Rotary Club of Arden Hills/Shoreview

Posted by Peggy Strom on Nov 06, 2018
We were pleased to welcome our recent outbound exchange student, Mason Matlock and his father to today's meeting.  Mason took part in Rotary's new short-term exchange program this past summer.  His family hosted a student from Spain for the month of July and then Mason traveled to Spain to stay with that young man's family for the month of August.  Both sides of this visit were deemed a big success.  Mason's host family live in a small village of only 400 people near Valencia, Spain.  Mason spent lots of time with his host brother Sergio and Sergio's friends - playing soccer, ping pong and swimming in the family's backyard pool.  The language barrier was challenging since Mason spoke little Spanish upon arrival and his host family spoke only some English.  Much progress was made on both fronts, however, and Mason reported that by the end of the two months, he and Sergio could converse quite well, especially in English.  When asked what he found most surprising about his time in Spain, Mason reported that food and the timing of meals was most challenging for him.  Instead of meals at 8, 12 and 6 in America, his host family ate at 11, 3 and 9.  The family cooked most meals at home and rarely ate out.  Frequently, extended family joined them for meals, which Mason enjoyed.  They did visit several cities in the surrounding area, as did Mason's family when Sergio stayed with them.  Mason and his dad expressed a lot of appreciation for our Club's support of this program, saying it was an invaluable experience for all of them.  Our club has decided to budget to support two students for this program next summer, with much appreciation to Stephanie Bruggers for her help in publicizing and supporting the program at Mounds View High School.