Rotary Club of Warracknabeal’s exchange student, Laura Daniel has less than two months before she returns home after a year in Germany.
Laura is a participant in one of Rotary’s signature youth programs, which involves young people from around the world spending time in another country, living with families for 12 months and experiencing different cultures as catalysts for world peace and understanding.
Letters from Laura
I’ve had a hectic couple of months. I hope everyone is well and you have all made it out of winter all well and good. I hope the football season did well in everyone’s leagues, I haven’t had much of a chance to follow it.
So I’ll start with the summer holidays which were all of July and a little bit of August. I, with my third host drove six hours to Northern Germany to spend a week on the North Sea in their family cabin.
A beach holiday in Germany is a little different than home, as it was cold and even raining some days and we were always rugged up. We spent a lot of time just relaxing and breathing in the sea air. We also explored some of the cities in the far north of Germany, which vary greatly to the cities in the south where I live.
These cities have a little Russian and even Scandinavian influence to them and it was really interesting.
We then travelled to Sweden, there aren’t very many sand beaches but rather smooth rocks that are very warm in the sun. The only way I could describe the sea is like a massive rockpool with many tiny islands inside. The water was so clear but as cold as anything and there was no real bank, it dropped off from rock to three metre deep water.
We visited some of these little islands, which had their own little towns and were absolutely stunning. During my two weeks in Sweden I got to get a real glimpse of the Scandinavian side of Europe, a side I wish to explore more of in the future.
During the last weeks of summer, I spent most of my time with my host brother Jannik as he was heading off on his own exchange in New Zealand, and Fiona another very close friend who’s currently on exchange in Kansas City, USA.
On returning to school, I started in the next year level. It’s the eleventh class, which is the German version of VCE. School sometimes goes until 5pm but I have a special program with easy subjects - English, Art, Sport, Maths, Ethics, Spanish, German and Chemistry. I am loving school right now and have some really good friends in the school.
After school, I’m either with school friends or meeting with exchange friends. My best friend is a German girl who spent a year in Chile with Rotary and she has been a really amazing friend.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time with both outbound German exchange students and also helping with orientation programs for inbound exchange students from around the world.
I attended a 10 day language camp in a small city called Worms, for new inbound exchange students. The city is quite famous for it’s church, in which Martin Luther spoke, and there is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe in the middle of the city. It also has some cute cafes and shops in the centre.
We had three hours of language classes then we would go into the city for free time, then after dinner, we’d have a group night activity.
We had plenty of time to muck around with each other. Some of the moments on the camp were some of the best of my exchange and already I feel as close or even closer with my newbies than my oldies.
They are an amazing group of people who I love so much and I know my last few months will be the best with them. I have already made plenty of memories, and have many stories to share about our language camp that probably taught more Spanish than German.
We have another Orientation in November and two tours in December and I cannot wait.
I wish everyone the best and I will write again soon.