Joaquin Ellena Murature arrived at the Greater Rochester International Airport in August 2018 as a 16-year-old Rotary exchange student eager to start a cultural experience in a community different from his life on a farm in Argentina. Over the past year, he learned about American culture and how people in the Finger Lakes go about their daily lives.
Murature completed a year of studies at Victor Senior High School, and used the final weeks of his exchange student experience to increase his exposure to American culture, participate in local activities and travel to other areas of the U.S.
In recent weeks, Murature participated in the Victor graduation ceremony at Blue Cross Arena, went to Rochester Red Wings games at Frontier Field, ate at local restaurants, interacted with past and present exchange students at social events, spent time with his host families, and departed for a trip to scenic and iconic locations in the western U.S.
In early July, Murature joined 11 exchange students and Rotary counselors for a two-week trip to Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and national parks, including Yellowstone, Sequoia and Grand Teton.
Murature completed exams administered by his school in Argentina. When he returns home, he expects to graduate from his local high school in December.
Murature spent an afternoon at Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, a new experience for him. Although he could not wager, he said he liked trying to pick the winner of each race.
Murature participated in Victor sports, particularly soccer and track. Victor-Farmington Rotarians took him to Rochester Americans and Rochester Red Wings games throughout the year.
Murature will return home on July 27. He then will meet his new brother Jeremy, who was born while Murature was on his exchange student year.