Jenna Schilling 
2012-13 Outbound to Denmark
Hometown: Howey in the Hills, FL
School: Tavares High School
Sponsor: District 6980, FL
Host: District 1480, Denmark
The Rotary Club of Holbæk Østre

September 4, 2012

Today marks my first month in the beautiful country of Denmark. I can honestly say that it has been the best month of my life, I've done so many different and remarkable things that I know I would have never tried in the US. It's crazy to think that just a year ago I was working on my application to apply, and now I'm here, living it. 

When I first arrived a was a little homesick, and there are still times when I miss some things, but I also find myself adapting, everyday I'm adapting, I may not realize it at the time, but when comparing America to Denmark, I really see how I am becoming a Dane. 

I have started school, I've been in it for about 3 weeks now, and I can honestly say I love it. It's very different then in the states, there's more freedom, but also a lot more responsibility. I'm in class 1x, which is the sports line, there is roughly around 27 students and for the next three years the will all have class together, excluding electives. My classmates are so nice and very helpful, because of them, I know so much more Danish now.

My first host family consists of 4 family members, and then if course myself! I have my host mom Birgitte, a younger host sister, Katrine, an older host brother Rasmus, and another host sister Amalie who left for Brazil about a month ago, they are so nice and I really feel accepted into their family. 

I've spent the past week with 150 other exchange students from around the world, in a small town called close to Århus in Jutland, it was the first meeting of the year, and I can honestly say it was a week I will never forget. Not only did we socialize, and really get to know each other, but we also had 6 hour Danish lessons for a week, which I must admit, could be quite arousing at times, but I made it through. It wasn't all work throughout the week, they have numerous activities planed for us. Some including, walks, a Hyggeaften which is just hanging out and relaxing while drinking tea/coffee. We rocked climbed and traded pins, had a wonderful concert by the band Quick Quick Obey, made bracelets out of bicycle tubes, and ended the week with a dance. 

Now I'm back in school, and learning the Danish lifestyle, which I find myself loving more and more each and everyday. I can not thank everyone in Rotary enough, back home in Florida and even here in Danmark they have done so many things to help me. I know that this will be the best year of my life, and I have them to thank for it! So Tak Rotary International.

January 11, 2013

I never know how to start these things, I re-type them over and over again. I guess I just find it odd to be writing about myself.

Daily Life: Normal ya know, Sleep, eat, go to school, sleep some more. I've left the tourist days long behind, and with starting a new year I have much more motivation to do things and put myself out there. My school days start at about 7:00 and usually finish about 15:00.

Walk much?: If your on exchange you know exactly what I'm talking about. Before I arrived in Denmark I was not this way at all. I feel like if there is something, that is in no way possible to fall over, I fall. Of course these moment's happen in front of everyone. I actually had someone introduce themselves to me followed by "Didn't you fall down the stairs yesterday?" But see the thing is, you just have to embrace your incoordination. It's gonna happen, if you want it to or not. 

Homesickness: It's happened. Not so much during the holiday's, but on my little brothers birthday I was crying my eyes out. A lot of people try to deal with this by curling up in there beds or talking with other exchange students. I tried a different approach, I talked with my class. They were so supportive and really helped me through that time. 

Exchange Students: They are the best. I know that with the other exchange students that I have made life long friends all over the world. It's nice to talk with other exchangers and talk with them about simple things that the Danes may not understand. 

Host Family: If you haven't heard. I've moved to my second host family. They are great, I love them so much and I'm going to be so sad to leave. In the family there is Pia, my host mom, Rene, my host father, Casper, my host brother who lives in Copenhagen, Anja, who also lives in Copenhagen, and Julie, who goes to school with me. 

My Danish Friends: Now that I've been here for some time and finally understand what people are saying, I'm really seeing the different personalities of my friends and classmates. I have some close friends, who I am thankful for everyday. They help me with just the littlest questions and things that I would have never found myself asking in Florida. 

Church & the Danes- In the Danish culture Christmas is very different from the one in the USA. It starts on the 24th, usually around 3PM by going to church, which I find ironic considering that most of the Danes (especially the teens) have no care in religion at all. They only go because their parents force them. 

Fede- Fede was my oldie, I said goodbye to him at the airport about a week ago. He's from Argentina, and he truly became like a big brother to me. He was there when I had questions and for the first time I rode the train. I am so thankful for everything he's done. Tusind tak Fede! 

New Years resolution- For me it's to completely submerge myself in the Danish language, so far so good. I really want to learn everything that I possibly can. I want to go back to Florida speaking as fluently as I can. Ohh and lose 10 pounds.

April 2013

As I'm coming down to the last three months of my exchange I'm realizing things that I haven't noticed before, I've changed so much since I've been here and I hope that this person that I have evolved into will continue to be the same person when I have to return back to the US. I can't even begin to list the things that I've learned on exchange, there is so many of them, most of them you go day by day without even realizing it. I feel like I'm ready to face the world after this year. There so much I want to see and do, things that never really interested me until this year. I can't wait to see what the world has in store for me.

Preparing to go home is possibly the strangest thing I've ever experienced. These past months have been absolutely amazing. It's like I can finally fit it and be myself. I have friends that really know me and support me. Leaving them is going to be so tough, I can't picture my life without them.

I've moved into my new host family and I can honestly say I love it there the family consists of 4 members, Henrik my host father, Lone my host mother, Nicolai my host brother, and Katrina my host sister who is in Little Rock on exchange for the year also. I feel so at comfortable with them and its really nice.

In a short while I will be going on Euro Tour, I'm so excited for this, I get to spend 18 days on a bus with around 50 other exchange students, were starting the tour in Hamburg, Germany, then down through Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Lido di Jesolo, Venice, Verona, San Remo, Monaco, Avigon, up to Paris, Bruxelles, and Finally Amsterdam. I'm looking forward to this tour so much!