By Elyse Lin, a member of the Rotaract Club of Taipei Tin Harbour, Taiwan

Rotaractors from all over the world gather at Interota 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan.

I can never forget the most life-changing dinner I ever attended. It was June 2013, and members of the Rotary Club of Taipei Tin Harbour invited me to a special reunion. The  Rotarians, who sponsored the student service club I belonged to on campus, wanted to start a new Rotaract club with all the college students they helped. My experience since I joined that new club almost five years ago has far exceeded my expectations. 

The two things I love about Rotaract are the mentorship and the friendship. Every journey I have ever taken in Rotaract started with challenges, and members of my host club have always been there to help me. One time, I remember having difficulty with a document. When I reached out to Tina Kao, a past president of our host club, she said “Don’t worry. I have finished it for you. Just wanted to make your life easier.”

Rotarians guide us by example, showing us how to lead, deal with conflict, and serve our community. What I learned from them I apply to my daily life every time I face a new challenge.

Rotaract’s global network amazes me. When I attended my first international convention in Sydney in 2014, I was blown away by meeting friends in Rotaract from all over the world. We all spoke the same language of service and fellowship. Ever since, I can’t help joining international events for the chance to meet new friends, exchange ideas, and discuss possibilities of doing good together.

Elyse Lin speaks during the 2017 Interota.

Last September, I served as chair of the host organizing committee for the Interota in Taipei, Taiwan, hosting 750 Rotary and Rotaract guests from 35 countries. It was special to finally have a chance to host Rotaract friends worldwide in our hometown. We celebrated 50 years of Rotaract, learned from inspiring leaders, shared things from our different cultures and experiences, and did a service project together. I was so rewarded to receive feedback from Rotaractors about what a wonderful time they had. The most precious thing to me was that Interota truly provided a platform for global friendships that will last a lifetime and create opportunities for international partnership.

In Rotaract, we learn, we serve, and we lead. There are so many great values that Rotaract has taught me. And I can’t wait to explore more opportunities ahead!

World Rotaract Week is 12-18 March. Join the 50th anniversary celebration and read about Rotaract through the decades.