Tour, travel with family ends Noah's year
by Noah Lovgren, Switzerland, PPRC outbound, 2016-17
Hi, all Rotarians, I hope Portland is treating you well 😀
I've got very little time left, but in the past few months I've been busier than ever. I got to go to the southern tip of Italy with my current host family, went to Stuttgart, Germany, with my class, and got to go to Northern Germany with my basketball team for a tournament (see picture, Noah is front, far left). What lies ahead?
On Saturday I've got the long-awaited Euro Tour with the other Rotary exchange students from Switzerland. I'm extremely hyped. We're going to 11 cities in 11 countries, namely: Zurich, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest, Postonja and Venice.
On July 10, when we arrive in Zurich and are done, my parents and brother, Martha, Mark, and Henry, are coming to Switzerland. Then we're going to travel two weeks in Switzerland and try to see as much as possible-I mean the country's not that big, is it?
I'll be arriving home at 11:44 PM on July 24, which is a Monday. You're welcome to greet me at the airport if you want. I don't think I'll be fit enough to come to the Rotary meeting the next day, so we'd have to see each other the week after.
I'll see y'all soon and am excited to share my year with you!
Reflections on a year overseas
by Rebecca Zich, India, PPRC outbound, 2016-17
Hello, everyone! This might be a little late but I need to give a huge thank you to everyone who helped contribute to my amazing year in India. This time I spent away from home I found a new one. I found family and friends who truly care for me. I lived with five different families who each taught me so many different things. I learned some very important life lessons and important aspects of Indian culture. So for the Jaykhedkar, Satpute, Dinani, Gandhi, and Daga families, I cannot thank you enough for opening up your homes to me and making me feel like a part of your family. I miss you all a lot!
For all my friends from wisdom high and the other hobby classes I took, I really can't thank you enough for welcoming me so perfectly! Even if you just talked to me once, asked me how my day was, or said good morning you may not have realized how much that helped me in my first few months in India when I was feeling lonely. I'll miss messing around and having fun in class and all the after school meets. Seriously, all my Indian friends are so perfect and I love and miss you all so much!
For all the beautiful and amazing exchange students who I went on the tours with and my exchange family in Nasik, thank you for teaching me some rad things about all your cultures and just being awesome. Exchange students are really the coolest people in the world and I was so lucky to travel around India with you guys. I now know I have many homes all over the world with my international friends.❤️
Finally other than people I met in India, I'll miss the country itself. People don't realize how amazing, beautiful and diverse India is. I was lucky to be able to travel around the whole country and see it for myself. When I landed back in USA, I immediately saw the differences and I missed India dearly. I miss the constant sound, the traffic, the abundance of people out and about outside, the cows and dogs in the street, the delicious street food, and more. I just miss it so much. I feel the streets are so empty here and I miss the strong Indian sun. Not to mention the food, the food is so bland here, I would kill for my host moms' cooking right now! Anyway, what more can I say? This year was perfect and I want everyone who helped make it perfect to know!
Kristina, Pali reminisce, share gratitude for exchange
Farewells to Rotarians were genuinely and gratefully shared June 20 by our inbound youth exchange students—Kristina. from Slovakia, and Pali, Chile. They came to the breakfast meeting (their last before going home) dressed in their Rotary blazers and laden with pins, buttons and Rotary-related memorabilia.
“You made a dream come true,” Kristina (blue blazer) told the club. “…I’m so grateful for my exchange.” She cited her host families, fellow inbound exchangers and friends for making the ten months in Portland so memorable. Kristina believes she’s more independent, stepped out of her comfort zone and can more easily talk to strangers. “This made me realize I can do so much more than I ever thought I could do.” Her year involved considerable USA travel—including, with Pali, attendance at the international Rotary convention in Atlanta earlier this month. “I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me.”
Pali, right, came to Oregon from northern Chile and was the first exchanger sent by an all-women Rotary Club which includes her mother. Early months here were difficult, she admitted, especially with limited English and being so far from family. “The world is bigger than I imagined,” she said, and cited friends from Mexico to Japan through y.e. And her best friend during her exchange year: Kristina. “I didn’t know where Slovakia was…today I know someone from there is my friend…she’s more than a friend, she’s my sister.” The countless memorable experiences will go back to Chile with her, Pale said, adding: “What you gave me doesn’t have a price. You will be in my memory forever.”