Waiting at the airport arrivals to meet our new exchange student Tijn seemed to take forever.  We even thought he may have slipped past us.  Suddenly there was a bright glow radiating  from the immigration arrival doors as he and his fellow Dutch exchange student Anna emerged wearing florescent orange jackets.
He arrived with a smile but also the usual trepidation, new country, new people, new homes, new foods,  however his English was perfect which made it much easier to get know him. 
I remember him saying his big concern was being able to make friends which he has certainly shown  this to be an unfounded fear.   The Rotary International Students have all formed an incredibly close bond supporting one another through what has become a very unusual time.   However the exchange isn’t about just the Rotary Students forming friendships but also about integrating  into the New Zealand Schools and New Zealand way of life. 
Tijn has made many friendships at Rosehill College but unfortunately just as he was back into the full swing of school after an incredible summer holidays visiting the Coromandel, Waiheke and navigating various excursions around Auckland  everything came to a screaming halt.  As lockdown was being announced Tijn was given a days notice and shuttled from the Kennedy-Jarmans to his new host family the Fothergills.   As nervous as he felt about the transition he again settled in well and had a great time with them.
Tijn embraced the Papakura Club as part of his extended NZ family and has always been a keen participant on Thursday nights making an effort to get to know all the members.  He spoke at each meeting for a couple of minutes about his week and we have watched his confidence grow.  I received many compliments about how much they have enjoyed him being there and his enthusiasm for involvement in the club fund raising and other Rotary projects.
Over the course of the year the glow of the orange jacket has dimmed considerably as more and more souvenirs from his great adventures have been attached (and perhaps also dimmed  due to the jacket being overdue for a wash).
Tijn you have been a fine example of a Rotary Student and seeing your personal growth over the year has been wonderful.  I wish you all the best for the future and I’m sure you will continue to be a great ambassador for Rotary putting Service above Self.