Hello to my Coral Gables Rotarians!
There's no combination of words that can describe the past 6 months in Sweden, but I'll try.
I am so mind blown by the amount of knowledge you can instill in your brain in six months. Now, I'm not perfectly fluent in Swedish but I can understand about 89.9% of the conversations going on, and I feel like I can literally do anything. Being here for just six months has changed my whole perspective on life. I thought that I knew everything I wanted to do regarding college and things to do when I come home from exchange, but now I just feel like the complete opposite of everything I was for. You never really know yourself and what you want in life if you don't go out into the world and truly see if your opinions and plans can be altered or influenced, because mine sure are!
Being here for 6 months has changed my whole life, and it's halfway done. I have had the best host family that anyone could ever ask for. I truly believe I am part of the family and I know I will have this relationship with them for a lifetime. My friends here in Sweden have now opened up to not only my fellow Stockholm exchange students but my Swedish friends at school. They are about the best group of people I have ever met and they're so helpful with school and the language that I can count on them for anything.
Furthermore, I have come to consider Stockholm as my home city and I never want to leave. I thought I understood it, but I didn't I only understood the idea of it, how this one single year could change my whole life and it's something that I will hold with me forever and I can't thank Rotary enough for making this possible. I love everything about my host country and my city. You walk down the streets and you just feel like it' not real, like it' a movie. Being here IS surreal. I've come to love the city of Stockholm so much that I defend it against all the other cities with a rivalry against it. Stockholm is considered the Capital of Scandinavia and I couldn't agree more. When I think about going home I start to cry knowing I will not have all the things Sweden has to offer back home.
I think my turning point here was when our "oldies" from Australia left and we got a new batch of Aussie's and I've got especially close to one and I felt like I've lived in Stockholm all my life when I gave him a tour of the city, knowing it like the back of my hand.
So advice to the to-be exchange students, enjoy every minute of it, never take it for granted and never say no, say yes to everything. Try ANYTHING!
Your grateful 2012-13 Rotary Youth Exchange