Klark Swan – Outbound to Germany 2003-04

“My year aboard changed my life forever.” A statement you hear often
from ‘rebounds’ of the Rotary Youth Exchange program. The best part
is that it changes us all differently. I have always joked that Rotary
sends you to the country you need, not the one you want.

From 2003-2004 I lived in a small town in the northwest of Germany. I was
an “ideal” candidate for the program. Confident, independent, made
friends easily and was always on point for quick witted remarks.
Unfortunately my German classmates were not found of the wit I
relied so heavily on in the US. This was the year I learned to listen to
hear and not just to reply. A challenge I almost gave up on several

I truly feel that having to pivot my communication style so abruptly at
16 years old, made me who I am today. I am endlessly grateful to
Rotary for giving me the country I needed. I wanted to give back to
the program that gave me so much, so I became the founding
President of ROTEX 5130. Then the founding President of the Lost
Coast Rotaract.

The more I put into Rotary the more I got out of it. The
more involved I got, the more the world wide family of Rotary opened
up to me. Playing a big role in Rotary is not always easy, but it is worth
every moment. I am currently the President elect for the Rotary Club
of Eureka and am excited to see what lessons I’ll learn, friends I will
make and places I will travel.