Kelly Schultz, Megan Durner, and Joan Durner share the positive impact Sister Cities is making in Lawrence.

Megan Durner, incoming Senior in Lawrence, discovered her love for cultural exchange as a Freshman. Through the Sister Cities program Durner’s family hosted a student from Germany. It was such a positive experience, the family hosted again the following summer.

This summer Durner became the exchange student, traveling to Eutin, Germany, a Lawrence Sister City since 1989.

“Being in Germany is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” said Durner. “I truly learned what it was like to live in someone else’s shoes. I relished learning the differences and similarities in how we live.”

As soon as Durner received information about her Eutin host family, she started talking with her host sister. “By the time we met she felt like family.”

The whole trip felt like “something out of the movies,” said Durner. The students went to class, on day trips, and took in the beauty of the small lake-side town. 

2019 will mark the 30th year of Lawrence and Eutin’s history as Sister Cities. Kelly Schultz, from the Sister Cities Governing Board, shared an update on changes in the board’s structure.

The City of Lawrence has recently restructured several of its boards in order to improve efficiency and combine like-efforts. Sister Cities is now managed by a Governing Board and will continue to benefit from financial support from the City for operating expenses. While this has reduced the board size from 14 to 9, the change has provided greater autonomy.

Lawrence has three Sister Cities: Eutin, Germany, Hiratsuka, Japan, and Iniades, Greece. The goal of Sister Cities is to “Promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time.”

Schultz thanked Lawrence Central Rotary for their support of Sister Cities programming. “The goal of good international relations is something Rotary is very interested in. It’s also a way to assist students with an incredible educational opportunity. Sister Cities combines these two goals.”

Schultz encouraged the Club to send a Rotarian on the 2019 delegation to Eutin, celebrating the 30 year international friendship.