Amanda is the Rotary Club’s inbound exchange student for 2015 and was introduced today by Larry Dufty, whose family is currently hosting Amanda.  She provided the club with a mid-year presentation on her country, and her experiences so far in Canada.
Amanda lives in Santiago Chile, a city of about three million people.  She noted that this is a big contrast to living in Belleville, and even more so right now because she is currently living with a family on a farm outside of town!
Amanda loves coffee, and says that in Chile coffee is very popular and very good.  Her native language is Spanish and she was dressed in a traditional costume of her country. While she has studied English or Ingles at home, it is very basic.  She has to take thirteen (13) courses and feels the curriculum and workload is harder at home than here in Canada.  In describing Chile's geography, Amanda said the country is roughly 4200 kms long, and only 240 kms at its widest.  That is a length to width ratio of roughly 18 to 1.  The Northern tier of her country is warm and dry, commonly referred to as a desert climate.  The mid-section has a Mediterranean climate and the South is cooler and more moist with an oceanic climate.  Their lowest winter temperature is minus 6 or 7 so Canadian winter is a bit of a shock.
Amanda noted that in her culture, strangers greet each other with a hug and a kiss; much different than Canadian culture.  However, according to Amanda Chilean society tries to mimic European and North American cultures in many other areas.  Two pluses that Amanda mentioned about her country -- women are always right and their wine is very good and the best value you can buy.
In the application process for her exchange, Amanda had the option of choosing among several countries, with her priority being to learn English.  She said that Australia was too far, as was the U.K., and the US was not desirable.  She saw Canada as a clean, friendly, beautiful and interesting country.  She said “I seized a great opportunity”, and am so happy to have chosen Canada.
Amanda’s father, a Rotarian in their community runs and owns a hardware store, and her mother is a principal, teaching at two universities.  They are the most important people in her life along with her huge extended family of over 60, and many friends from school. 
The most important thing to know about Chile, is that Soccer trumps all things.  Amanda was thanked by Randy Coker, another one of her host families who said it was a privilege to have Amanda be part of their family when she arrived and to be part of the Rotary Exchange program.