By: 9520 Committee | Friday, 20 March 2015
In 2013 I went to St Gallen, Switzerland. I arrived after approximately 34 hours of travelling without a moment of sleep. The flight was… obviously extremely long but also extremely nerve-wracking, exciting and full of meeting people. From Melbourne to Bangkok, we were around fifty with a woman from Rotary and from Bangkok to Zurich we were around twenty. It was in Bangkok that I met some of my best friends for the year, who included Alex from Cairns.
In Zurich, I realised after five minutes of excitement and freezing cold that the next few months would be hell after arriving from 45 degrees in Australia to -5. I met my first host family and we travelled back to their home, getting by with only a few words of German and English. They sent their son to America and have a daughter who still lives at home. A few days later, I began my language course that Rotary organises for all of the new exchange students in January.
I began at school a few weeks later and quickly made friends with both my Swiss classmates and with other exchange students from all over the world (my best friends were from the USA, Canada, Mexico and Argentina). Throughout the year I travelled all around the country as well as with my other two host families who took me to France, Germany, Italy and Austria. Later in the year I also went to Italy and France on separate trips with Rotary and all of the other exchange students (a lot of fun!).
All in all I had a great year and came away speaking fluent German. I can now visit people all over the world who made my experience even better and I would love to live in Switzerland once again in the (hopefully not too distant) future.