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