Vail Rotary International Youth Exchange students heading abroad

Coco Boock, left, and Carol Mendez will spend the academic year studying in other countries as part of the Rotary International Youth Exchange program.
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Back-to-school preparation this year means more than shopping for school supplies for Carol Mendez and Coco Boock. Both students recently completed ninth grade at Battle Mountain High School and were selected by the Vail Rotary Club to participate in the Rotary International Youth Exchange program.  

Mendez left for Bangkok, Thailand, on Aug. 17, and Boock left for Mexico City on Aug 20. Both young women are excited to be ambassadors from the Vail Valley.

“I decided to apply to Rotary Youth Exchange when a student who had gone to Brazil was at school looking for people who might be interested,” Mendez said. “I want to go on this program because it is a new experience that seems like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I really want to learn a new language.”

Boock learned about Rotary Youth Exchange from a poster that her mom saw at her school. She said, “I want to go on Rotary exchange because I know that it will be a great, life-changing experience and that it will help me better understand the world and other people.

Rotary Youth Exchange lasts a full academic year, and students attend local schools and live with multiple host families. Their activities are supported by the local Rotary club where they live. They learn a new language, discover another culture, and truly become global citizens. The friendships they make during this year abroad last a lifetime.

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Sally Corcoran, Vail Rotary Club’s Youth Exchange Officer, was a Rotary exchange student to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, from Pleasantville, New York, in 1975. The experience helped her to choose her lifelong hotel career and created her passion for travel, exploration, and interest in people from all cultures. 

“Rotary Youth Exchange is one of the best educations available to a high school student in resiliency, peace, and global awareness,” Corcoran said.

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