Destiny Gabriel

 Poland

Hometown: St. Augustine, Florida
School: Pedro Menendez
Sponsor District : District 6970
Sponsor Club: St. Augustine, Florida
Host District: 2231
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Bydgoszcz


My Bio


Cześć! My name is Destiny and I live in St. Augustine Florida with my grandparents, and my two golden retrievers, Bella and Cody. I am thrilled to be spending this coming year in Poland! I am so grateful for the St. Augustine Rotary Club sponsoring me to be living a year abroad. I’m currently a junior at Pedro Menendez High School as well as earning credits at St. Johns River State College. I am a member of the National Honor Society, I like to volunteer at local pet shelters, and am on the World Winter Guard team. I love to spend time with my family and friends. I also love to read and listen to music, I find it very relaxing. In my free time, I like to go to the beach with my friends, go camping, kayak, play guitar, and shop. I have always loved the outdoors and cannot wait to see all the beautiful nature in Poland. After my exchange, I plan on attending Flagler College and majoring in International Business. I will forever be grateful to the Rotary for this once in a life time experience that will change my life forever. I never would have thought that I would be spending my senior year in Poland. It is truly a dream come true. I know that I will create friendships and relationships that will be never ending. Poland is rich in its culture and I can’t wait to be a part of it. It will be so amazing to learn a new language and experience all that Poland has to offer. I am so excited. Dziękuję Rotary!

Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw

Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw

Inbound class 2017-2018 in Bydgoszcz for Language Camp

Inbound class 2017-2018 in Bydgoszcz for Language Camp

Me arriving in Warsaw Poland to my Host dad and sister

Me arriving in Warsaw Poland to my Host dad and sister

Lech Wałęsa, the former president who freed Poland from communism

Lech Wałęsa, the former president who freed Poland from communism

Gina and I representing Florida at the EEMA conference in Warsaw

Gina and I representing Florida at the EEMA conference in Warsaw

Stary Miasto in Bydgoszcz center

Stary Miasto in Bydgoszcz center

This is My high school, called Liceum 1

This is My high school, called Liceum 1

Natalia and I at Bydgoszcz Philharmonic

Natalia and I at Bydgoszcz Philharmonic

Me in Wrocław with my Polish flag

Me in Wrocław with my Polish flag

Some of the Bydgoszcz kids on our camping trip

Some of the Bydgoszcz kids on our camping trip

Alice and I on the boat tour in Toruń

Alice and I on the boat tour in Toruń

My family and I during All Saints Day weekend

My family and I during All Saints Day weekend

Grudziądz Poland

Grudziądz Poland

Carousel in Gdańsk

Carousel in Gdańsk

The Autumn leaves changing

The Autumn leaves changing

Journals: Destiny-Poland Blog 2017-18

  • Destiny, Outbound to Poland

    Click HERE to read more about Destiny and all her blogs

    I am almost at my 3-month mark here in Poland. I really do believe that this is a life within a year and not just a year within my life. I have seen and done so much already. I have been traveling to different cities almost every weekend. I have made some really good friends that have helped me so much. My friend Natalia took me to the Philharmonic in my city Bydgoszcz, which is the best one in Poland. It was beautiful. I went to a city called Grudziądz and got to see some of the other exchange students. Then we had a Rotary meeting in Toruń with all the other exchange students, we got to go to the Gingerbread Museum and learn how to make homemade Gingerbread. We also got to go on a boat tour. My Rotary Club took me and 4 other students to a camping trip. We went on a hike and got to see all the leaves changing. It was breathtaking and definitely one of my favorite things about Autumn in Poland. Then my parents took me on a trip to Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Sopot, also known as the Tri-city. We had so much fun together. We went to the WWII museum, Destroyer tour, Carousel ride, and I got to see the beach that I have been missing.

    Then I went to Wrocław to see some of my really good friends. We got to see the city and the Dwarfs of Wrocław, which is something I have wanted to see since I heard I was coming to Poland. On November 1, we have a holiday called All Saints Day. It is a holiday of remembrance to those who have passed. My family and I went to the village where my mom grew up to celebrate and meet family. We went to Mass then went to the cemetery. There must have been 100 families there. The graves were decorated beautifully, there were big tombs made of marble and they were covered with flowers and candles. The Priest came and sprayed holy water and prayed over everyone. It was a very beautiful holiday to celebrate. The most breath-taking part was seeing the cemeteries at night. The candles lit up the whole sky and you felt this type of peace. It was so touching to see how much everyone cares and loves their families.

