French Rotary Youth Exchange student Clérie-Anne Faure, centre, has been enjoying her stay with Salmon Arm host family Dan and Kelli Morin, who are caring for her while international flights remain cancelled due to COVID-19. (Contributed)

“I call her my adopted daughter”: Salmon Arm couple embrace student exchange experience

Rotary Youth Exchange students choose to shelter in place during COVID-19 pandemic

Having to spend more time in Salmon Arm isn’t a bad option at all for Clérie-Anne Faure.

The 17-year-old from the Brittany region of France has been in the community since August 2019 as part of Rotary’s Youth Exchange program. Since December, she’s been living with host family Dan and Kelli Morin.

With the onset of COVID-19 and the subsequent cancellation of international flights, Clérie-Anne and two other “inbound” students staying in Salmon Arm, one from Sweden and another from Brazil, have opted for an extended stay in the community. For Clérie-Anne it wasn’t a difficult decision.

“I’m good here with the family, with where I am. It’s better to stay here,” said Clérie-Anne. “My family is feeling good. My mom sends me a message every day I think on how things are going, what’s going on in France, and just to keep in touch. They don’t worry about me.”

And Dan says he and Kelli are happy to continue hosting Clérie-Anne as long as needed.

“I call her my adopted daughter,” said Dan. “Both my kids are gone now and… it’s been a really good experience, so yeah, we’ll keep her until it’s safe to send her home.”

Patty Garrett, chair of Rotary Youth Exchange program for District 5060, said she’s been communicating with students’ families daily, letting them decide whether students would attempt to return home or shelter in place.

“I can tell you that to date, we’ve only had two students choose to go back to their home countries from our inbound group, and from our outbound group, so far we’ve had six students return and we have three other students whose itineraries should start soon,” said Garrett. “So out of 23 students, our number of families that have elected to return are low at this time.”

With school now closed due to COVID-19, Clérie-Anne said she’s been spending time with the Morins and their dog, doing jigsaw puzzles and watching Netflix – in addition to learning another language – while not letting the restrictions around the virus get her down.

“At the beginning I was anxious, but now I just deal with it and just try to be positive…,” said Clérie-Anne. “It’s something we can’t control, we don’t have anything to do but just stay at home and try to be social distancing and things like this, that’s what we can do.”

Read more: B.C. Rotary exchange students told to ‘shelter in place’ through COVID-19

Read more: Salmon Arm physio, fitness clinics close doors over COVID-19 concerns

As for the Rotary Youth Exchange program, even with the challenges around COVID-19, Clérie-Anne said it’s been an incredible experience.

“With this kind of experience, we get to discover another country, another culture, another language, and we meet people like my host family. I know I will be in touch with them, I hope, for all my life,” said Clérie-Anne.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusSalmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

COVID-19: Vernon Towne Cinema back in action!

Movie lovers rejoice, the historic theatre has reopened with safety protocols in place

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Most Read