Studying abroad is an option for high schoolers


Staff writer

MENDOTA – Of course, all students can stay in their hometown and move up the educational ranks like everyone else has since the high school was founded.

However, if you’re brave, want an adventure, or want to see a different part of the world, there are options.

Alisa Stewart, a science teacher at Mendota High School and the president of the Mendota Rotary Club, is hosting an informational meeting about becoming an international exchange student at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3 in the media center at MHS.

“Rotary Club exchange is the best in the world. We sent out two students last year on short-term exchanges over the summer,” Stewart said. “One was for four weeks where we sent a student and we received a student.

“We’re looking for candidates for the short-term exchange for next summer, but we’d also like to find someone in the area, a brave and bold student, who would like to go away for an entire year. It would be an exchange for an entire year.”

The adventurous student gets to pick three dream destinations, as long as they’re safe and stable environments, and then the process of finding which location works the best begins. One of the three nominees chosen by the student is where the student would attend school, live with a family, and meet new friends.

MHS has an international exchange student who arrived Aug. 8, 2023 and is staying until the end of July 2024.

Illinois students have the same opportunity.

“This year we have Elise Verkaeren from Belgium, who is living with Sean and Jennifer Pappas. We love having her here. We want to find some kids from here to go to other countries,” Stewart said. “Our northern Illinois area has sent out two students this year. One student from Moline is going to Brazil and a student from Loves Park is going to France for the year.

“Mendota needs a kid to go. It’s not just Mendota. It’s Earlville, LaMoille, Sublette, Amboy and other towns because the Rotary Club isn’t cutting off any kids from the community.”

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