Posted by Bruce Wood on Jan 25, 2023

Rotary Youth Exchange student Barbara Sanna is greeted by Juan Aybar, Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area president-elect, after she spoke to members of the club last week about her native country, Italy, and her experiences here in Houston, Texas. Rotary Youth Exchange sends and receives students aged 15-19 to over 100 countries and receives foreign students to live here for up to a full academic year. They attend local schools and stay with multiple host families during their year. Shorter term exchanges last up to three months. Students learn a new language, discover another culture, develop lifelong leadership skills, and build lasting friendships with other young people from around the world. 
“Italy is not only the most famous peninsula in the world, it’s the Peninsula par Excellence or ‘Bel Paese’ of tourists” explained Rotary Exchange Student Barbara Sanna to an audience of Lake Houston Rotarians on Wednesday, January 25th. “It is a land in which peoples from all over Europe and the whole Mediterranean have had the opportunity to confront each other, shaping and developing Western Civilization”, she added.
Ms. Sanna is a visiting Rotary Youth Exchange student from Genova, Italy sponsored, in part, by the Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area and the Rotary Club of Genova Nord in Italy.
She shared her story of being a student in her native Italy and as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in America during the Lake Houston Rotary Club’s weekly luncheon at the Lake Houston Family YMCA in Kingwood.

Barbara Sana, Rotary Youth Exchange student at Atascocita High, shares her story and photos of her native Italy during her presentation to Lake Houston Rotarians. Photo by Kat Sison.
Ms. Sanna is living in Atascocita and is in the 11th grade at Atascocita High School. She “loves” high school and especially all the many fast foods in America. She’s had the most fun going on Rotary trips. She loves pop music and dancing and likes spending time with friends, playing tennis and video games.
She is currently studying Italian, English, French, Spanish, Math, Law, Business Economics and other subjects. When she’s at school in Italy she is usually in class six to eight hours per day. Ms. Sanna has also had the option to alternate school and work and has worked with a humanitarian organization transporting sick and injured people.
Her hometown of Genova has a history 2,000 years long. It was one of the main powers in the Mediterranean Sea for centuries. Explorer Cristoforo Colombo was born there.
Between 1100 and 1700 the Republic of Genova was a leading shipping, commercial and banking power in Europe. Its influence covered Southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Black Sea.
Modern Genova is a large industrial and commercial city with a large seaport and about 600,000 residents. Its economy is driven by port and sea activities, but it also has a strong industrial network, mainly in the fields of high-tech and automation.
Ms. Sanna is very proud of her hometown’s long history.
She’s also very proud of her country and shared many beautiful photos of Italy during her presentation. Italy currently has about 60 million residents.  

Genova, Italy
Italian history, she explained, goes back 2,500 years and included the Roman Empire which ruled large parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Italian communities created the first banks, Italians were the first Europeans to explore China (Marco Polo), Africa and America (Colombo, Amerigo Vespucci, Giovanni Caboto), she said.
The photos of Italy she shared were beautiful. A few have been included here. Genova is in the center of the Italian Riviera, it has a beautiful coastline, and it’s close to the mountains. Skiing in just an hour drive away.

Ms. Sanna will be returning home to Italy in June after the school term ends.
If you’d like to know more about the Rotary Youth Exchange program sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area, you’ll find it here: .

Italian Rotary Exchange student Barbara Sanna (front left) with friends.
For more information about the Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area, visit our website at or be our guest at our one of our regular Noon, Wednesday meetings at the Lake Houston Family YMCA, 2420 W. Lake Houston Pkwy. in Kingwood.

Venice, Italy