Looks Bright: Globe trotter readies for year abroad

Published 12:09 am Saturday, May 2, 2015

LAPLACE — SCC Senior Elizabeth Watson, daughter of Lisa and Darroch Watson, has been chosen as an Ambassador of Rotary Youth Exchange International Program participant.

Rotary Youth Exchange is one of Rotary’s oldest international programs and is a key component of Rotary’s New Generations and Peace initiatives. Each year the Rotary sends around 8,000 students to take part in the youth exchange. Students between 15 and 18 spend one full school year studying in another country and attending Rotary meetings every week. The program is about being a Rotarian ambassador.

Elizabeth Watson

Elizabeth Watson

Rotary Youth Exchange students attend one school for one academic year and generally stay with two to three families during that time. The Rotary Club decides which country the nominee goes to from a pre-approved list including Denmark, Belgium, India, Brazil, Taiwan, South Korea or Ecuador.

As a Comet since eighth grade, Watson never thought this is what she wanted to do. However, when she heard about the opportunity, she was more than excited to apply.

“I didn’t think I was going to be accepted when I applied,” Watson said, adding Madame Christine Creppel, SCC’s French teacher, had a positive effect on her decision.

“When she would tell me of her France trips, it pushed me to the choice I made,” Watson said. “I wanted to know what it was like to have that feeling.”

Watson applied in November, interviewed in early December and was accepted a few weeks later. She will be leaving for a year in Denmark Aug. 8 and will be studying abroad for the 2015-2016 school year at the Haderslev Cathedral School. Although the classes won’t count for college credit, Watson said the trip will still be very educational.

“I’ve applied for this program in hopes to explore the world around me,” Watson said. “I’m hoping to come back with a broader view of the world.

“Denmark is broken up into multiple Rotary districts, and I will be living with three different families in the city of Haderslev in the south of Denmark. Haderslev is located on the main island Jutland.”

Watson traveled to New York recently to apply for the visa needed in order to make her a temporary Dane. In New York, she also had her biometrics taken, which includes her picture, figure scan and signature.

“When I arrive in Denmark, I will attend a week-long orientation camp,” she said, adding its purpose is to prepare the students to be ambassadors and represent America well.

“My parents met on a teaching exchange in Japan, so they are very supportive of my exchange,” Watson said. “I’m very excited about this opportunity I’ve been given. SCC played a major role in me becoming the person I am today, so I want to thank them for that and for all they have done.”

Watson upon her stateside return she will study nursing at New Orleans’ Loyola University.

Editor’s note: The above is the tenth of a 10-week series, “Senior to Senior,” where a River Parishes high school 12th grader profiles one of his or her peers.

— By Amy Kugler