So I'm supposed to be studying for this huge midterm right now, but thought that I just would take a few moments to reflect since I haven't for a while (Love how I disguise my procrastination ha)I went to a Rotary overnighter last night. The first one I'd been to since I went through my own training program a year and a half ago. It was a different sort of experience. I really enjoyed hanging out but it was a little awkward at first. I did know some people who are outbounds from interviews and Facebook and a fellow rebound who went out when I did was there, but he's still in high school and in some ways seemed so young. Almost everyone did, actually. The inbounds, the outbounds, a couple of the rebounds. Did my exchange really make me that mature or is it just a matter of me being a different place in my life now? I'm not sure. I hung out a lot with two fellow rebounds. One who did his exchange the year before I did, and the other who went out with me but is a lot more mature about stuff. I don't know. It was just interesting.
I sat in on the Outbound training sessions and I was like (and I don't mean this in a bad way) "They are so young in their world views." It was like weird, because they haven't had those experiences yet and so their view on things is just different. They're all excited and full of hope about their upcoming exchanges. I just watched them and was sitting there thinking "Oh my goodness was it only a year and a half ago that I was the same way?" And I think back on it and I'm like yeah I was. Because honestly they can prepare you for exchange all they want, but are a bunch of teenagers actually going to listen? Not really. And they can listen to the inbounds and learn from them, that helps because those are their peers, but honestly, I remember in my first two months of Exchange I grew a whole new appreciation for what the inbounds were going through. It was something at the time of my training I couldn't understand.
It's not just the inbounds and the Rotarians who are important to training. This is something I came to realize last night. Rebounds are just as if not more important. As a Rebound, I am living proof that you can come out of exchange whole and carrying with you a new world view. I am proof that despite the experiences good or bad that happen on exchange, they have become part of me. As a Rebound I am a mentor-friend with stories and experiences to impart. The inbounds listen to us because we are peers, but we are so much more.
Not that I'm saying the Rotarians aren't important. They are the ones who do the training and the paperwork, and essentially make everything happen. The inbounds teach so much to the Outbounds about their countries; help prepare them. The Inbounds also show what happens when you are going through exchange. They are the first hand account. It's just that we rebounds have a special place in the hierarchy of exchange.