Spokane North Notes
A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club
December 8, 2014
Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Program Coordinator: Jim Minkler
               Party time: The club’s holiday luncheon is Monday, Dec. 15 in the Monroe Ballroom at The Lincoln Center.  Members who have not yet registered should let coordinator Lenore Romney know as soon as possible.  Spouses and special friends are welcome to attend.  About 15 Holmes Elementary students will sing carols and they, with their chaperones, will join club members for lunch.
               Spreading the joy:  Some 10 large bags of gifts for needy Holmes children and families were stored in coordinator Nancy Humphries’ pickup truck Dec. 8.  Thanks to all who took the gift tags and thanks to super shopper Lenore Romney.  Remaining presents need to be brought to Nancy by the Dec. 15 luncheon.
Global study exchanges not just at 4-year schools
              Community college students also have study-abroad programs, club members learned at the Dec. 8 luncheon.
              Allison Blizzard, associate dean of global studies at the Community Colleges of Spokane, shared details of one example, the U.S.-Brazil Connect partnership program.
Blizzard, who got a her doctorate in American studies in Germany, talked about the five students who spent four weeks in Espirito Santo, on the Atlantic coast halfway between Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro.  She noted that scuba diving was even part of the experience for the Spokane students.
              U.S.-Brazil Connect, based in Denver, was founded in 2011 to coordinate exchanges of 200 American students with as many as 2,000 high school students in 32 Brazilian cities.
              The American students are trained as “fellows” to coach the Brazilian students in American language and culture.  Students from the two countries meet via online video ahead of the visit.  On this trip, a sociology instructor from SFCC accompanied the students, who earned credit as well as a $600 stipend.
             “Community college students don’t know they can study abroad,” Blizzard told the club.  With the exchange subsidized in part by Brazilian industry, participating students needed only a plane ticket, passport and visa, and health insurance, she said.  Much of the food was provided, so the overseas experience only cost each student about $2,000.
The Community Colleges of Spokane are one of six school partners in the program.  Conexao Mundo coordinates the program in Brazil.
             A video of the Spokane students’ comments after they returned showed how much the experience impacted them.  Many said this was their first trip abroad.
“There were deep connections, despite the fact that the students were just there for a month,” Blizzard said. 
             She said at one farewell commencement, Brazilian students “rushed the stage, formed a conga line and danced.”  One Spokane student said “Marcello,” a particularly “tough guy,” was even in tears at the farewell function.
             Blizzard said it’s hoped that some of the Brazilian students can visit Spokane in a reciprocal exchange.
             She said other exchange programs may open for community college students interested in Spain and London, England.