Archived Story

Student from El Salvadore learns about Southwest Georgia

Published 8:30pm Friday, May 16, 2014

By CAROLYN IAMON
News Writer

Alexandra Mejia, the 2013-14 international exchange student from El Salvadore, sponsored by the Georgia Rotary Student Program, gave Bainbridge Rotarians a recap on the academic year she has just spent in Southwest Georgia.
After completing her freshman year at Valdosta State University, where she is majoring in public relations, she told Rotarians about all the non-academic things she has learned in what she termed as, “a fantastic year.”
She opened her speech with the greetings, “Hi, Y’all,” an expression she has come to love, although she admits the first few times she heard it she wondered who was standing next to her.
Other lessons learned are about Southwest Georgia food. She was looking for oatmeal and picked up grits by mistake. Then, Diet Coke was actually sweet tea. “The food has a lot of carbs and I gained a lot of weight,” she confesses. She also had to learn to do her own laundry and she put in too much soap the first time, resulting in the suds running out into the hall.
She learned about snakes and insects — none of which she likes — but apparently the good points outweigh the bad, as she is coming back to VSU this fall as a sophomore.
Each year the Bainbridge Rotary Club shares the GRSP student with the Camilla and Pelham clubs, each of which have a host family that provides a home away from home on down time.
She had opportunity to travel with all three of the families.  She went to Arizona where she learned about hiking; Pensacola, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Disney, and Destin, just to name a few.
She said there are international students representing 12 cultures at VSU and she learned amazing things from each of them, as well as the international teachers from whom she learned responsibility.,
“We come from different places, but we all have the same desire for peace. “ she explains. “I’ve learned that peace is possible and all Rotarians are cool.”
She said the students can always count on a Rotarian to support them if they need help.

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