Kel Wright

Paraguay

Hometown: Gainesville, Florida
School: Buchholz High School
Sponsor District : District 6970
Sponsor Club: Gainesville, Florida
Host District: 4845
Host Club: The Rotary Club of San Lorenzo

 

My Bio


My name is Kelly Wright and I am from Columbia, Missouri. At the age of fifteen my parents and I moved to Florida to start a new chapter. I enrolled in Buchholz High School in Gainesville and became a member of the soccer team. Transitioning to a new school and a new state was difficult, but I persevered and became a stronger person because of the obstacles I had to overcome. I had to get used to not knowing anyone and become accustomed to a new life, all of which would eventually prepare me for this experience.

I decided to apply to Rotary because I believe in experiencing life outside of my comfort zone and learning more about a country than what a textbook tells me. I was ecstatic to be accepted to the Rotary Youth Exchange, and even more excited when I found out I would be going to Argentina. I have studied Spanish for three years and am eager to put my knowledge to use. In my free time I enjoy going outside, playing sports, and spending time with my friends, family, and cat Daisy. I am passionate about being a citizen of the world, meeting new people, and learning about a beautiful culture.


Cuidad de Sanber

Cuidad de Sanber

Dressed up like a Paraguayan folklore

Dressed up like a Paraguayan folklore

Market Place

Market Place

Happy Holi

Happy Holi

David and I

David and I

Happy Holi

Happy Holi

My Colored Hair

My Colored Hair

Campaign

Campaign

Sunset on the river

Sunset on the river

view from the top

view from the top

Sister

Sister

Tias

Tias

Trip

Trip

Trip

Trip

Journals: Kel - Paraguay 2015-2016

  • Kel, outbound to Paraguay

    As you are heading into your new countries that will become your new home and things start to become easier you have to remember about time.

     My exchange has gone by so fast and its probably because I have had the best time of my life on my exchange and I can't have asked for a better country to spend a year in. Paraguay has captured me by the heart and has shaken my whole world.

    Yes it is a different culture and language but the people you meet and the things you experience will change you forever and I couldn't have asked for a better 10 months of my life.

    As you are sitting in the interview chair sweating as I did a little too much but you think "If I get this 10 months is a long time" at the welcome home dinner and all the former outbound's tell you it goes by fast and you think they are crazy because you are worried about what to do and what not to do and the language barrier. Just relax and it will all come in time.

    One of the trips I took was the best two weeks of my whole entire life and all of you will experience a moment where you feel so happy and you are so immersed in the culture you forget your an exchange student you forget you're one of the girls from Gainesville, Florida.

    In closing my time has gone by so fast and my last 17 days are going to go by even quicker. I love Paraguay for its uniqueness and its never ending love from the people of Paraguay. Your country will capture your heart as Paraguay has captured mine.

    To see some photos and my homepage click HERE


  • Kel, outbound to Paraguay

    I'm currently sitting in my room and unable to stop thinking. I have been reflecting my exchange and how quickly it does go by. I arrived in Paraguay on August 8th and I will be departing my new home on June 15th, which is in 49 days. I will be returning to hot weather something I am all too familiar with here in Paraguay, sandy beaches I have missed and returning to my family.

    What Rotary doesn't tell you is how attached you will get to your new home. When you are on exchange the word goodbye becomes too frequent. You say goodbye to friends who leave to go home, host families that have taken you under their wing, saying good bye to classmates, and saying goodbye to your fellow exchanger's at inbound camps not knowing if you will see them for the next one or see them ever again.

    Reflecting on my time here in Paraguay I have been thinking about the places I have seen, the people I've met and the experiences I have experienc ed that will stay with me forever. I have met the most amazing people on my exchanged, and I have been to places I have never dreamed of. Rotary has given me such an amazing opportunity to explore the world, and learn about a culture first hand, and for that I am entirely grateful. You will have your bad days, and you will run into some difficulties along your exchange but its how you choose to deal with them that makes the difference.

    You will have days when you are lying in bed wondering why you went on exchange, you will question if you want to stay or go home. There will be days where you will want to, cry, and binge watch a season on Netflix, trust me I have done all of these things, and that's okay. Its not a bad thing to want to be alone for a little while. If there is one thing I have learned on my exchange is that its okay to make mistakes, its okay that you don't know the language fluently, its okay to ask for help, its the fact that you are trying everyd ay to get better than the day before that counts.

