David, outbound to Belgium

Bonjour à tout le monde !

I can't believe 5 months have gone by already.

I would like to start by saying that I'm having the best time of my life. This exchange has been such an eye opening experience for me. This is the first time I have ever been in the beautiful continent of Europe. It took some time getting used to the life here but I think I have the hang of it after 5 months. The language came after 3 months. I go to a French course every Monday and Thursday.

I believe everyone should make time in their life to take this leap of faith and represent your country through Rotary Youth Exchange.

Belgium and her people are just amazing, from the other exchange students to the bus and train directors.

Everyone makes my exchange all the difference. During my exchange I have done quite a lot of activities with and without Rotary. Rotary has taken us exchange students to multiple city tours and even to a coal mine. The Rotex (former Rotary exchange student) also plans special events for us. We had an exotic dinner that everyone had to prepare a dish from their country and present it, after the presentations we got to indulge in the food from around the world. At the beginning of February we will go to a chocolate museum and factory. Yum.

In my time here in Europe I have already visited Paris, France, where I got to go up the Eiffel Tower and get a tour of The Louvre; London, England, is where I got to see Big Ben and the London Eye; Cologne, Germany, I visited Dustin Garner who is on Rotary exchange in Germany from Florida, this year we visited the Grand Dome in the center of Köln; Maastrict, Holland I got the chance to see the country that has more bikes than cars and I did some of my Christmas shopping there with my host family; and there is more to come. I can't wait to see what's next.

The thing about Belgium is that I can hop on a train and travel for 2-3 hours and be in a completely new country. As long as I have permission from the host family, Rotary, and my biological family I can practically travel anywhere.

In the past 5 months I have met almost 300 different exchange students from all over the world. I know these will be life long relationships.

This exchange program hasn't just helped me learn the language and culture of not only Belgium but of cultures from all over the world. It also gave me the opportunity to make friends who are going through the same experiences as I am.

For my 5 month anniversary my host dad took me to a football (soccer) game and the home team, "Eupen", won 5-1 it was an amazing experience to top off my first 5 months.

There is so much more to come with in the coming months! I will be going to Amsterdam, Spain, and also Italy! I can't fathom the words for the experience I'm having right now but all I can say is that you really need to experience it first hand.

I want to continue having more "leap of faith "experiences. I want to thank Rotary for this amazing time. There is more to come so keep watching for my next chapter.