Memorable year coming to an end

Danielle Clarke was a Crowe work experience student at the Times last year and is currently in Germany as a Rotary Exchange student.

Eleven months down with one to go.

Where has all the time gone? I guess it is true what they say, time really does fly when you’re having fun.

As for me, this year has proven to be so much more than just fun.

Throughout my exchange I have learned a new language, discovered a different culture, met so many amazing people, travelled, and above all learned more about myself and the world around me.

Thinking back to the beginning of my exchange or even when I first applied, I remember simply thinking, “…an exchange year, a chance to learn a new language and culture”; however, looking back on that statement now, I realize that it doesn’t even come close to describing what an exchange year truly is.

Early on the language is of course important and with time you begin to understand the cultural aspects as well.

However, after becoming more familiar with the language and culture those barriers tend to go away leaving room for lifelong friendships, experiences, as well as perspectives to be made.

This year for me did just that. Together with the exchange students from my district in Germany as well as my classmates, I have created bonds that will last a lifetime with ties all around the globe.

For me and many of the other exchange students it was after our Eurotour where we began to realize that our exchange year truly was coming an end.

Eurotour is a three week trip planned by Rotary for the exchange students from one district to travel through seven countries in Europe visiting their major cities.

Our tour began in Hamburg and then into Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Venice, Pisa, Florence, Verona, Geneva, Paris, Brussels, and from there back to Hamburg.

It was an experience that I will never forget and one that I still cannot describe very well with words.

All I can say is that our district here in Germany really became a family and now that the much anticipated ‘highlight’ is over, we’re meeting almost every day at the airport in Hamburg to say goodbye.

Personally as my year comes to an end I feel much like I did before coming on exchange.

On the one side I am sad to leave what has now become something of a second home to me behind; but, I am also looking forward to seeing the familiar smiling faces of my friends and family back in Canada.

In my opinion and experience, the Rotary Youth Exchange program doesn’t just send students abroad to learn a new language and culture, it sends students abroad for the international bonds that it creates as well as a new and global perspective.

For that reason and many others I would like to thank Rotary Club Trail for their support.

This year has changed my life and is something that I will never forget.

Danielle Clarke was a J.L. Crowe Secondary work experience student at the Trail Times last year and is currently in Germany as a Rotary Exchange student.