Everyday I have made it a ritual to check my e-mails to see if my Rotarians, family, or friends message me. Today, I received a most shocking e-mail concerning the "Carré"- a sub-district in Liège. The english translation of the "Carré" is "the square." Its nickname originated from the maze of alleys formed together in a square neighborhood. The Carré consists of cafes, restaurants, theaters, and bars open 24 hours for 365 days in a year. Its roots go back to 1468 and is known as one of the oldest districts in Liège.
My Rotary leader announced that the rule prohibiting foreign exchange students from the bars was terminated; not because of its interesting history, but for a more prudent matter. In my opinion, the rule was most likely set in place to protect the young exchange students from danger, yet every single Rotarian exchange student has entered the Carré at least once. Before, if anyone was caught in this area without their parents, then he or she would be sent home. The ironic part about the situation is that everyone ignored the rule and now the rule is gone. Even though he legal drinking age in Belgium is 18 the Rotarians still try to discourage the use of alcohol. The Rotary leaders are not encouraging people to go into the Carré since the purpose of the Rotary foreign exchange is to integrate into the family, school, club, and social environment of the community. In my point of view, the Rotary leaders showed their "goodwill" in order to avoid to expose their failure to contain the revolting attitude of the exchange students in regards to this one rule. This e-mail has not changed my life in any way because I am not the type of person to drink alcohol. On the other hand, many of my fellow exchange students have profited a lot from the surprising message.