RITE program Gives Rotarian Opportunity to Exchange Cultures
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2021

I have been a member of the Rotary Club of West Sedgwick County Sunrise for 20 years. One of the many projects I have been involved with is the RITE (Rotary International Teacher Exchange) program.

Jane and I have hosted teachers in our home from Panama and Argentina on 12 different occasions.

One of my experiences was back in January 2013. We hosted two teachers, Noris Lara from David, Panama and Vanesa Tubaro from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their goals were to learn how our schools teach English as a second language and to experience our culture. Our goal was to share our culture through experiences we planned and make them part of our family during their stay. We made sure they got to their daily classes at various schools throughout Wichita. And we planned several dinners, attended WSU basketball games, took them on day trips to the less traveled areas of Kansas such as the home of Big Brutus. Our good old Kansas weather cooperated and dropped a considerable amount of snow. Neither Noris or Vanesa had ever experienced snow in their short 27 to 36 years. It was treat to share this significant event with them. In addition, they prepared some traditional meals for us and explained various customs of their countries.

If you are not a Rotary member today, I encourage you to join us. See how Rotary can broaden your personal and business experiences.

John Paladino
Rotary Club of West Sedgwick County Sunrise

RITE Program Highlights

  • Started in 1996 by Ralph and Armida Hight, Rotarians of West Wichita Rotary and the Rotary Club of West Sedgwick County Sunrise who partnered with Rotarians Luis and Nixa Rios, David, Panama.
  • Wichita has hosted 84 teachers from Panama and Argentina since 1996. Panama has hosted 71 teachers from the Wichita area.
  • Wichita/Sedgwick county teachers go to Panama for 4 weeks in the summer to provide language acquisition training in various settings and experience the culture and family life while living with host families in Panama.
  • Panamanian and Argentinian teachers stay with Rotarians in Wichita, KS for 4 weeks in January/February and receive 160 hours of training in language acquisition skills, exchange cultures and experience family life in the US.
  • The Panamanian government requires all teachers in Panama teach in English. Some teachers in Panama have little experience speaking in English.