Hannah Smolin

 Japan

Hometown: Apopka, Florida
School: Lake Brantley
Sponsor District : District 6980
Sponsor Club: , Florida
Host District: 2610
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Kanazawa

My Bio


Hello! My name is Hannah Smolin. I go to Lake Brantley High School and am a sophomore, grade 10. I am currently 15 years old and live in Altamonte Springs, Florida with my family. I live with both my mother and father who originally came from Ukraine along with my older family members. My younger two brothers and I are the first generation of our family to be born here in America. In school, I am a part of clubs that surround the idea of giving back and spreading kindness such as Key Club which is for volunteering and Sunshine Club which is where we spread positivity throughout the school. My favorite thing to do in my free time is play piano, I have played the piano since I was 5 years old so I'm passionate about it and anything surrounding music. I also enjoy drawing in my free time along with reading manga, which are Japanese comics. I was beyond overjoyed when I found out Japan is my destination for exchange, being my top choice. I was always interested in learning about different cultures and opening my mind up to the world. Words could not describe how grateful I am to Rotary for this opportunity. I hope to achieve a new perspective and understanding of life. I hope to immerse myself in a new culture and language and to be able to learn so much from it all. Thank you again Rotary, I cannot wait to begin a new life as an exchange student in Japan.

pikachu vending machine :D

pikachu vending machine :D

紅葉 - or autumn leaves if you don't know Japanese

紅葉 - or autumn leaves if you don't know Japanese

Journals: Hannah-Japan Blog 2017-18

  • Hannah, Outbound to Japan

    Yo, it's been a while since I've last said anything. I'm already at my half way point and the amount I've changed as a person here is so crazy to me. I like looking back at how I was when I first came here and thinking how absolutely lost I was and how accustomed I've become to being here. Right now it's winter and it's absolutely brutal. Winter is no joke. It's absolutely freezing and has been snowing nonstop for the past 2 months, something I've never even experienced besides having a flight delayed on a trip in New York due to a blizzard (I'm having a snow day in right now because school got cancelled). I wouldn't say I'm feeling homesick......I just miss one thing...you know...warmth lol. It's harsh and I will never take not having snow in Florida for granted ever again T_T. But besides snow, I've having a great time here. It really finally hit me now being here 5 months that this is my time here. My own exchange and the most important thing is to do what will make me happy and make my time here the absolute best it can be. I really realized I have control over how it goes, although there's other factors it really is up to me. Life here is really nice overall. I love school, it's the highlight every week. Even if I have to wake up still at ungodly hours and zombie my way through with every one else, my friends here make it worth it everyday. The smallest things like walking home together - or to the bus stop, make my day. I love them bunches :). Friends aside, being alone is also an amazing thing about being abroad. I have so much freedom when I go out alone and can go anywhere I'd like to with just public transportation that isn't Uber. It's sooo wonderful and it makes me happy knowing I have that ability here. Even though I'm always thinking about the future, I should take time to enjoy the present. My time here is so valuable to me. I've already maxed out completely all the space I have with how much stuff I accumulate here, it's no joke. Be prepared or you'll end up like me having to use extra shopping bags to pack away things as a suitcase when moving host houses. But nothing will be left behind, every item I get here is so precious to me because it came from my exchange. Being here already 5 months was not easy always. There have definitely been hard stressful times and not everyone will understand because they are not in your position. You really learn a lot about yourself during these times, even the smallest things. You do tons of self discovery here. And it's important for that, to venture out on your own and just get to know yourself as a person. Sound sooooo serious but it's true I wouldn't have thought I'd say these things when I got here but you become so different and grow T-T. Anyway, I'm super excited for spring in Japan because God knows I'll take up my entire phone storage with photos of cherry blossom season :D.

    Click HERE to read more about Hannah and all her blogs

  • Hannah, Outbound to Japan

    Yo, it has finally been a full month of my exchange in Japan! It went by a lot faster than I thought it would. So far it has been so surreal. I keep forgetting I am even on exchange and that I am finally here after anticipating these moments I have finally been able to live for a year now. I love it here, everything: the food, my friends, my city, my first host family even. My city, Kanazawa, is so beautiful. There is so much to see and so much historical sites to visit (truly a dream come true lol). Right now, it is finally cooling down with temperature which is something that has never occurred in this time of year in Florida and people think I've lost my mind for being so excited about it. My first host family is great, the food is so yummy and they treat me so well I really feel at home :’). I have also been able to find a lot more people with the same interests as me which is so greatttttt!!!!!! I made a lot more friends than I would have thought too, my class is so fun and mess around a little too much than what I would even think to be acceptable in America. I also am slightly addicted to milk tea.....I buy one daily, they are just too good :/. Honestly for now, all I can say is I've truly been having such a wonderful time in and out. Everyone has treated me so well and I can not name one reason to be homesick yet, I really feel at home in my city here! I am so glad to be here and I’m so excited to see what else I get to experience in my year!!!

    Click HERE to read more about Hannah and all her blogs

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