Hello, my name is Jenneva Clauss and I am 15 years old. I attend Buchholz High School and I am a sophomore. I am so grateful to be able to say that I am going to spending my junior year of high school in Sweden! When first learning of my country assignment I was ecstatic. I did not know much about Sweden before receiving the news that I would in fact be spending my exchange year in Sweden. I get the privilege to be able to experience and learn about a completely new culture; this is one of the great parts about Rotary Youth Exchange program. I have been so eager to learn more about the Swedish culture and I cannot express my excitement to start to be fully immersed in it. In school I am involved in many different clubs, and all of them have very diverse missions. I am involved in clubs that range from F.B.L.A. (Future Business Leaders of America) to March of Dimes. Outside of school I have many different hobbies. I am involved in Gainesville Area Rowing, and this takes up 5 days out of my week with practices and sometimes more when regattas (races) occur. I know it is hard to believe but I do still have a lot free time! With the free time I have left I love to spend it with my friends and family. My heart is truly based around my friends, family, music, art, sports, and animals. I am really up for any new adventure whether it is camping in the woods or taking a shopping trip at a new town center. I love finding new activities and my friends describe me as the girl who always has a smile on her face. My favorite thing to do is to try new things. I guess that is what leads me to apply for this amazing program! I first became interested in Rotary Youth Exchange two years ago. My brother, Zach, was an outbound to Austria in the 2009-2010 year. The changes I easily observed in his character, responsibility, and attitude upon his arrive home were so incredible. These dramatic, positive changes in my brother influenced me greatly to take advantage of such a wonderful, once in a lifetime opportunity. Another factor that influenced me to apply to be an outbound for Rotary Youth Exchange would be the wonderful inbound from Germany, Teresa, which my family hosted in our house. Teresa and I grew very close and it was an incredible experience to learn about a completely new culture; while also sharing a new culture with her. It was an indescribable feeling to be able to bring such different cultures together. I know this journey is not always going to be easy but I know that the good times will outweigh the not so great. I am ready to make the best out of every situation. I could not think of a more fantastic opportunity! I cannot even explain how grateful I am to Rotary and my family for making this experience possible. This life changing experience is so unbelievable and I am more than eager to take the next steps to getting closer to beginning this amazing journey!
Jenneva- Outbound to Sweden
October 18, 2012
Hej, jag heter Jenneva! Jag bor i Nacka, Sweden. Nacka is about a 15-minute
bus ride from the center of Stockholm! (Venice of the North) When I first
got off the plane I found out my bags had been lost. This was probably
because between my flights, which I was running through the airport to
catch, there was about no time for my luggage to make it onto the same plane
as I was going to catch. It actually turned out to be even more convenient
that my bags had been lost. This is because in Sweden if you loose your bags
the airline delivers your bags straight to your house! Even though my house
is about an hour away from the airport, my bags were delivered the next day!
I have never heard of this kind of airline service in America... I never
even had to carry my two heavy suitcases through the airport.
My first week was filled with adventures throughout Stockholm city. I did a
lot of shopping throughout my first week, and I quickly realized that the
prices in Sweden are MUCH higher... for everything! In Stockholm, there is a
theme park right on the water and it is amazing! It is named Gröna Lund and
I went there on only my third day here. About two weeks after arriving in
Sweden, I attended a language camp for all the students in the surrounding
area in Sweden. I learned a lot there, and was also able to meet and become
friends with many other exchange students from many different countries
around the world.
The biggest thing in Sweden would probably be FIKA! Fika can't really be
translated into another language, but the best description of fika is when
you eat Swedish pastries and drink coffee with friends and Swede's do ALL
the time! Swedish schools are also very different. It's similar to a college
schedule. You have different classes every day, get out at different times,
and start at different times. Although throughout your classes you stay with
the same class and have the same people in all of your classes throughout
high school or gymnasium (Swedish high school).
Even though I have only been here a little over two months, exchange has
taught me so much about different cultures and about myself. It is
definitely not always easy, but it would not be teaching me so much if it
were always such a breeze.
Until next time,
After being here for close to half a year Stockholm, Sweden has
become my home. The streets of Gamla Stan and T-Centralen I have memorized
and come to love just as much, maybe even more, than the streets I know in
Florida. The subway has become a place where I feel safe and that is
familiar to me. The long hours it takes to use public transportation seem to
be shorter now and the faces more inviting. I never thought my feelings
towards Sweden would differ so much from my first two months here to now, my
half waypoint. It feels incredibly strange to say.
One of the hardest experiences on my exchange so far happened last
Saturday when we had to say goodbye to our Aussie “oldies” because their
exchange year had ended. It really opened all of our eyes to realize that we
are now the “oldies.” We know this city, this culture, and language a lot
more than we ever expected to. We realized we are now really part of this
city and this culture and that our knowledge of the Swedish language grows
I feel as though Stockholm is overlooked when thinking about the
magnificent, historical cities of Europe. Stockholm is often times called
the Venice of the North though. I can completely agree. Everything about
Stockholm makes me feel at home now, as though I have been here my whole
life. I feel the history by just walking on the streets that I know millions
of others in history have walked on the same cobblestones. Stockholm in few
words can be described as beautiful and incredible. Pretty much what I’m
trying to say is that I feel like I finally belong in Sweden and that
Stockholm is my new home.
I have the feeling of understanding myself more and understanding
everything a little more, which almost every exchange student talks about.
To all you future exchange students, THE FEELING IS REAL. At times exchange
can be hard and you can miss home, but you really have the best support
group in your host country. This support group is made up of your fellow
exchange students, your host family, and friends. They really do make this
experience the best it can be. My eyes have already been opened to the world
that is so close for all of us to get a taste of. I am starting to learn how
incredibly small the world really is and that my hunger for exploring it
won't stop here in Stockholm. The people you can meet, the culture you can
be a part of/ experience, and the things that will make you speechless in
every way possible are really priceless.