Hailey Weidman

 Chile

Hometown: Ocoee, Florida
School: Ocoee High School
Sponsor District : District 6980
Sponsor Club: Winter Garden, Florida
Host District: 4340
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Talca


My Bio


¡Hola! My name is Hailey and I am 16 years old. I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina but Central Florida has been my home since the age of two. However, I spend my summers in Blowing Rock, North Carolina where my grandparents have a house, and consider this to be my home away from home. It is in N.C., where I gained an appreciation for the outdoors, such as: hiking, kayaking, white-water rafting, etc. I live with my parents, younger brother who is 15, and two pets—a dog and a cat. I am currently a junior at Ocoee High School and have been a varsity swimmer for the past three years. I also swim at Southwest Aquatics, a traveling swim club, which keeps me conditioned year-round. I’ve always had a love for traveling and experiencing new places, cultures and people. I’m beyond excited to have been given this opportunity to spend my senior year in Chile! I can’t thank the Rotary organization enough for giving me this life-changing experience. I’m looking forward to making new friends and memories that I will cherish forever. I am eager to experience the world from a different perspective and I know that this exchange will empower me to be the best version of myself. I anxiously await the day I arrive in Chile, but in the meantime, I look forward to learning about my host country, my host families, and becoming more proficient in the Spanish language.

Our class always gets together to bond and do fun activities.

Our class always gets together to bond and do fun activities.

Airplane Show

Airplane Show

Cumpletos, a typical Chilean food and a very delicious one.

Cumpletos, a typical Chilean food and a very delicious one.

The other exchange students and I dancing the traditional Chilean dance, the Cueca, for a Rotary event in front of an audience.

The other exchange students and I dancing the traditional Chilean dance, the Cueca, for a Rotary event in front of an audience.

Halloween in Chile!

Halloween in Chile!

Journals: Hailey-Chile Blog 2017-18

  • Hailey, Outbound to Chile

    Click HERE to read more about Hailey and all her blogs

    It's crazy that I am already entering my third month abroad. These past few weeks have been full of lots of learning, growing and fun! I have finally adjusted to life here and have settled into a new routine. I couldn't even imagine going back to my life in Florida right now. I love everything about this country and I am starting to understand how everything works.

    Including me, there are 6 exchange students here in Talca. Three of us from the United States and the remaining three from Europe. We all have become so close that it is almost impossible to believe that a little over three months ago, none of us knew we even existed. I've learned quickly that close friendship doesn't associate with time. It is safe to say they are my best friends and I know I can always count on them. We love to go all of the time whether it be eating lunch or to some crazy event happening in the city. During the week, we have a spanish class at the local university on Mondays and take tennis lessons together Wednesdays.

    For school I attend Colegio Montessori Talca. I am in year 3 because the seasons here are different and when I arrived here, it was already towards the end of the school year. my last day of school is December 10 and then we have summer until March. I will enter year 4 with the same class. Weird to think of Christmas being in the summer, right? Anyways, I wouldn't trade the people who make up my class for anything. They include me in everything and always know how to make me laugh and feel apart of the family that they have built up over the years. We hangout outside of school a lot as well. I love it because not only am I friends with exchange students, but the beautiful people of Chile as well. It's given me lots of crazy opportunities and forces me to practice my spanish. Recently, they have even been telling me how much my spanish has improved and it encourages me to continue to practice and try my best.

    I've been to cities all over Chile with my family over the course of my time here. North to South, mountain to beach, I've been able to see and experience a lot. I am thankful for such a caring and wonderful family who has given me opportunities like no other.

    I also found out that I will be going on my first Rotary trip to Patagonia on December 15! I am beyond excited to see such a beautiful part of the world. I can't thank Rotary enough for making all of this possible. Life at the moment feels like a dream. I am seeing things in a new perspective and understanding the world a little differently. I can already tell how much more independent I have become and how my mindset has expanded and how much I have learned here that I could never learn in a classroom.

  • Hailey, Outbound to Chile

    Click HERE to read more about Hailey and all her blogs

    I can't believe I have already been living in Chile for a month, time really does fly. So much has happened in such a short amount of time and it has already had a huge impact on my life. Coming here I had no idea what to expect and as any other exchange student about to leave to spend a year in a different part of the world, I had fears. However, as soon as I arrived they vanished almost immediately. The people of Chile are the KINDEST people I have ever met. My first day of school I walked into my classroom, shaking from nerves, only to be greeted by a huge group hug and food from my classmates. They made me feel welcome right away. I am so blessed for this opportunity. I have already made so many amazing friendships and connections. We go out practically every weekend and always have the best time. I have already made memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. I love my family here so much. I live on a city street in the center of Talca. I live with three brothers and a sister. On the weekends, my older brother who lives in Santiago comes home. Coming from a house with only one brother, you can tell how big of a change it was for me. However, I love it so much because there is always something happening and the house is always filled with life.

    The food here is to die for. We always eat home cooked meals and I've already tried all of the traditional Chilean foods, one of my favorites being a Chilean hotdog. Here it is referred to as a Completo, which is a regular hotdog in a bun but generally topped with tomatoes, onions, avocado and mayonnaise. It may sound odd but it's the best and in the past month I have already had 7.

    My younger brothers are my best Spanish teachers. It is a lot easier to converse with them because they don't know as much slang and don't speak as fast. I know it will take some time to feel comfortable with the language but I am understanding and learning more and more each day. Another contribution to my great experience so far is the country's natural beauty. Chile is interesting because it has such a wide variety of landscapes. In my city there is always a view of huge, snowy mountains and it always leaves me in awe and the sunsets I have seen here are beyond compare (sorry Florida!!).

    All in all, this month has been the most confusing, craziest, best month of my life and I can't wait to see what these next 9 months have in store for me. I have already seen big changes in my personality. A little over a month ago, I was more conserve and shy and it took me time to get comfortable with people. Since my arrival, I see myself coming more out of my shell more and more each day and never turning down an opportunity.

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