Gabe Peterson – Outbound to Austria 2017-18

The Rotary Youth Exchange Program is not only for young and curious leaders to become an ambassador of the program in a foreign land, but also to discover themselves in a different light. In my case, I traveled to Austria in 2017-2018 from Petaluma, California. I enjoyed the luxury of not only learning a new language, but jumping in the local lake (Wörthersee) in the summer and visiting the glorious mountains in the winter (Grossglockner) and meeting new people all the while. My favorite thing of Austria was the combination of cultures based on its proximity to other countries. Hearing not only German, but Italian and Slovenian in the streets really added to the multitude of foreign countries. Once I returned, I understood the significance of family, my community in Petaluma and my importance as a young and curious leader in our society. 

Because of RYE I learned that bringing us together is important no matter where you live and that is why I’m motivated to “revive” Rotaract in the south district and brainstorm on how to improve the lives of those in our community through volunteer work, community projects and fundraising events.