A Buckhannon woman chosen for a Group Study Exchange trip to Brazil told the Buckhannon Rotary Club Tuesday about her experience of touring the country and staying with various host families last spring.
Between April 29 and May 31, Kelly Hall traveled Brazil as a GSE team member, changing towns and families about 13 times. She stayed with each host family about two or three days before moving on. After the GSE trip, she remained in Brazil for almost three more weeks touring other locations.
Hall gained the opportunity to conduct professional visits at various locations, such as schools, graphite factories, coffee plantations and churches. She said the visits could be as simple as walking around town or visiting a waterfall, ridge or a park. Hall said her favorite places to visit were the elementary schools.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Kelly Hall appears at the Buckhannon Rotary Club Tuesday to talk about her experience in Brazil.
"I love going to schools, especially elementary schools," Hall said. "I really enjoy talking to the kids and going around and seeing how schools differ."
Some other planned events included public interviews. While in Brazil, Hall was interviewed by television and radio reporters. The TV reporter interviewing her spoke English and later added subtitles to the footage. The radio interview was conducted with the assistance of a translator.
Hall picked up some of the Portuguese language while in Brazil. She said her knowledge of the language was limited before her travels.
"Sometimes with the language barrier, you didn't quite know what the day had in store," Hall said. "The longer I stayed, the better it got."
One host family chose Hall because she had studied French. Hall said the family was planning a trip to France and asked her to speak French while she was there.
"I just had the best time," Hall said, also thanking Rotary for giving her a wonderful opportunity.
GSE chair Jody Light said she chose Hall for the trip.
"I was going through my neighborhood," Light said. "I saw this girl, and I thought she is the perfect person to put on a GSE team. She's real fluent with speaking other languages. She's traveled the world. She's been to Antarctica, and she's a really young girl. I hold a lot of admiration for this girl."
Light said Hall is a staff member at West Virginia Wesleyan College, teaching English. She is also a cancer survivor.
"She does a lot of different things," Light said. "She's a wonderful person, and I know that she represented our town and Rotary beautifully when she was in Brazil."
Tuesday's Rotary meeting also included the recognition of a new club member. Buckhannon Rotarians welcomed Daya Wright of Buckhannon to the organization. Wright moved to Buckhannon from North Carolina in 1998. She is a private practice lawyer specializing in domestic relations. Wright is sponsored by Rotarian Bill Thurman.
"I'm a proud momma, proud lawyer and a proud Rotarian," Wright said.