Brevin Persike knew he always wanted to get out and see the world so when the opportunity to become an exchange student came up he jumped at the chance.
“I have liked traveling and the idea of seeing different places all my life,” Persike said. “When I got the chance to apply to the Rotary program, I took it.”
Persike will travel to Brazil in August as a Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) student; it was his first choice when picking a country.
“It has a lot of different geographic parts with the Amazon, the beaches and the rainforest,” he said. “It’s also the biggest country in South America so there is a lot to see.”
Another reason Persike chose to go to Brazil was because of the language. Unlike most of South America that speaks Spanish, the language in Brazil is Portuguese.
“They speak Portuguese which was something I found interesting,” he said. “It is outside the basic Spanish. So it was an opportunity to learn something new.”
Persike has started to learn the language online where he said there are several sources. A Rhinelander High School student who just returned from a year in Brazil has also reached out to him to help him learn Portuguese.
“Liz Krug went to Brazil last year as a RYE student, and she has offered to help me,” he said. “She has told me a lot about the country, it sounds beautiful.”
While a country with beautiful natural amenities, it is also a country in the national spotlight as it will host the World Cup this summer and then the Olympics in 2016.
“Unfortunately I will miss both of those,” Persike said. “But I am sure I’ll have opportunities to travel. Brazil has a large population with many cities so there will be a lot going on.”
The details of which city and exact departure dates have not been set as of yet, but Persike said he does know that he will get to stay with different families when he is there.
“I will have three host families during my 11 months there,” he said. “They will all be within the same school district so I will be staying in the same city.”
In the meantime, Persike has a lot of preparation work to get in.
“First is learning the language,” he said. “I am reading a book on being an exchange student and there are other assignments to complete. I want to get to know the people in my city, and learn how to live with people in a different culture.”
As part of the preparations, Persike is relying on help from his brother who five years ago went on exchange to Chile.
“Matt going did influence me into wanting join the program,” Persike said. “He had a great year and has given me advice on what to expect.”
Even though there is a lot more work to be done before he leaves, Persike said he can’t wait for the experience.
“I am really excited,” he said. “I think it is a really cool opportunity.”