My Year in Canada

Posted by Selina Savijoki on Jun 12, 2017
 
Past president Sam Brady introduced our guest speaker, Rotary Exchange Student Selina Savijoki.  Sam sang a musical tribute to Selina's year to the tune of "These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things" that brought her to happy tears.  Selina thanked her host families Tracy Bray, Barry and Linda Hillier,  Cory and Bill MacKay and finally, Sam and Anne-Marie Brady.  Selina said the last 10 months have been exciting and it was a leap into the unknown and she learned more about herself and has grown to be herself.  Her year started with a trip to New York where she met up with all the Finnish exchange students who were to be placed.  Her first night in Canada she had a dinner with Heather Menzies who starred in the Sound of Music.  She spent Thanksgiving at Bon Echo Provincial Park.  She went to the Rotary District Conference at the end of October.  She went to the Hilliers in November and they took her to Quebec City and Montreal for 5 days for Christmas, a wonderful experience with them and their friends.  New Year's was spent in London, Ontario where she had her first pot luck dinner and loved it. Selina also met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and thought that was really cool, something about his colourful socks were mentioned.  She went to a winter Rotary Youth Student exchange weekend where she tried snowshoeing and skiing at Ganaraska. 
 
Selina has spent most of her life very involved in the arts and being busy.  She took advantage of the art culture in Belleville with the Centennial musical program, singing at the Pinnacle Music Studio and dancing lessons at Irelands.  She also took in some musical theatre shows like The Sound of Music and The Book of Mormon as well as the Nutcracker.  She also went to New York with the Arts Program.  She went to Soho, China town, Central Park and attended a Mets game.  And most recently, went to the last Rotary Exchange weekend and met the outgoing students at Cobourg.  And last, but not least she went with Randy and Joanne Coker to Montreal with a Rotary Exchange Student from France.  All in all, Selina was fortunate to see so much of what Canada has to offer.  She reminisced about Canada and what impressed her.  She noticed that people are friendly in a different way, air conditioning everywhere, long car rides, expensive phone calls, and milk in bags, something she had never seen before.  Selina, with tears in her eyes said moving to Canada was the best decision she ever made and happy she moved out of her comfort zone to embrace everyone and everything. 
 
Paige Summers thanked Selina for sharing all her photographs and her thoughts about Canada.  The Rotary Club of Belleville was so fortunate to have been assigned to host Selina as our Youth Exchange Student, an excellent Ambassador for her club in Helsinki and for our club in the local community.  Selina is a lovely young lady, smart, talented, confident and a real go getter.  It is obvious from her presentation that she has taken full advantage of what Rotary, her school Centennial and the wider community has to offer.  She was wise to seek out opportunities in our community to do the things she enjoys.  She loves singing and dancing and we were fortunate to have her share her talents at some of our Rotary functions.  Selina deserves a lot of credit for really making an effort to meet and get to know Rotary members.  She joined a different table and sat beside different people each week.  That isn't something just any 17 year old would do in a room full of adults!  We wish her all the best in her future endeavours, especially at musical theatre school in London, England next year.  We hope she will continue in Rotary in the future because she will make an outstanding Rotarian, making a difference wherever she is in the world.  All the best Selina!