Bronwen Tedrick

 Croatia

Hometown: St. Petersburg, Florida
School: St. Peterburg Collegiate
Sponsor District : District 6950
Sponsor Club: St. Petersburg West, Florida
Host District: 1913
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Zagreb Gradec


My Bio


Bok! Ja sam Bronwen! Drago mi je. Hello! I am Bronwen! Nice to meet you. I was born in Fremont, California but I moved to St. Petersburg, Florida when I was 12. I have lived here now for about 5 years now. I am currently attending St. Petersburg Collegiate High School which allows me to be full-time at St. Petersburg College. However, I am in the class of 2017 and will be graduating high school in May with a two year degree. Therefore, I am taking a gap year in order to do my exchange in Croatia. I am thrilled to do my year abroad in Croatia. As I am applying to colleges as a history major, I am excited to learn about history in a place where so much has happened. At school I am a part of a few clubs. I am the secretary of the National Honor Society and while that takes up most my time, I am also part of Interact, Multicultural club, and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I live with my mom, Nancy, and my dog, Loki. My dad only lives across town so I see him pretty often. I will miss my family and friends dearly. However, they all support me and are almost as excited for me as I am. This will not be my first time out of the country. I have been to London and Paris on a school trip, I went to Costa Rica with my family, and I have been to Italy on a two week study abroad. All in all, I am extremely excited for this and very thankful to Rotary international for giving me this opportunity. Dovidenja!

Journals: Bronwen-Croatia Blog 2017-18

  • Bronwen, Outbound to Croatia

    Click HERE to read more about Bronwen and all her blogs

    When first arriving to Croatia I wanted to update this blog once a month. Well, you can see how that turned out. Now don’t get me wrong, I was going to update it on time. However, I kept thinking about how I was going to do something exciting within the next week so I should wait to update so I could talk about said exciting thing. So, here I am, three weeks late.

    Well, I’ll start from the beginning. All the exchange students to Croatia arrived within the same week. The first weekend that all of us were here Rotary took us on a trip to the Neanderthal Museum in Krapina, Veliki Tabor, Varaždin, and Plitvice Lakes. It is a lot of walking, I suggest you bring multiple pairs of good shoes. Also, it gets colder faster than one may expect so I suggest bringing clothes for cold weather.

    September was a month for getting used to all the changes. The beginning of October was also mostly normal day to day life. Then October 14th came along. The exchange students around Zagreb went to a barbecue at the top of Sljeme with the local Rotary clubs. We walked up the mountain. It took us two hours. It was quite fun meeting the local Rotarians. However, none of us wanted to walk back down the mountain so we ended up hitching a ride with the band. After getting home a few of us decided to go to a soccer game. By the way, if you want to go to a game you need to have an ID on you. The local team in Zagreb is called Dinamo. All around Zagreb there is graffiti about the team and their fan club, the Bad Blue Boys. The game was really fun, Dinamo won the game and we discovered just how crazy the fan club is. They had huge flags, drums, and speakers to blast music. At one point they even threw flares onto the field and the game wasn’t even paused; a firefighter ran on the field and grabbed the still burning flares. After the game, I lost my phone. I left it at a tram stop. Luckily for me Croatia is filled with amazing people and I was able to get it back the next day. The next week, all the Croatian inbounds went to the beautiful cities of Osijek and Vinkovci for a three day weekend. I made good friends with some of the local students, a few of them came up to Zagreb a few weeks later and wanted to hang out. We were also lucky enough to get a picture with a professional soccer team from Split called Hajduk. It was later that I learned that Hajduk and Dinamo are rival teams.

    My birthday has now come and gone. I turned 18. When I woke up I was sad. I was feeling guilty that I couldn’t celebrate with my parents back in the US. I was feeling really lonely all week and when the day came I didn’t really want to leave my room but I did and it became an amazing day. When I left my room my host family had prepared a present and cake. Then later I went out to watch Thor: Ragnarok with my friends from school. All in all it was a very wonderful day. Then came along my favorite holiday of Halloween. Now Halloween isn’t celebrated here and that made me a little sad. Still, I wanted to share the fantastic holiday so I gave out some candy and wished my friends a Happy Halloween. After school, I went over to a friends house and we watched Halloweentown and Nightmare Before Christmas.

    November 1st is a holiday called All Saints Day. Everyone got off work and school so that they could spend time with family and visit family graves. I went to Mirogoj cemetery with a few other exchange students to see all the candles. There were thousands and thousands of candles filling the cemetery. It was truly beautiful. A few days later I visited Vukovar on a school trip. Vukovar is a city that was completely destroyed in the war 26 years ago. It was a truly eye opening experience for me and I admit, I teared up a lot. This past weekend was the 26th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar and I went with my host father and one of my host sisters to a memorial service on Vukovar street in Zagreb on the 17th. All down the street there were candles lit in remembrance. On the 18th, the actual date of the fall of Vukovar, I was on a school trip in Slovenia. I had been to Slovenia previously in order to go to a water park with some of the exchange students in our language class, however, we didn’t see anything other than the water park. With my school I visited the UNESCO sight of Škocjan Caves and the capital city of Ljubljana. Slovenia was stunning, it is a very mountainous country. There was snow! I love mountains and snow. The caves were absolutely breath taking and again I must recommend that you bring some good hiking shoes. Luckily for me, the tour was in english so I could listen and learn along with my classmates. Next we went to Ljubljana and it was also a fantastic place. There is a beautiful castle on a hill that overlooks the city. I can also now say that I have had hot chocolate in a castle.

