Rotary exchange student plans to return to Canada soon after a positive experience in Huntsville


Submitted by the Rotary Club of Huntsville

Madeline Gosset is on the run again, and not just because she is on the cross country running team at school. After spending the past year in Huntsville as an exchange student with the Rotary Club of Huntsville, Madeline is heading back home to Belgium this month, but not without some very positive experiences about her time in Canada.

Madeline arrived a year ago from the town of Marche-en-Famenne in southern Belgium. Although the town is about the same size as Huntsville, she has noticed plenty of differences between the two.  “All the homes here are so big, as are the cars. And there is so much land.”

Madeline first heard about Rotary from her teacher back home. “Years ago, my grandfather did volunteer work for refugees which he always fondly spoke about. So when my high school teacher told me about the Rotary Exchange Student Program here, I had to give it a go.”

Madeline has been part of the Rotary program for the past year and has found it to be a personal growth experience. “Being an exchange student away from home allows you to become more independent, and to get to know yourself better. Plus, you see first-hand how Rotary works. You see that The Rotary Club of Huntsville really cares about the local community. They are generous and helpful in so many ways.”

Suzi Jarvis, Chair of Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program, commented that “having students such as Madeline here is a win-win. They get to experience another part of the world and grow on a personal level.  In exchange, we get to plant a seed of ‘service above self’ that the students take back home with them.”

While in Huntsville, Madeline has immersed herself in Canadian lifestyle. “I tried skating, snowshoeing and skiing for the first time; I even managed to do some blue runs at Mont Tremblant. Of course, I enjoyed some Canadian foods as well, including poutine and BeaverTails.”

Her biggest surprise?  “The seasons here are extreme, and winter is so long in Canada.”

Asked for a final comment before she continued with her run, Madeline said, “The whole Rotary Exchange Program has been great, I’d encourage others to try it too.  I will definitely be back again to Canada soon.”

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