    My Rotary Club has signed me and some other students up for Thai Boxing. It is really fun. It is very intense though… I have to work off that Pierogi somehow. The weather is definitely a lot colder than what I’m used to. It is rainy and cold most days. The Autumn season is leaving, and Winter is on its way. I am hoping I will get to see some snow soon.

    Polish is getting easier every week. I can understand more than I can say. I have a Polish tutor who is helping in the areas of Polish I am not strong in. For me and the other students this is grammar. With Polish you can’t just be submerged, it’s not enough. You really have to work for it. I really like Polish though and everyone says I am getting much better. The best feeling is ordering your meal, buying a train ticket, or just talking to your family at the table. It makes all the hard work worth it.

    I would just like to thank Rotary for this amazing experience. I know I am growing as a person, becoming more independent, and falling in love with Poland. For all of you future outbounds picking countries please put Poland on your list. You will see how much love is in this country and you will not be disappointed. Do Zobaczenia, Dziękuję.

  • Destiny, Outbound to Poland

    Click HERE to read more about Destiny and all her blogs

    Dzień Dobry! It’s hard to believe I have been in Poland for a little over a month now. I cannot explain how much love I have for this beautiful country. The first thing I would like to talk about would be my flight and my airport experience. The day before I left I was just so excited I couldn’t really think of anything else, other than the fact that the big day had finally come. However, the day of my actual flight made me very emotional. There is a surreal feeling you get when you are about to leave everything you have ever known and loved; anyone who is or was an exchange student will know what I am referring to. It is this nerve wracking yet exhilarating feeling you get and all you can think about is this brand-new adventure that lays ahead of you. I really want to thank my family for being so supportive of me and for giving me the strength to go on exchange because it is something I have always wanted to do. I love you guys with all my heart.

    When I arrived in Warsaw, Poland I was greeted by my host dad and sister, and my exchange friend Weronika; I was so happy to see them. Some of my first impressions of Poland were: lots of open landscapes, lots of windmills, and lots of trams/ trains/ and buses. Also, we eat a lot of Potatoes here, baked, boiled, and fried.

    I got to meet my grandparents before I went to language camp and they were so sweet and welcoming. My grandpa had said that whenever I am missing him or my family back home, I can come over and give him a hug and spend time with them. My grandparents come to my house every Saturday and I help my grandpa in the garden; I love spending time with him. He will point to objects and tell me the word in Polish and it helps me to learn new words. My host dad was very touched that I spend time with my grandparents, I really love my family here.

    Language camp was the BEST experience. I met so many people from all over the world. I have friends from Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Chile, Venezuela, and all over the United States; and I am still meeting new people. During the course, we got take Polish grammar, vocabulary, music, sports and history. My understanding of Polish increased dramatically. I really liked my teachers, they were so helpful. We also got to visit some very interesting places like Malbork Castle and an Army Museum. My favorite part was when we got to visit the President of Bydgoszcz and introduce ourselves to him in Polish. It was so cool and I was so proud of myself for speaking Polish to him. The last day of language camp we took our exams and I got a 100% on my speaking portion, I was ecstatic.

    I started school on September 4th. On the first day of Polish school, students wear a white shirt with black pants or a black skirt; this is uniform for the first day because you will meet your main teacher and classmates. I really love my school, it’s so beautiful and the people are so helpful. I have a mix of classes that I take: Spanish, Physics, Biology, Civics, Religion, Basics of Enterprise, Polish, Chemistry, Math, Education of Safety, Knowledge of Culture, History in Spanish, Geography in Spanish, and Polish history. Here we stay with the same group of people for all our classes, it makes it easier to make friends so I am happy about that.

    September 8-10th I was in Warsaw at a Rotary conference called EEMA. The exchange students got to participate in the flag ceremony and it was very exciting. We all got to represent different countries. I really enjoyed seeing people get so happy when an exchange student was carrying their flag and representing their country. We also got to meet the former President, Lech Wałęsa, who freed Poland from Communism. We were in awe, it was so inspirational to hear him speak at the conference. After this we got to take a tour around Warsaw and spend time together, which we all really enjoyed because we missed each other.

    I really am loving my life here in Poland, my family here is so supportive, helpful, loving and caring, I am so blessed. I would like to thank my family and friends back home for loving and supporting me. I would also like to thank Rotary for this amazing opportunity, I will forever be grateful.

    To anyone thinking about going on exchange, PLEASE do it, you will have the best time of your life. Also, choose Poland, there is such beautiful culture, traditions, and language here. No matter where you will decide to go, exchange will change your life and it has made me so happy.

    Porozmawiaj z tobą wkrótce, Dziękuję bardzo

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