Daniela Sanchez

South Korea

Hometown: Dunwoody, Georgia
School: Dunwoody
Sponsor District : District 6900
Sponsor Club: Rotary Club of Dunwoody, Georgia
Host District: 3680
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Seocheon



My Bio


안녕하세요! Hello! My name is Daniela Sanchez and I am currently a ninth grader at Dunwoody High School in Georgia. I live with my mom, dad, and brother. In school, I am a part of the marching band and Sign Language Club. In my free time, I enjoy playing the flute and piano, reading, and listening to music. I was born in Florida and I lived in California for two years as well. My parents were born in Colombia, so I am fluent in Spanish and English and am learning French and Sign Language at school. I have also been learning Korean at home for a few months. I have been wanting to go on exchange ever since I was little. I have always dreamed of spending a year abroad and having the amazing experiences that come with it. When I found out where I was going, I was beyond excited to have been selected to spend my exchange year in Korea! I am very happy to be able to learn as much as I can about a new culture and language. On exchange, I want to broaden my horizons and learn about how other societies work and what people think about ours. I am very grateful to my parents and Rotary for making this incredible opportunity possible for me. I’m looking forward to see what the future has in store!

First Korean lesson!

First Korean lesson!

Inbound Orientation

Inbound Orientation

Absolutely amazing PSY Concert!!

Absolutely amazing PSY Concert!!

My first dinner in Korea

My first dinner in Korea

My amazing host family

My amazing host family

In Seoul with my host mom

In Seoul with my host mom

Wearing a traditional Korean Hanbok

Wearing a traditional Korean Hanbok

The beautiful cave in Seoul

The beautiful cave in Seoul

There were lots of people from lots of places at the Taekwondo Camp

There were lots of people from lots of places at the Taekwondo Camp

All of the Rotary Youth Exchange students at the camp

All of the Rotary Youth Exchange students at the camp

Gangwondo Trip

Gangwondo Trip

My Hanbok!

My Hanbok!

Do you wanna build a snowman? (By my host siblings and I)

Do you wanna build a snowman? (By my host siblings and I)

My classmates and me

My classmates and me

Some friends and I at a cafe in Gunsan

Some friends and I at a cafe in Gunsan

Lunch with my first host mom, sister, and friend from school

Lunch with my first host mom, sister, and friend from school

The daily hike to school is so worth it

The daily hike to school is so worth it

Busan at night

Busan at night

No better way to spend Christmas than at a Cafe

No better way to spend Christmas than at a Cafe

My favorite view in Busan

My favorite view in Busan

Journals: Daniela-South Korea Blog 2019-20

  • Daniela, Outbound to South Korea

    Journal #3 2020. 03. 22

    It has been quite a bit since I last posted a journal. I wanted to experience the holidays and a Rotary trip before I wrote a journal so I apologize for the delay. I will begin by saying that Christmas and New Year’s in Korea are very different from how I am used to celebrating the holidays in the United States. I celebrated an early Christmas about a week before the actual holiday with the other exchange students in my area and we did a secret Santa gift exchange. If you are not familiar with Secret Santa, it is a game in which each member of a group gets a present for another person. On December 25th, we only got one day off of school for Christmas. On that day, I went to church with my host family from 10 AM to about 1:00 PM. After that, I met up with two exchange student friends and a Korean friend. We had a pretty simple Christmas and did what we usually would on any other day. So, pretty much karaoke and we went to a cafe afterward as well. In Korea, Christmas is not a family holiday as it often is in the United States, it is more popularly celebrated by couples and sometimes friends. The next day, everyone went back to school as scheduled. Another difference between Korea and the States is that in Korea, schools have a long break in the winter rather than in the summer. The last day of school for this school year in Korea was on the 31st of December. After school on the 31st, I went to church with my host family as well. We were there to experience the new year and left the church at around 12:30 midnight. There was no countdown to midnight or anything, we were in the middle of a song when I looked at the clock and realized that it was already midnight and we were in a new year. It was a unique way to experience the new year. That week, I started Chinese Language classes once a week to make use of my extra free time during the school break. A few weeks later, from January 24th to the 26th, we celebrated the lunar new year. For lunar new year, my host family and I went to my host grandfather’s house and spent the weekend there with a bunch of host cousins, aunts, and uncles. We ate delicious foods and I got to meet the extended family members. In February, four of the eight exchange students in my town celebrated birthdays, me included. We had mini parties for everyone throughout the month. On my birthday, I went out to lunch with my first host mom and sister as well as one of my friends from school and dinner at my host house with some exchange friends as well. My host moms are so sweet and I felt so touched that they took time out of their busy days to spend time with me. I have truly had the best host families and I love all of them so much. They are all so compassionate, caring, and understanding. On February 21st, we had a Rotary trip to a city called Busan. Saying that I fell in love with the city would be an understatement. It is a coastal city, so there are beaches but there are also green mountains everywhere. This makes the scenery spectacular no matter where you are in the city. The Busan beaches are clear blue and beautiful. I could look onto the sea for hours. There were also plenty of shops and tourist areas. On the trip, I also got to see Rotary Youth Exchange Students from other districts that I hadn’t seen in a while. While we were in Busan however, COVID-19 cases began to pop up in the city. Our Rotary Club decided to continue the trip cautiously. We stayed in large areas that had few people. We were in Busan for three days. When we came back, we stayed in self-quarantine for two weeks to prevent spreading the virus since we had been exposed to it. Luckily, no one from our District was infected. During those weeks, the number of cases in Korea were increasing at alarming rates. Because of that, two of the eight of us had to go back to their countries. I decided to stay a little bit longer to see how the situation progressed. Now, I am happy to say that the Korean government and people have been very careful and have been dealing with it appropriately. Though there are still cases, the daily report has decreased incredibly. There are no cases in my area as well so I am safe as of right now, but of course, I am taking the necessary preventive measures. To everyone reading this, please be careful and wash your hands, stopping this virus is a team effort! I hope everyone stays healthy and in good spirits.