    It goes by so quickly and if you don't spend it wisely I am sure in the future you will regret it. Your experience that you are given is YOURS not anyone else's, its not your parents exchange, your friends, Rotary's, its yours so seize it. Make every opportunity to explore your new home for what it truly is and be free. May the wind blow you on a path you never would have seen. Explore places you never thought of exploring, and be a part of a culture that you will learn to fall in love with instantly, and for that is the magic of exchange.

    To see my home page click HERE


  • Kel, outbound to Paraguay

    Hola! Feliz Navidad! I know its two days past Christmas but Happy Holidays. I know around this time of year the exchange students get homesick. I won't lie I am a little sad but I did switch to a new family the day after Christmas. Some friendly advice. I know it can get hard and your family tells you its not the same without you and you see photos on Facebook, or social media which let me tell you it doesn't help. Whatever traditions you do in your home country you won't do in your host country. It will seem like you are out of place. It is just one Christmas but you will never forget it.

    Some advice about switching families. Whatever the relationship is good or bad always say thank you, you don't know if it was hard for them to do what they did to host you in their home. You might cry, be happy, or just sad. But you can visit them whenever you want. Once you arrive to your new host house just get as comfortable as you can. Once you settle in it will be time to leave again for your next house.

    You realize you have too much clothes and should probably stop buying things. You still have to get everything back home. I have been in Paraguay for 4 months almost 5 months and I am still in love with everything here.

    School starts back up in the middle of February. I am going to a different school and to be honest I am very nervous. I don't know anyone. My host brother put me in his class group chat before I left and I knew a lot of my classmates before I came. Now I have to start over. If I can live in a foreign country for 10 months I think I can sit in a class for 5 hours right? Trust me its harder than you think. You're the new toy. Everyone is asking you questions and wants to try out their English. Let me let you in on a secret... its dangerous. I let my classmates try out their English and I would help them and I would forget simple Spanish in 10 minutes. Your brain get so overwhelmed by switch back in forth from English to whatever language you are learning. If you are constantly tired that is normal, your brain is on over drive from translating every day. It would come back but it wasn't the best thing just starting out. 

    To see my homepage and some photos click HERE


  • Kel, outbound to Paraguay

    Hola, Buen Dia! I have been in Paraguay for almost three months now and I am in total and complete bliss. School is a lot of fun! I love playing handball, and playing traditional games with preschoolers. Lunchtime is when I get Spanish lessons from my classmates.

    My classmate Sofi ran for class president and the campaign was a long process. Sofi went all out for it. Her slogan was "Untied for the same reason" and she made posters, she made cupcakes, she even made T-shirts. One day after lunch my classmates and I left school and we went a couple blocks away from the school and we decorated cars and there was a huge bus that we decorated and it was blasting music and girls were painting the slogan on their bodies. We rode into school on the backs of trucks,out the windows of cars, and it was crazy and so much fun! There were games, and it was so weird that the school would allow them to do it but they did. The next day we found out who won and Sofi won!!

    This past week a couple houses down from me there has a gas line explosion and a house actually blew up and the whole neighborhood was out of power, and it was very interesting experience.

    I have been placed in the most beautiful country. Obviously every exchange student will same the same thing about where they are, but I can't thank Rotary enough for this experience. We have been given a chance to explore another culture, and language. Most people our age wouldn't want to leave home, or even be scared to leave home. Learn as much as you can while you are on your exchange and experience all that you can because your time is short and it will go by so fast.

    I have visited a couple cities that just takes your breathe away. The mountains, lakes, and rivers are just so beautiful! When you go off course, take the back roads, and you reach the top of the hill and you pull over and look back you just freeze and think how is this even possible. Its the most amazing feeling. You won't ever get another chance to see another country or culture so seize every moment of it!

    Chao,
    Kelly

    To see my home page and some photos click HERE


  • Kel, outbound to Paraguay

    Happy Holi also known as the festival of color was this past Saturday. I went with another exchange student from Canada. The concert started at 2 in Paraguay that means you will melt once you get out of the car. It was about 100 outside and when David (exchange student) and I walked in everyone was either totally in white or covered in colored powder. We got 2 bags of powder and we went straight into the colossal of people. There was amazing familiar music playing and by the end of 10 minutes David and I felt nasty because we were drenched in sweat and powder that dries to your skin. David and I left at 8 and we had such an amazing time. We can now say that we went to a rave in a foreign country.

