Caroline, Outbound to Sweden

I have just started my ninth month of exchange, and it is truly crazy how fast time has started to fly by ever since January. I’m running out of weekends to meet up with all the amazing people I have met here in Sweden. As my classmates here discuss what classes they will take next year, I am reminded that my life in Sweden is ending soon. Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in this void. I am excited to see my friends and family back in Florida, i’m excited for summer weather, and to really see how I have grown as a person as I adjust to my life in the US. However, I am not ready to say goodbye to my host family, exchange friends, and school friends. It’s a weird feeling to create this whole other life in just under a year, and then have to leave it all behind. Towards the beginning of my exchange, sometimes time would feel as if it was dragging. Now it feels like time is moving so much faster than usual--too fast.

Halfway through January I changed to my second host family. Although it was nerve wracking to change families, it has been a good experience living with two different families. I really love my new host family and am so thankful to have been placed with them! Something I have realized while on exchange, is that the little things are truly what makes this year memorable. Yes, Rotary trips are amazing, but making sushi with my host family or dancing with my younger host sister are some of my favorites moments.

I have had some awesome opportunities for trips these past months as well. Earlier in March I went on a trip to Kiruna, Sweden with other exchange students. Kiruna is located in the Arctic circle, and is the northernmost town in Sweden. In Kiruna I was able to go dog sledding, see the Ice Hotel and northern lights, learn about the Sámi culture (indigenous people of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia), and pet/feed reindeer! Although my feet and fingers were freezing most of the time, it truly was an incredible trip. I have also gone skiing with both my host family and just recently on a trip with other exchange students. The ski trip was actually my favorite Rotary trip. Being goofy with exchange students, eating three tubs of ice cream over three days, and watching each other fall down while skiing made for some priceless memories and pictures.

I am not ready to leave Sweden, but I am excited to make the most of my last three months of exchange. As of right now I am waiting for warmer weather, but I can happily say the sun comes out more and flowers have begun to bloom :) My family is coming to Sweden to visit this Friday and I am so excited and proud to have them try my new favorite foods, meet some wonderful people, and just show them my other home.

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