    Click HERE to read more about Daniela and all her blogs

  • Daniela, Outbound to South Korea

    Journal #2 2019. 11. 25

    It is crazy to think that I have been in Korea for almost four months now. It’s been a little while since my last journal and lots of things have happened. First of all, in October, all of the inbounds in my district and some other districts in Korea had a trip through the Gangwondo Province. The trip was three days and we got to go to the DMZ and lots of museums about the war as well as some art museums. Though everything we saw and visited throughout the trip was very interesting, most of my fondest memories from that trip came from getting to meet people that I had never met before from lots of different countries. A few days after the trip inbounds from my district and a couple from other districts were allowed to go to a Taekwondo Camp in the mountains of Muju. In Muju, there is a structure called Taekwondowon (this is where the camp took place). Taekwondowon is the taekwondo capital of the world. There are many training areas as well as a full taekwondo stadium. The campus is absolutely beautiful. There are dormitories and if you go to the roof of the dormitories and look around, you can see mountains surrounding you. The camp was five days and six nights long. On the first three days, we would learn Taekwondo, and after lunch, we would have some sort of cultural experience. The last two days, they took us to different places on field trips. Whenever we were dismissed for the day I went hiking in the surrounding mountains with some of the other inbounds. The view was stunning. The lights from the buildings in the dark looked like stars on the ground below us. When we would get back from our hikes, we joined the rest of the inbounds and listened to music and got to know each other better. It was really cool to be able to see the other inbounds after the orientation. The taekwondo camp was the best experience I have had so far on exchange. I got to learn so many new things about the Korean culture and I had the chance to become even better friends with the inbounds in other districts. Having to go back to school after Taekwondo Camp was a little difficult because it was a snap back to reality, but I was happy to be able to see my school friends again. The week after Taekwondo Camp, all of the exchange students went to a Rotary meeting. At this Rotary Meeting, I did a presentation about life in Georgia and the culture in the United States. I was very nervous because it was a pretty long presentation and all in Korean, but I think it turned out okay. After my presentation, they made some ending comments and we all went out to eat together. A few weekends ago, our Rotary Club Coordinator took all of the exchange student to a city called Daejon. While we were there we each got a Hanbok to take home gifted to us by our Rotary District Governor’s wife. Hanboks are the traditional Korean clothes. We had chosen the colors a few weeks ago, but we got to see them all put together and take them home. We stayed in Daejon overnight. All of the exchange students stayed in a different Rotarian’s house. My Daejon host mom was extremely friendly and had super cute dogs. Though the trip was short, it was very fun to be able to see a different part of the country and to meet such amazing people like the Rotarians and their families. These past few months have gone by very quickly. I have felt my language skills increasing and I have formed strong bonds with people that I would have never met. I’m looking forward to the upcoming holidays to learn a little more about the Korean culture and how it differs from what I am used to in the United States.

    Click HERE to read more about Daniela and all her blogs

  • Daniela, Outbound to South Korea

    Journal #1 2019.09.04

    I have been in Korea for 33 days now and it has been absolutely incredible so far. It would take hours to read everything that I have done in the past month so I am going to outline some of my best memories so far.