    This past Sunday I went around town with my sister and her grade and we went on a big scavenger hunt for our school and we get points for everything we find. Needless to say it was very hard to find all these objects on the list. It was a lot of fun and the contest lasts two weekends so next weekend we will try to complete the list of things to find.

    I am understanding more in class. This past week my ethics teacher who I have been told is the meanest teacher in the whole school was talking about violence and she made the class read about Ghandi and Ghandi happens to be one of my role models so I was really excited about the lesson. Another teacher came into the room to talk to my teacher and my teacher pointed to me laughing and said in Spainsh "she doesn't understand anything". All of my classmates just looked at me with horrified faces because they knew I understood what she said and they were waiting for me to get upset or say something back. I remembered from my last orientation the right response to say to someone. So I said to my teacher "I understand you perfectly, your talking about Ghandi and how he used non violence and how he never gave up hope when most people would have". Her mouth dropped open and she was taken aback by the fact that I knew what was going on and what we were doing in class. All of my classmates started cheering for me. I wasn't mad or anything but even though I might not speak the language fluently I know what's going on.

    To see more click HERE


  • Kel, outbound to Paraguay

    Spoiler: I actually am in Paraguay. Rotary switched me a couple of months before I left and I couldn't be happier! When I first arrived in Paraguay I was like a little kid in a candy store, my face was glued to the window and a look of amazement on my face. My host dad was driving and I actually thought I was going to die in the car. He swerved into on-coming traffic to pass one car and to this day he still does and I still think I am going to die on my way to school every morning. So between being totally amazing and covering my eyes of my possible death was my car ride home on my first day in Paraguay.

    I had lunch with my family and it was amazing, we had pig, rice, and pasta. We have a maid named Armenda and she is very quiet and very quick. My first day of school was very busy. Everyone was kissing me, hugging me, and pointing at me. A teacher extended her hand as my class sat on the floor waiting for my class room to be opened and she kissed me on both cheeks and told me in Spanish that if I needed anything to come to her. At recess all the young kids came up to me and asked me my name and ran away screaming, or they wanted me to play, or hold them.

    My school is three stories and there are kids from pre-school to graduating high school. All of my teachers on my first day either looked at me and carried on with their lesson of the day or said hola. The only teacher that talks to me is my English teacher (how ironic) and he lets me help my classmates or he lets me teach the lesson. I have been to about 8 English classes where the younger students ask me questions about America and I love doing it! They always ask me why I picked Paraguay because no one really knows about it and I have to explain why I didn't pick it.

    There is a man at our school and sells ice cream, candy, chocolate, etc. At first I was confused at why kids would buy candy from him. Didn't someone say to them in their childhood "stranger danger". Well my classmate Sofi told me that he has been there since she was young and he is harmless. I still didn't buy anything from him for a week just in case.

    I am so amazed at how beautiful everything is here. The trees, the stores, the people, and how fast everything goes by like the cars weaving in and out of lanes. I am so astonished about how fast people talk and you just stare at them thinking, was that even Spanish? I have said that many times to my classmates.

    I have been to other cities and it is so breathtaking. The mountains, the rivers, and even how people change with every city. For example, when you are at a stop light people clean your windows even if you don't want it, there are people selling newspapers, things they have made, selling chipa (bread) with a huge basket full balanced on their head, or even people standing on a skateboard that is balanced on a chair and juggling at the same time.

    Paraguay does have some things that are different. For example, if you are at a gas station there is a police officer with a loaded gun. I have seen people go to the bathroom in the streets, I have seen someone been mugged in the middle of the day, in the middle of the street, and the people walking by did nothing about it they just kept walking. I have been to a park with a river but you can't see the the water because its filled with trash. There are trash cans in the parks and throughout the town but no one really cares, they just throw it out of the window of their car, or just drop it when they're one with it.

    Some people sweep up the trash around their house and set it on fire. There has not been a day that I haven't seen trash burning and it does not leave a pleasant smell. Everyone asks me what my favorite part of Paraguay is and I am sure they are waiting for me to say empanadas but I say the people. Everyone is so nice here you aren't greeted with a "hey nice to meet you"; you are greeted with a hug and two kisses no matter if you are a girl or boy. Everyone wants to help me, even with my Spanish and they don't expect anything back. The people here are so passionate, yes they goof around like friends do but they are family. My classmates have been together since they have started school and that is something I will always envy.

    To see my page and some photos click HERE

    Chau,
    Kelly


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