Sierra Melton
2013-14 Outbound to Bosnia

Hometown: Saint Augustine, Florida
School: St. Augustine High School
Sponsor: District 6970, Florida
Host: The Rotary Club of Sarajevo

Sierra's Bio

Zdravo, my name is Sierra Melton. I am currently a senior at St. Augustine High school. I love to swim, read, go scuba diving, caving and hanging out with my friends and family. Ever since Mrs. Cameron came to speak to my school about Rotary Exchange in 2009, I have known that I wanted to be a part of this program and now I am! I am headed for the beautiful country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I look forward to learning much about the culture and history of Bosnia, and especially making new friends and families that will last a lifetime. I am currently an only child so I am looking forward to adding brothers and sisters to my family. School is very important to me but the education I will get from meeting new families and friends is the most important part of this adventure!

Sierra's Journals

September 2, 2013

Zdravo,

Well today was the first day of school! It wasn't till today that it sunk in that I am here for a whole year. I have only been here for a few weeks but it has felt longer than that. The things that I have seen I could not have seen or learned from just sitting at home reading about it! For those student trying to decide whether or not to decide whether to apply I say do it. These few weeks in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina I have been the best weeks I could imagine. You must be thinking, like all the people I have talked to, "Why Bosnia and Herzegovina?" and my answer is that this country is so rich in culture and language that why wouldn't i choose it! This city and language is so different from what i and use to that it should throw anyone out of their comfort zone but for me I feel at home walking through the streets that are cracked from the bombs and grenades that went off almost 20 years ago and living in a house that was the first house to be h it by the grenade that started the last war. These things that I see and the stories I hear amaze me and make me realize that i wouldn't want to spend my year any other way. That Sarajevo is my home now and I love it here! Sure the place can make the exchange but the major part of exchange is you willing to go outside of your comfort zone and say yes to every opportunity there is just like everyone tells you to do. Make the decision and apply today because you will never regret it!

Doviđenja i Sretno

Sierra

October 18, 2013

So a little over two months I stepped off a plane and into a new life. It has been easy but also really hard. When I stepped off that plane i was not expecting easy but i was not expecting it to be this tough. The culture is amazing but different. My host mother is a great mother but here in Bosnia and Herzegovina parents show their love with things they are not real affectionate like mothers in America well at least mine. This has been a challenge for me to get use to and I finally am accepting it. Another change is all the beggars. You are just walking home from school and on the street there are three to five year old children just wailing and begging for money. They are covered in filth. There is no fix to this but doing the best you can by buying them food does help. There are many differences but the hardest is the language. Like I said I thought this would be easy that I would learn it easy. Learning Bosnian has been the toughest challenge i could imagine but one I know I will overcome. On a lighter note I just got to celebrate my first Bosnian national/religious holiday. It is called Bajram. It is basically a holiday that is equivalent to Thanksgiving but instead of turkey and stuffing I had lamb and spinach pie. There are many differences but I have learned that you can grow in unimaginable ways.

January 28, 2014

Zdravo,

Wow it is hard to believe that I am over half way through my exchange! It feels like yesterday that I just got here. This month has been filled with new experiences. I have reached my half way mark as well as move to a new host family. This family is entirely different from my last host family and I love it. I love how I am finally learning Bosnian even if it is tricky. I also am enjoying the experience of sharing a room with my host sister as well as home cooked food! This city is filled with so many great things to do and I have just scratched the surface. Hopefully soon I will get to go skiing finally because it only just started snowing again. School will start tomorrow though for the second semester which will hopefully mean that as my Bosnian progress so will my ability to things in class. In high school we all wish we had the classes where we could do nothing but relax well I have finally gotten to experience it and to me it is utterly boring and pointless. This has definitely been the best year I could imagine. You really do make life long friends from all different countries that i can not wait to visit!

February 7, 2014

 Zdravo,

Well I switched families about two weeks ago and I can already see the change. My host family only speaks Bosnian with me so am now able to understand when they talk most of the time my next step is learning more words. I have also experienced new events right now. Currently in Sarajevo and other major cities there are massive riots going on. For me this is a completely new experience. I have never had to deal with people protesting in my tiny town of St. Augustine. Sure it is a little scary but it also makes you wonder what is going on in your country to cause people to go to such lengths to make a point. It makes you want to investigate what is going on in your country because that is what it is now YOUR COUNTRY it is making me think what do i not know about my country and i want to learn more. Madi, Andrea, and I are not allowed to leave our house and in some cities school and work has been cancelled. Like I said this is a new change for me. We know we are fine and tru thfully we are since our houses are away from that part of the city but watching what is going on in the news even if you do not understand can be frightening. I am not writing this to freak anyone out or worry because I know if it gets bad that Rotary will have us out within a second but I also believe that Rotary will keep us safe and not send us to a dangerous place. This year has been full of many different experience and this is just another to add to my list of opportunities. I hope all is well back in Florida.

Doviđenja i sretno,

Sierra