Andrea Sullivan
2011-12 Outbound to Switzerland

Hometown: Plantation, Florida
School: St. Thomas Aquinas High School
Sponsor: Hallandale Beach - Aventura Rotary Club, District 6990, Florida
Host: Rotary Club of Wettingen, District 1980, Switzerland

Andrea's Bio

Hi! My names Andrea Sullivan. In less than a year, I’ll be all the way in Switzerland! Researching the culture, looking at pictures, and hearing stories from family and friends about their visits has made this opportunity seem almost unreal, and I can never be grateful enough to Rotary for giving it to me.

I am currently 15 years old and a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Sports, other events, and school spirit is a big deal there, so of course I’m always involved in some way. I live in a city in South Florida called Plantation which isn’t far from my favorite place in the world, the beach; a huge difference from where I’ll soon be living. As accustomed to tropical weather as I am, just thinking about the difference in climate is a challenge, but I can hardly wait! I speak English and Spanish, so speaking German is going to be something completely new to me.

I love to play soccer, and on the side like to continue in gymnastics or dance lessons. Recently, photography has become one of my hobbies. I love the beach, but I find any part of nature beautiful, and its what I like photograph the most. I love to travel as well, and hope to learn at least 2 more languages. I’m very outgoing, easy to get along with, and was taught to speak what is on my mind. I spend a lot of time with family (which happens to be very big) and close friends. They mean the world to me, and I will miss everyone so much!

So far, I can only imagine what an amazing time I am going to have and what an amazing experience its going to be for me to not only learn about but be a part of a culture I am completely unfamiliar with for a whole year. I’d like to thank my Mom, Dad, and older brother, who is leaving as well, but for college, for helping me with and supporting me through this process. However, I’d especially like to thank my Grandma for the influence she has had on me in always being interested in other cultures and gaining knowledge about the world that most of us only know so little about.  

I have always gone to either my mom or grandma when I face difficult decisions, and like the other times they have encouraged me to do something, I know this coming year is bound to be not only a success but the experience of a lifetime.

Andrea's Journals

January 12 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Future Exchange Students,

Current Exchange Students,

None of the Above,

Unlike most of the other exchange students, I haven’t kept up with a blog filling you in on the past 4 months. I’ll start with today and work my way backwards until August, when I arrived in Switzerland.

My day starts 6 hours before most of yours, so it’s already noon on Christmas Day. Of course, I’m spending the holidays with my host family: My host parents, 2 older host-sisters, their boyfriends, and 2 older host-brothers, (my third host-sister is in California for an exchange right now as well.) I couldn’t ask for a better family to be with, and I couldn’t feel more loved by them.

Last night, we had a traditional Swiss dinner called fondue chinois, which is with meat instead of cheese. I tried doe for the first time and definitely don’t recommend it. What also made it slightly less appetizing was that when I asked which type of meat it was, and didn’t understand the German word, they explained by saying it was Bambi. I ate Bambi.:’( I couldn’t get myself to try the horse. Now it’s not as unusual sounding as before, but yes, horses are food, not only friends. But aside from eating Spirit and Bambi, it was delicious.

It snowed in the village I live in on Monday, and I was happily initiated by my classmates with a lot of snow to the face. Waking up to see everything covered in white outside is amazing and stomping on the snow walking to school is so much more fun than finding the crunchy leaves to step on. I find myself singing and dancing on the way home about as much as or more than the preschoolers here, which the people waiting at the bus stops along the way always seem to find entertaining. (especially the elderly women that watch me almost slip on the icy spots in mid-song.)

Speaking of walking to school, I no longer have Daniel Michael to force me into the car in order to be on time, which means I have to try not being late all by myself. My habit of being fashionably late here doesn’t fit in very well. (one time I even got to a dinner party with my prior family 2 minutes early. EARLY.) So anyways, I usually end up running a lot more than walking, and to my surprise even, and probably to everybody who lives here(because they would most likely disagree), I am so much more punctual, and I even have a personal agenda. For planning ahead…like real days and weeks ahead. Not just a few hours or minutes. It’s very exciting to use.

School isn’t like at home, I’m with the same 20 classmates for all subjects and we sometimes have several hours for lunch, or the day doesn’t end until 6:15. I’m not complaining though, I love school here. I don’t have to take tests, or learn. Except in English; my English teacher insists that I take her class just as seriously as the other students because I must learn English. I even get to read aloud when its my turn. I also get asked to explain words sometimes, but they’re usually words like “purr“, and then, naturally, I’m asked to demonstrate. My class is awesome though, and the school is beautiful.

I don’t wear uniforms, so I have to choose an outfit every day, which isn’t as hard as I thought it would be, I actually really like it, but pink sweatpants are frowned upon by the other girls. They don’t like my pink sweatpants. Flamboyant colors aren’t so popular here, and I’ve kind of managed to own an article of clothing in about every bright shade. Which is ok, because they go along well with my rainbow rain boots, and bright orange cap that looks like a cat, which are equally frowned upon by angry female by passers.

My German at the moment is 100x better than it was 4 months ago, but I think it should be called Andrea Language, because its more of a combination of High-German, twisted English and Spanish words that I think fit nicely into my sentence, a lot of noises and hand-motions, and some Swiss-German words thrown in occasionally.

I’m not allowed to date…or drink….

Ok, next paragraph.

Mountains are great, they really are, and I like them, I really do, but one time I had so much mountain wandering in one week that I refused to walk up another one. The primary reason I didn’t want to look at another mountain this particular time was because my week wasn’t exactly spent wandering up mountains, it was spent biking up them, and quite honestly, I will NEVER do that again. Not because it was a horrible experience or anything, but I was in a group of about 10 Swiss boys, and my Swiss host-sister and I were the only girls (I made sure to add the “Swiss” because I swear people here are born on bicycles.) Dear state champ football players, I will never feel sorry watching you work out after having done this.

I can’t forget to add that I was hit by a car during this beloved week of mountain wandering.

In these months, I’ve also managed to slip down the stairs so many times, that my family gave me socks with grips on the bottom.

This isn’t everything of course, but I, being as punctual and good at time management as I am, only have half an hour to pack before we leave to a Chalet in the alps for the week, where I will be learning how to snowboard! J

Merry Christmas Everyone! I miss you all and wish I could be sharing more of the amazing time I’m having here with you. Enjoy your holidays and time with loves ones, and know that I wish you all the very best for the new year, and hope you not only seize any opportunity for love, success, and happiness that may come across you, but find these things in what you have and make the most of it.

With all my love from Switzerland,

Andrea

p.s. yes, I eat chocolate like there's no tomorrow; no, dad, I don't know how to yodel; I have no idea how many times I've been asked how often I eat McDonalds; and when I mention I'm from South Florida, its seems like screaming "Spring Break!!" is an involuntary reaction from some of the guys.