Rotary accepting applications for Swedish exchange program

Written by Theresa Rose on April 24, 2019

Applications to participate in the 2019 Rotary Swedish Exchange Program are now being accepted. “For those of you who have never heard of it, the program started in 2009 — we are celebrating 10 years this summer,” said Beth Alonso, the program coordinator from the Rotary Club of Fairfield. “It is a cultural exchange between the Kinda region in Sweden and Fairfield, Iowa. Our areas have a shared history that goes back to the mid-1800s when large numbers of Swedish immigrants came from that part of Sweden to this part of Iowa.”

In 2009, a group of Swedish visitors came to Fairfield and met with our Rotary Club. Together they developed the Rotary Swedish-American Exchange Program, which would sponsor young, creative adults to visit each other’s countries to develop friendships and learn more about each other. Each year we take turns sending two students to Sweden or America for about 10 days.”

Alonso said the program has grown to include the Rotary Club of Mt. Pleasant-Noon as a sponsor, adding that New Sweden in Jefferson County and Swedesburg in Henry County both trace their founding to some of the immigrants from the Kinda region.

“Last year, we hosted two Swedes in Fairfield so now it is our turn to send two people from our area to Sweden,” said Alonso. “The scholarships are for young adults 18 to 30 years of age who live in Fairfield, Swedesburg or Mt. Pleasant and who would be a good representative of our community. Having Swedish roots and/or a musical/artistic talent to share is a plus, but all are welcome to apply.”

Scholarship recipients receive $1,000 toward their travel expenses and are hosted in private homes in Sweden.

The trip will be made July 17-27.

Anyone who would like to apply can contact Alonso for an application at alonso_beth@yahoo.com; be sure to put “Application for Swedish Exchange Program” in the subject line. Alonso also can provide more information about the program.  Contact for the Mount Pleasant Noon Rotary is Jim Pedrick at jim.pedrick@iw.edu.

“The deadline is April 30, but if anyone is interested in applying, they should let us know as soon as possible,” said Alonso.