International students a long way from home had a chance to spend some quality time with families in the Vernon area earlier this fall as part of the first-ever UBC Okanagan Rotary homestay program. The UBC Okanagan program is modeled on a similar collaboration now in its 51st year between UBC's Vancouver campus and Penticton Rotary Clubs.
Rotarians Joanne and Dave Weatherill hosted Bachelor of Arts students Jane Lee from South Korea and Saddy Njie from the Gambia for a weekend. The Vernon visit was packed with activities, including an evening hockey game, a family breakfast the following morning, a sailing excursion, a trip to a North Okanagan farm, and a barbecue.
“We all had dinner together and later stayed at the dinner table and had some heart-to-heart conversation with our host parents,” said Njie. “They encouraged us to call them any time if we need someone to talk to or just to say hi.”
On the final day of the homestay, the students attended a Vernon Rotary Clubs family picnic, trying their hand at golf and soccer with the assembled families.
“Jane and I didn't want to leave because we had so much fun staying with an actually family and remembering once again how it feels like to be amongst family members,” said Njie. “Joanna and Dave drove us home and we said our sad goodbyes. All in all, it was an amazing opportunity and we would do it all over again if we could.”
The Okanagan program is supported by UBC Okanagan's International Office and Vernon Rotary Clubs.
"We appreciate the support of Vernon Rotary in establishing a great UBC Okanagan International tradition," said Dana Reiter, International Advisor, UBC Okanagan International Programs and Services. For more information contact her by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 250.807.9276.