Our speaker at our regular meeting on August 24th was Will Christensen, an Exchange Student the Tigard Rotary Club sponsored, in partnership with the White Salmon-Bingen Rotary Club, in 2016-17. Will spent most of the past year living and going to school in the City of Isesake, located in the Gunma Prefecture, Japan (about 2-1/2 hours west of Tokyo). He was hosted by the Rotary Club of Isesake, in District 2840. Will presented a photo show, and spoke about his four host families, his friends, his school and his city. He also shared with us many tidbits about the customs, food, clothing styles (like yukatas), social events, Rotary events, his travels around Japan, and some of the other highlights of his year – hot springs, baseball games, roller coaster ride, Universal Studios in Japan, motorcycle trips (in a sidecar), jet skiing, temples and even being the conductor for the school chorus. Will’s presentation provided an excellent overview of just what it is like to be a Rotary Exchange Student.
Jacob presented William with the title of a book that will be placed in the Tigard Library to commemorate his presentation. The book is “Notes on a foreign country: an American abroad in a post-American world” by Suzy Hansen. It is about a revelatory reflection on America’s role in the world from the perspective of a young woman who has been living in Istanbul for the past six years.