    Also! Croatia has made it to the 2018 World Cup!! A few other exchange students and I were lucky enough to be able to experience the World Cup Playoff here in Zagreb. Croatia won 4-1 against Greece and I am very happy I got to be there for it. Just a warning, in order to see this game we had to have our OIB which is basically a Social Security number for Croatian residents. Unfortunately, a few exchange students hadn’t yet got theirs and were therefore not allowed to purchase tickets. So, I recommend getting all the police stuff over with as soon as possible because you never know when you'll need it.

    All in all, the past few months have been wonderful. I have done and seen so much. I definitely recommend that everyone take advantage of the opportunities they are given. Now I look forward to a Rotary trip to Salzburg, Christmas, and New Years.

  • Bronwen, Outbound to Croatia

    Click HERE to read more about Bronwen and all her blogs

    Hello everyone. Writing this is very difficult. What do I say? I’ve never been very good with words. I could talk about myself but I know most the people reading this probably just want to know more about Croatia. This small country that has become my home over 5000 miles away from my other home. I will get to that, I promise. But first, a little about me. Clearly you can already see that my name is Bronwen and I am from St. Petersburg plus whatever you read in my first little spiel. I am staying in Zagreb, Croatia. I have been here exactly a month. I am living with my host mother, father, and three older sisters. I am 17 years old but that changes in a month. You might find it interesting that the reason I have difficulties writing is because to me, this is life. I have a schedule, i make plans with friends, I help out around the house, etc. I am in a country far away from the United States in most aspects and that sounds incredibly thrilling but really its just normal day to day life. I think thats the most important thing. I take the tram and go to a city center to be surrounded by building that are older than my home country. I don’t feel the need to take picture of everything or buy all the souvenirs. I see these buildings at least twice a week. I’ve settled in here. But let me tell you this, everyday life is pretty fantastic.

    Now, I know when I was trying to become a part of Rotary Youth Exchange I read over these journals for hours at a time. I'll try to answer your questions and make this fun to read.

    First, a fun fact; I am writing this while sitting at home instead of in school because I sprained my ankle falling down the stairs. I am not the first inbound to have done so in Croatia. Therefore, I must say, invest in a good pair of shoes. Also, bring a jacket. You may have good ideals of shopping when you get here but there really isn’t a whole lot of time and you will be freezing in the interim.

    So here are some answers to questions I had when I was looking up exchange. Laundry; everyone has a washing machine but very rarely do people have dryers. The dryers are things that go on the patio and hang your clothes. Since it is cold it takes a couple days for clothes to dry. Most people in the city live in apartments or flats. Most people speak english fluently in the city. My classmates scored higher on the last english quiz than I did. You will have language lessons if you are in Zagreb or within a 25 minute bus ride from Zagreb. I have lessons every Tuesday and Thursday. They are really helpful. I am not going to lie — the language is hard. The words change a lot. Almost every word has at least 10 different ways to say it depending on a whole lot of things I am not entirely positive about. I was practicing writing sentences in school and two of my friends started reading over them and giggling. Speaking of school, I'm on to my next point. I have 15 classes but only 6 or 7 classes per day. I am taking english, spanish, biology, croatian, math, music theory, art history, history, philosophy, physical education, chemistry, geography, physics, ethics, and politics. I go to every class. Do I understand what they are saying? No. I almost jump out of my seat with excitement when I recognize a word. Now lets talk about food. Almost every meal you eat will be home made. Honestly I can’t tell you much about the food. I don’t always know exactly what I am eating. But it is fine, I’ve never been a picky eater. There is nothing really to tell you about. They eat a lot of bell peppers and they eat them raw. Croatians really like local ingredients. Almost every week there is a market in the center square of Zagreb that has vendors selling whatever they made at home. A little bit north of that market is another that is every day and they always sell only Croatian home grown vegetables or hand made crafts. There is always something going on in the city. Finally, I’ll talk about money. While Croatia is a part of the European Union they do not use the Euro. They use the Kuna. Right now, as I am typing and not as you are reading, it is about $1 to 6kn. With rotary you will get an allowance of 400kn a month. Talking to my classmates, it is higher than their monthly allowances. Things are cheaper here than in the United States. I went to a fancy cafe with friends, we ordered a slice of cake and two coffees. It came out to be 40kn which is less than $7.

    Wow this was way longer than I thought it would be. If you've read this far more power to you. I hope I was able to answer your questions and tell you a little more about the day to day life about exchange in Croatia. Live free and prosper.

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