Savanah Woodhall

Croatia

Hometown:Apopka, Florida
School: Lake Brantley High School
Sponsor District : District 6980
Sponsor Club:Apopka, Florida
Host District: District 1913
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Velika Gorica

 

My Bio


My name is Savanah Woodhall. I am a sophomore at Lake Brantley High School in Longwood Florida. I am also 16 years old. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends, watching movies, shopping, coaching cheer-leading, and playing soccer. I have one little brother and 3 dogs. I've lived in Florida all my life and couldn't think of a better place to grow up. I'm so excited to be assigned to Croatia! It looks beautiful and so unique. I hope to come back with so much more knowledge than I left with. I imagine getting there will be absolutely terrifying and so exciting at the same time. I know I'm going to be completely set when I get there though because I have so many people behind me, supporting me, and helping me through this journey. I know I'll get there and want to share everything about Florida, America, and the people here. My interest in traveling started when I was very young. My family would go on cruises a lot, and I always wondered what happened behind the port. I couldn't be happier to have this experience and the excitement I have for it is so unreal.

Heartfelt Goodbyes

Heartfelt Goodbyes

The Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic Sea

Dvorac Veliki Tabor

Dvorac Veliki Tabor

Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

Zagreb Skyline

Zagreb Skyline

Špancirfest in Varaždin

Špancirfest in Varaždin

Zagreb Main Square

Zagreb Main Square

Salzburg, Austria with Jackie and Twyla

Salzburg, Austria with Jackie and Twyla

Venice Selfie

Venice Selfie

17th Birthday with my favorite host sister

17th Birthday with my favorite host sister

Burano Island in Venice Italy

Burano Island in Venice Italy

Berliner Dome

Berliner Dome

Berlin, Germany with Alexyz

Berlin, Germany with Alexyz

Pozega Vineyards

Pozega Vineyards

Graffiti Alley in Hackescher Markt

Graffiti Alley in Hackescher Markt

Journals: Savanah - Croatia

  • Savanah, outbound to Croatia

    I've been slacking on my journal entries BIG TIME but it's so hard to sit behind the computer. Exchange has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. My host country, Croatia, has been amazing. It's beautiful, I've made so many lifelong friends (not just from here, but from all over the world), and it's opened my eyes to accept that other peoples ways of living life aren't the wrong ways, just different ways. I had to adapt to life here quick and that meant changing how I did things a little bit (socks in the house AT ALL TIMES, public transportation, three or four layers of clothing in the winter, lunch instead of dinner, and lets not forget the language.)

    However, Croatia isn't the only place I've had to adapt to. Since I've been here I've visited 3 other countries. At the beginning of December, I spent four days in Salzburg, Austria with the eighteen Rotary students from Croatia as well as the one hundred (more or less) Rotary students from Austria (the hostel was a mad house for anybody staying that wasn't one of us.) I was also hosted by two different families in Germany with Alexyz (other exchange student from 6980) for 2 weeks over new years. She showed me the ins and outs of Berlin. It was one of the most amazing cities I've ever experienced. I also visited Venice with my friends host family just a couple of weeks ago. It was during their famous Carnevale so you could only imagine how crowded it was. It was beautiful.

    Being an exchange student hasn't only taught me to adapt, but it has taught me independence and responsibility. You're not a kid anymore. You have a host family, but you're basically your own parent. You learn so much about yourself in the first month or so when you don't have a lot of friends, you're not too close with the family, and you're not familiar with the environment around you. It's a very big step from growing up in the same city where you walk into the grocery store and see your bests friend's mom, your cousin, and your great aunt Susie all in the same visit. It's tough at first. You feel like theres nobody there for you. You resort back to skyping with your friends in other countries knowing they're going through the same thing. But you get through it. You meet other exchange students, become close with your family, and make some of the best friends you never thought you would.

    I wouldn't trade the experience I was given for the world. It's something not everyone gets to experience and I'd like to thank Rotary for making it happen. I can't wait to see what the next few months hold!


  • Savanah, outbound to Croatia

    One of the most exciting months of my life

    August 25th, 2014. It was a Monday. My flight was at 7:57 P.M. I thought saying goodbye to my friends and family was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do until I arrived at the Frankfurt Airpot in Frankfurt, Germany the next day. I'd never wish my 9 & 1/2 hour flight on anyone. I had a 4 year old that wouldn't stop moving around to my left, and aisle to my right with the occasional person walking by nudging my leg while I was trying to sleep. It seemed like I was the only one on the plane who didn't speak German. Did I mention the food was awful, I got MAYBE an hour of sleep, and I didn't have wifi. I finally reached the airport and couldn't be happier that it was over because I knew the next plane ride was only an hour & a half. I hopped on the struggle train when it came to finding my next gate. I had a 5 hour layover so there was plenty of time for me to find my flight. Little did I know, the gate would change 6 times (more or less). So I FINALLY reached my gate, got on my plane, and off I went to the place I now call home. I slept the whole flight, not that it was very long, and woke up to a flight attendant asking if I wanted my cookie. People were exiting the small air plane so I figured it wasn't the best time to finish catching up on my sleep. I stepped off the plane and into the air port. I waited in line to have them check my passport, grabbed my 3 suitcases, and met the strangers I would now call my family.

    Good news: I made it through the first month! Bad news: I only have nine of those left. Exactly 31 days ago I landed in the Zagreb, Croatia. Little did I know, it would be one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen. I’ve already been to so many different cities, one of which being Dubrovnik. It’s on the coast & it’s also one of the southernmost cities in the country. In Dubrovnik, I experienced a beach covered in rocks, an ocean without sharks, and many many tourists.

    When we went into restaurants, I was told not to speak English so we wouldn’t get charged the crazy tourist prices. The city itself is one of my favorite places. My family and I spent about a week there before heading home to Velika, Gorica but before that we that we had to make a little detour. We stopped in the small town of Ston. It has a population of about 2,000 people making it about 8 times smaller than than the city of Longwood. We have also visited Plitvice Lakes, Dvo rac Veliki Tabor, and Varaždin which was my second time there. My first time was right after I got here. There was a festival going on called Špancirfest.

    I started school about a week after I got back and attend as regularly as possible.. Sorta.. We have 5-8 classes during the day of the week. Fourteen different subjects are mandatory for school here. These subjects include physics, chemistry, biology, history, geography, English, Croatian, PE, homeroom, IT, politics, philosophy, math, and a choice between ethics and religion. For the first month or so, everyday is a new schedule and every other week switches off from morning school to afternoon school. With a normal 7 period day, morning school starts at 7:30 A.M. and ends around 1:25 P.M. and after noon school starts at 1:30 P.M. and ends around 7:25 P.M.

    My exchange so far couldn’t have gone more smoothly. I love my family, I’ve made lots of friends, the food's delicious, the language is coming along, and I couldn't have made a better decision for my exchange. Everyday spent here is a new experience and adventure.


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