Rotary Brazilian Exchange Student Enjoys Year in Muncie

Rotary exchange student Maria (Duda) Trento Martendal and Muncie Rotarian Daniel Stallings. Photo by Matt HowellRotary exchange student Maria (Duda) Trento Martendal and Muncie Rotarian Daniel Stallings. Photo by Matt Howell

By R. Brian Wolfe, Muncie Sunrise Rotary—

MUNCIE, IN—For the last several decades, two local Rotary clubs – the Muncie Rotary Club and Muncie Sunrise Rotary – have partnered in facilitating high school students coming to Muncie from outside the US and Muncie area students studying abroad.  Over the last five years, high school students from Belgium, India, Taiwan, and now Brazil have lived with Muncie families while attending Burris High School.

Since August 2023, Brazilian high school student Maria (Duda) Trento Martendal has been learning about our American way of life by living in the homes of several Muncie families for four months at a time and completing her senior year at Burris.  Local families who have hosted Duda this year include the John and Susan Taylor family, Ryan and Rigel Jackson family, and Frank and Anna Baldwin.  Duda was introduced to Rotary Youth Exchange through her Rotarian mom and her older brother who completed a Rotary exchange in Stevens Point, Wisconsin during the 2019-2020 school year.  Muncie area students who have studied abroad recently include Grace Dale daughter of Andrew and Jennifer Dale in Peru in 2019- 20 and Katie Wolfe daughter of Kelly and Brian Wolfe in Chile in 2017-18.

While on exchange, students attend school full-time as well as participate in host family’s daily activities, after-school events, and other local events interesting to them and as supported by their host families.  Rather than an academic exchange, the Rotary program focuses on learning and appreciating a different culture, language, and daily life to broaden understanding.

In Muncie, Duda has made new friends with her Burris classmates, improved her English-speaking skills, experienced our American way of life and culture, attended sporting events, enjoyed prom, and traveled both with her host parents and families as well as with Rotary-planned events and travels.  Duda has visited Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the West Coast.  Later this month, Duda will witness the greatest spectacle in racing at the Indianapolis 500.

The Rotary Youth Exchange is an international program enabling American youth and students from around the world to live in another country for a 9-month school year studying and living a different language and culture.  To qualify, American students considering doing a youth exchange are encouraged to study a foreign language and to carefully choose their middle school course of study to prepare them for a year abroad during their high school years.  Local host families do not need to be Rotary members.  Rotary supports local host families by assisting with transportation, providing limited monetary support to students, and ensure compliance with US State Department regulations governing exchange students including passports and visas.

Rotary is actively recruiting applicants to the Rotary Youth Exchange for the 2025-26 school year. If you are a high school student interested in studying abroad during high school or as a gap year, please fill out this interest form  The initial deadline is September 30.

Area families interested in learning more about the Rotary Youth Exchange program can also contact Daniel Stallings, Cell: 317-752-0894, email: and and