Posted on Dec 03, 2019
Whitianga student, Cara Bosman, got some insider tips from New Zealand’s most prominent Dutch official ahead of her departure for a year of study in the Netherlands.
Cara has recently finished at Mercury Bay Area School and will leave for Emmen in the Netherlands on 12 January next year where she will complete her final year of high school education as a Rotary exchange student.
On Thursday last week, she had the opportunity to meet the Dutch ambassador to New Zealand, Mira Woldberg, in Auckland where they discussed, food, cycling and many other aspects of life in the Netherlands.
Warren Sly, Mira Woldberg, Cara Bosman and Peter Maxwell
The meeting was also attended by Warren Sly, president of the Thames Rotary Club and Peter Maxwell, the governor of Rotary District 9930 (covering the North Island coast-to-coast from south of Auckland to north of Palmerston North and Wanganui, including the Coromandel Peninsula and Hawkes Bay).
“Mrs Woldberg was really lovely and was interested in hearing all about how my exchange came about and the ongoing relationship between Rotary in New Zealand and The Netherlands,” Cara said.
The 17-year-old is sponsored by the Thames Rotary Club to participate in the Rotary Youth Exchange programme. “In order to be selected, I had to complete an application form and meet with members of Rotary District 9930, as well as previous exchange students,” said Cara. “They wanted to understand what I would bring to the exchange as well as how I would benefit from it. I’m most excited about experiencing a different culture and hopefully forming new relationships that will continue into the future.”
In addition to holding a pilot’s licence, Cara is passionate about dance and music. She is hoping these two avenues will provide her with opportunities to form friendships in the Netherlands. “I will also be looking for a team sports I can participate in, maybe volleyball,” she said.
The Rotary Youth Exchange programme gives students an opportunity to learn a new language, discover another culture and truly become global citizens. Exchanges for students aged 15 to 19 are sponsored by Rotary clubs in more than 100 countries.
“I’ve been in contact with the first of the host families I will stay with, Bas and Judith Siebring,” said Cara. “Bas is a teacher at Carmelcollege Emmen, the school I’ll be attending, and Judith is a member of the Emmen-t’Loo Rotary Club, the club that will host me, so I will be going to Rotary meetings with her.”
Cara already speaks fluent Afrikaans, which has similarities with Dutch, helping her to pick up the new language. “I went on the website of Carmelcollege and I could understand most of it, so I think I’ll be okay,” she said.
The Thames Rotary Club, the only Rotary club on the Coromandel, has recently decided to establish a satellite club in Whitianga. “Rotary is involved in an enormous amount of good work around the world,” said Warren Sly. “We think a focus on the organisation’s youth programmes is a good initial fit for a satellite club in Whitianga. In addition to the exchange programme Cara will be participating in, there’s also a shorter exchange programme for younger students to Australia as well as leadership development camps and awards, the Rotary National Science and Technology Forum at Auckland University, peer support programmes and several other opportunities.”
Anyone interested to become involved in a rotary club in Whitianga is welcome to contact Warren at email or telephone (021) 772 351.