Kaylee, outbound to Belgium

One of my favorite aspects of exchange is the ability to travel. A perk about doing exchange in Europe is easily being able to visit other countries and exchange students.

My first experience of visitation was back in November when Chloé Hill (in Denmark on exchange) came to Belgium right after the Paris attacks. She spent a day at my school and met my Belgian friends and host family. It was hard to grasp we were actually in Europe together so far away from home.

In February, I went to the Netherlands with Rotary. I am grateful for this visit because I had the opportunity to visit many inspiring museums such as the Vermeer museum, the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum.

The most recent break, spring break, I spent in three countries. At the beginning of the break, Nick Pollio (in Germany on exchange) came to Belgium despite the terrorist attacks that happened in Brussels the same week; I find it bizarre that there is always a terrorist attack right before someone visits me, but this just goes to show we must keep on living life even if a group of people try to scare us. Nick and I visited many cities in Belgium and created memorable exchange stories.

After he left, I went on a Rotary trip to Greece with 56 other exchange students. At the start of the trip I had no relation to most of the exchange students but by the end of the trip we were a family. It amazes me how a group of random people around the world placed in a random country for a week can form a family. In Greece, we visited Olympia along with other ruins, went on a boat ride to an island, hiked up a 588 meter mountain to visit a monastery, which we discovered was closed after having climbed to the top. We swam in the sea, biked 25 kilometers around an island and spent time in Athens. I can easily say this trip was one of the best trips of my life.

The day after landing back in Belgium, I was on another flight headed to Germany to visit Nick. While in Germany, we explored Berlin and Dresden. Although I have already been to Dresden a few years ago, I fell in love with the city all over again. I had the chance to meet and spend time with Nick’s friends, getting a taste of his exchange life. My last night in Germany, Nick and I found the best Döner aka Tuna (not actually tuna) in Berlin. We spent 40 minutes finding the “restaurant” ( we later found out it was just a food stand) and another 40 minutes waiting in line. It was all worth it.

I have had great travels while on exchange and I can not wait to explore more of Europe during these last three months abroad.

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