Jane Blossom `21 Credits Wayland for Inspiration and Preparation to Study Abroad

by Lily Fedler `19

When I asked her about the Rotary International Youth Exchange, her eyes lit up with excitement—the signature mark of an inspired, motivated individual. Jane Blossom `21 plans to study in Colombia for an entire year after having applied to the exchange program. To achieve this goal, however, took great effort during the application process.

Qualifications included fluency in a second language, traveling experience, and an extensive interview in her Rotary Club district. Moreover, she needed to maintain a GPA above a 3.80 on a 4.00 scale! This may appear rather daunting, but Jane’s tenacity and hard work eventually earned her this once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Rotary International Youth Exchange program provides numerous opportunities to learn about another country beyond just the classroom. Jane explained the program’s primary goal, “The basis of the program is cultural-immersion; learning about a culture while actually being present in it.” She clarified that this combination of cultural awareness and academics is an experience she believes will further build her character. Wanting to get the roots of her inspiration, I asked her about what made her make time in her busy schedule to pursue this avenue of exploration. Her body language echoed her reply, “I chose to do the study abroad program because I wanted to challenge myself. I want something bigger that will really expand horizons and help me grow more as an individual.”

Jane also explained how Wayland Academy has inspired and continued to nurture her interest in studying abroad. Wayland was her first, in a sense, study abroad experience because of its internationally diverse student body, while also meeting her expectation for high academic standards. She emphasized the importance of being open-minded to cultures, such as one learns in a community as diverse as Wayland’s, and how this experience has prepared her for her international journey.

For students (or others) who may be a bit hesitant in venturing out of their comfort zone, Jane reassures them that “if anyone wants to study abroad, you should totally do it! Even though it might be scary, no matter who you are or what your background is, you will experience personal growth.” It is this mindset on life, to take risks and embrace adventures to learn about the world, that has already, and will continue to help Jane flourish as an individual. The Rotary International Youth Exchange will help her become more accustomed to and respectful of the diverse world about her as she learns more about her place in it.
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