Gina, Outbound to Poland

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Dzień dobry! Nazywam się Gina Perez!

I can’t believe I have been in Poland for a bit for over a month now. It is crazy to think I’ve only been here a month and I have seen and experienced so many new things. But I am getting ahead of myself. I remember the night before leaving it was crazy and filled with so much preparation, so the excitement and the emotions didn’t hit me until the next morning. I had an early departure, I was going to fly to Canada then Warsaw. We made it to airport and everything went smooth, then as I showed my ticket and passport to the clerk and walked through the final terminal , I looked back at my family gave them a wave, and the wave of emotions hit me. One of my biggest dreams I have, was about to come true. I was excited, nervous, all the above. I am sure all exchange students can relate to the wave of emotions you get as you leave behind your home to start this amazing adventure. As for my airplane experience it was great, I made friends who showed me how to navigate through the airport and other exchanges waiting to board their plane. I finally arrived in Warsaw the next morning greeted by my host mom , my host dad, and another exchange student’s family who coincidentally was on the same flight as me. Within the first couple days of my exchange my host family took me to a folk concert, it was wonderful. This concert gave me a chance to connect with my host family, plus the music was pretty good. Before I knew it, it was time for language camp.

Language camp was the first impression with the other exchange students . We all became so close so fast. We began with exchanging pins. We exchanged so many pins. As for classes, we had Polish classes, history, music and sports. The Polish language courses were great, we received so much information and it truly laid down the foundation of our polish. Language camp provided us a chance to visit the Malbork Castle and an Army Museum. Each filled with so much history and I am so glad I was able to go. But the most exciting part of language was the ability to introduce ourselves to the President of Bydgoszcz. Language Camp provided me with enough basic Polish to help me feel a little bit more prepared for school.

School soon started and I remember the first day so well, walking into school with other exchange students attending my school, so nervous.There are 3 other exchange students attending my school, we all became friends very quickly. We talked into school with our pinfilled blazers, we had already collected so many pins from language camp. We walked the halls and into the gym where EVERYONE could tell we were the new exchange students. We got introduced to the school and they were thrilled to have us.Everyone was so nice and helpful.We didn’t make any close friends until the class trip.We got to visit the Czech Republic and Wroclaw. It was so beautiful. But for me the most memorable moment was when we were on the bus to the hotel from Prague, Some students were singing songs in English and of course myself and the other exchange students joined in. Before we knew it we the whole bus was singing. We started to sing “Hallelujah” and it was perfect and brought us together as a class. We weren’t seen as these new foreign kids we were seen as one of them . It was wonderful. Music truly became part of uniting us because a Polish tradition during these trips are to sit around a campfire , sing , and enjoy each other's company. That trip truly brought the class and the exchange students together and I am so grateful for the trip.

On topic of trips, the EEMA conference was a conference held in Warsaw and exchange students from all around Poland were invited to perform the flag ceremony. Also during this trip we got to meet and hear a speech from Lech Wałęsa. Lech Wałęsa is a noble peace prize winner and is responsible for leading Poland out of communism. Lech Wałęsa’s speech focused on inspiring us the new generation to stick up for what they believe in and it is our duty to make a difference and change the world for the better. His speech left us exchange students speechless and inspired to change the world someday. On this trip we also got to tour Warsaw and hear about the history of Warsaw.

I can not thank Rotary enough for sending me on exchange and for sending to Poland. Poland overall is beautiful, filled with history and I can not imagine spending my exchange anywhere else. Poland has become my new home and I have only been here for a little over a month. I can not wait to see what else is in store for my new adventure here in Poland. If you are a thinking about going on exchange at all even a little bit, my best advice for you is: go for it, being a future outbound might be a lot of work but believe me it is worth it”

Dziękuję bardzo! Znowu porozmawiaj!