    My first day in Korea:

    I arrived in Korea at 4 in the morning in Korea’s time after a 14-hour flight on August 3rd. I was pretty tired, to say the least. My host mom and host sister came to pick me up at the airport along with my host club coordinator. Everyone was super friendly as soon as I arrived. I felt so relieved and happy to finally be here. It was a 3-hour drive from the airport to Seocheon which is the town that I am currently living in. When we got to the place I now call home, I was greeted by my host dad and host brother. In pictures, my host dad appeared really serious, but I quickly learned that he is quite the comedian. My host family is really great. They are so nice and patient with me. They explain things to me and speak slowly so that I can understand. I am so thankful that I got such a great host family. We stayed home and everyone slept for a few hours when I got home because it was so early here too. Thanks to this, I did not experience jet lag and was able to last the whole day. After sleeping for a few hours, my host grandparents and cousins came over to visit. I shared some gummies and snacks with them from the United States and explained to them where exactly in the U.S. I am from. We then all went to a beach nearby and swam and played for a bit. The water here is warm in the shallow parts of the beach; it was quite surprising when I stepped into the water for the first time because that is something that I am not used to. At the beach, we also rode a banana boat. It was my first time riding one and it was pretty scary but so fun. After going to the beach we went out to eat 삼겹살 (pork belly) with my host family as well as host grandparents, aunt, and her friends. It was delicious, but I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open. That was just the first day.

    Korean Classes:

    Every Tuesday, I do not go to school and I attend Korean culture and language classes with the other inbounds. There are eight of us and we are all really close with one another already. I could not ask for a better group of friends to spend this year with. We all get along very well.

    My trip to Seoul:

    On the weekend of August 17th, I went to Seoul with my host family. My host siblings had to attend a Rummikub competition so they decided to do some tourist things since I was there as well. My host brother ended up getting third place which was pretty exciting. While in Seoul I was able to visit Insadong and Hanok Village. We slept at my host aunt’s house and went to a beautiful botanical garden. We later went to a cave which was absolutely stunning. There was a light show and sculptures on the inside. There was also a light tunnel. It was so incredible. That cave is now one of my favorite places in the world. Going into and coming out of that cave was the moment in which I realized how incredibly lucky I am to be able to take part in this amazing and life-changing experience.

    The PSY Concert:

    My favorite memory so far along with the cave in Seoul is when I went to a PSY concert. PSY is the man who sings Gangnam Style. They gave all of the Inbounds as well as one of the Rotex tickets to a PSY concert. We had floor tickets so we were able to dance and sing to our heart's content all night. This concert, however, wasn’t a normal concert. While PSY sang they poured tons of water on everyone in the audience. By the end, we were all absolutely soaked. During the concert, I once again felt how fortunate I am to be able to have come to Korea and be surrounded by such amazing people throughout the year. We all hugged and danced together for hours and felt so happy to be there together.

    Orientation:

    We had Inbound Orientation last weekend. The Inbound students from Busan and Gwangju came and met up with us here in Seocheon for Orientation. It was really nice to be able to meet them all. We had a ceremony first in which we all introduced ourselves. I was chosen as the representative for the Inbounds, so I read a sworn oath in Korean representing the Inbounds of 2019-2020 for the Rotarians. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but they told me I did well in the end; that was good to hear. After the ceremony, we went to where we would be sleeping. We had some time to get to know each other and talk after that.

    School:

    Going to school has been very fun so far. I am starting to make some Korean friends. I can understand most of the time when they talk to me slowly. The classes, however, are very difficult and I can’t understand almost all of what is going on. I study Korean in my textbooks whenever I am having extra trouble understanding classes. The teachers and students are all very patient with me and help me when I am struggling or don’t understand.

    Being here has already been unforgettable. I am so excited for everything that is to come this year. I want to say a huge thank you to Rotary and everyone who helped and supported me in my preparation for allowing me to come here and do something that I know will change my life for the better. I can’t believe that one year ago I was sitting in a conference room with Mr. Parks telling me and a few other teenagers that it was possible to travel, learn a new language, and make amazing memories through a program called Rotary Youth Exchange. I had never heard of this program before and decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did. If it is you sitting this year in a conference room contemplating whether or not you should do it or not, this is my advice to you. If you want to do it, go for it. Rotary is an amazing and well-organized program that gives you everything that you need to be ready when you depart. You won’t be alone in a different country, because they give you plenty of resources that you can use if anything ever comes up. You are not alone, but you are independent and that is the beauty of it.

    Click HERE to read more about Daniela and all her blogs

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