Savanah, outbound to Croatia

I've been slacking on my journal entries BIG TIME but it's so hard to sit behind the computer. Exchange has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. My host country, Croatia, has been amazing. It's beautiful, I've made so many lifelong friends (not just from here, but from all over the world), and it's opened my eyes to accept that other peoples ways of living life aren't the wrong ways, just different ways. I had to adapt to life here quick and that meant changing how I did things a little bit (socks in the house AT ALL TIMES, public transportation, three or four layers of clothing in the winter, lunch instead of dinner, and lets not forget the language.)

However, Croatia isn't the only place I've had to adapt to. Since I've been here I've visited 3 other countries. At the beginning of December, I spent four days in Salzburg, Austria with the eighteen Rotary students from Croatia as well as the one hundred (more or less) Rotary students from Austria (the hostel was a mad house for anybody staying that wasn't one of us.) I was also hosted by two different families in Germany with Alexyz (other exchange student from 6980) for 2 weeks over new years. She showed me the ins and outs of Berlin. It was one of the most amazing cities I've ever experienced. I also visited Venice with my friends host family just a couple of weeks ago. It was during their famous Carnevale so you could only imagine how crowded it was. It was beautiful.

Being an exchange student hasn't only taught me to adapt, but it has taught me independence and responsibility. You're not a kid anymore. You have a host family, but you're basically your own parent. You learn so much about yourself in the first month or so when you don't have a lot of friends, you're not too close with the family, and you're not familiar with the environment around you. It's a very big step from growing up in the same city where you walk into the grocery store and see your bests friend's mom, your cousin, and your great aunt Susie all in the same visit. It's tough at first. You feel like theres nobody there for you. You resort back to skyping with your friends in other countries knowing they're going through the same thing. But you get through it. You meet other exchange students, become close with your family, and make some of the best friends you never thought you would.

I wouldn't trade the experience I was given for the world. It's something not everyone gets to experience and I'd like to thank Rotary for making it happen. I can't wait to see what the next few months hold!