Posted by Michael Oleksyn - Melfort Journal on Nov 06, 2019

The world has come to MUCC as this year there are two Rotary Exchange students at the school. For the 2019-2020 school year 16 year old Henrique Mori Magalhaes from Brazil and 17 year-old Fanny Billekens from Belgium are the exchange students sponsored by the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program.

Both students have been in Canada two months and are finding differences between their homelands and Canada.

“I come from a big city so it’s a difference but it’s a good experience because I live in a city and here it is a lot of good differences,” Magalhaes said.

“It’s really different because of the size of Canada. And everything is very different just like in the movies for me,” Billekens added.

Both see differences between the education systems as well. One commonality is that they find it a little easier.

“For me it is really different too. It is kind of easier. It is different because in Brazil we stay in the class and the teacher comes for you. And we can’t choose the classes in Brazil,” Magalhaes said.

“I don’t have drafting. So it’s new classes,” he added.

“The school is very different and for me it is like easier than in Belgium,” she said.

Billikens explained that she was torn because she liked her system but the class choices in Canada stood out.

“I like it but I think I prefer my system because I have a feeling that I learn more because we work lots and we have more classes. It is just that we learn different. For example I don’t have communication class in Belgium, drama or things like that,” Billekens added.

They both explained that their countries may have fields but Magalhaes has never experienced it because he is from the city.

“We have a lot of plains. It is a little the same but here it is just bigger,” she said.

Both Magalhaes and Billekens chose the experience for similar reasons.

“I chose to go to a Rotary Exchange program because I wanted to learn different things and meet different people and see other ways to live the life,” Magalhaes

“For me I like to travel and know we are young so we can travel and that’s important to travel. And I chose the Rotary because I know it is a really good program,” Billikens said.

Billekens did a presentation about her country at a special Rotary Club of Melfort meeting on Tuesday, October 22. Magalhaes is expected to do one at a meeting November.

The reason there are two exchange students this year is that the Rotary Club of Melfort sent out two of their own, Graydon Eskowich is in Slovakia and Ethan Perkins is in France.

“If you have a chance to go on an exchange with Rotary, go and take this opportunity because you will learn about life skills and you will learn about yourself, you will learn not just the language and the basics you will learn a lot of things,” Magalhaes said.

“When we will go back in our country we will not be the same as when we went,” she added.

Billikens is staying with the Eskowich family and Magalhaes is staying with Bobbi-lyn and Blair Weiman from St. Brieux.  She works at Edward Jones in Melfort.