Donnella Aldrich
2013-14 Outbound to Poland

Hometown: Vero Beach, Florida
School: Vero Beach High School
Sponsor: District 6930, Florida
Host: The Rotary Club of Czestochowa

Donnella's Bio

Czesc! My name is Donnella Aldrich and I live in Vero Beach. It is a small town with a big personality and I go to Vero Beach High School where I am in the AP program. I am currently a junior but will be spending my senior year abroad in Poland. I will miss my mom, dad, and pug, but I believe the experience will be well worth it and I cannot wait to go off on my exchange. At school I’m involved with many things, but I love them all dearly. I play violin in my school orchestra, am an editor for the yearbook and a representative on student government. Music and writing are two very big passions of mine that take up most of my time. At home I love cooking with my parents, and as a big meat lover, I can’t wait to try the Polish cuisine. As I can imagine everyone else is, I am nervous, anxious and excited for my exchange. It will be a big leap leaving home and taking up such a challenge but everyday I don’t regret it a bit and can only thank Rotary for giving me this opportunity.

Donnella's Journals

September 7, 2013

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a lone student in possession of a year abroad, must be in want of an experience of a lifetime.

I’m here. I’m actually here in Poland. After so much preparation it’s so hard to believe I’ve made it, even after being here nearly a month.

The trip here was long, but went quite smoothly, as were my first few days here. My family took me to see old castles in my area, as well as Jasna Gora, which is the most sanctimonious place in Poland, and is what makes my city, Czestochowa, the religious capital in Poland. The first two weeks were busy and filled mostly with eating and preparing my host brother, who is now on exchange in Pennsylvania.

On the 22nd of August, all the exchange students in Poland met together for our orientation and Polish classes, which lasted 10 days. Those were probably some of the most fun days of my life, and there is definitely a unique aura to exchange students that automatically binds us together. In Poland, our 52 exchange students represent USA, Canada, Australia, France, Mexico, Taiwan, and Brazil.

Once I came back I survived my first week of Polish lyceum (high school). It was difficult and nearly everyday I had to come back home and head straight for a nap due to how mentally exhausted I was.

Tomorrow is my one month in this amazing country. I know it’s similar to a relationship, and I’m still in the ‘honeymoon’ phase, but I must admit how ardently I admire and love you, Poland.

A quote for all exchange students -

"Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don't go trying to use the same route twice... And don't mention it to anyone else unless you find that they've had adventures of the same sort themselves.

What's that? How will you know? Oh, you'll know all right.

Odd things, they say - even their looks - will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open. Bless me, what do they teach them at the schools?"

- The Professor, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

And finally, thank you Rotary, for this amazing experience.