The Rotary Club of Ellon played host to two “Short Term Youth Exchange Programme” students at its meeting on Wednesday 1 February, as they were addressed by local school pupils Gregor Bruce and Laura Riddoch, both from Udny.
Gregor, a sixth year pupil at Meldrum Academy, gave an insight into their trip, showing photographs of the many places to which they had been taken, including some magnificent temples and museums. Laura is a sixth year student at Robert Gordons College, Aberdeen and intends to continue her studies in Medicine.
Laura visited Phuket, an island on the south –west coast of Thailand about three hundred miles south of the capital, Bankok, which she found amazing, being taken to an elephant circus and a crocodile farm.
Although their trip coincided with the worst flooding which had been seen in fifty years, they said that their host families had made every effort to allow them sample life in Bankok – a far cry from home for an Udny loon and quine!
Both students said they had been particularly impressed with the generosity of the Thai people and the kindness shown to them by their host families.
In addition to their visit, both students felt that they had gained hugely from the experience of travelling on their own. They now look forward to showing Scotland to the Thai students in a reciprocal trip later in the year.
Both Laura and George emphasised to the Rotarians present how much they had gained from the Rotary programme.
They expressed their gratitude to both the Ellon and Thai Rotary Clubs that were involved in funding the trip. They also said how grateful they were to Ellon Rotarians Eleanor Macalister and Bob Duncan for their hard work in making their trip come to fruition.