Welcome to my blog. Before things get underway I’d like to introduce myself and explain why I’ve created this site.
I’m 17, and live in the city of Canberra, Australia.
In January 2018 I’ll be heading to the Netherlands for 12 months, on a Rotary Youth Exchange.
This blog should serve as a way to document and share my experiences in the coming year, and its title is a play on the name of the region in Europe the Netherlands is located in, the ‘Low Countries’.
I’m being hosted by the Rotary Club of Zaltbommel, in the central Netherlands; and I’ll be living in the village of Rossum, just outside of the town, where I’ll be living with three host families.
I now have less than a month left until my departure and I find myself contemplating how I got to this point, with so much having already occurred without me having left the country. My father and sister have both embarked on Rotary Youth Exchanges in the past, with my father travelling to Finland in 1989, and my sister to Germany in 2014.
When my Dad first asked me whether a Rotary Youth Exchange was something I was interested in doing for myself I gave a firm ‘no’ without much thought. Yet, earlier this year, when my local Rotary Club was looking for a potential candidate, something lead me to pursue it further. I deliberated for months, and eventually decided it truly was something I was interested in undertaking.
And now, after a mountain of paperwork and a series of interviews, I have become the Rotary Club of Tuggeranong’s Sponsored outbound Rotary Youth Exchange student.
The months since have been a turbulent mix of maintaining a focus on my life here and preparing for the coming year. I’ve been taking language lessons in Dutch the past few months, and have attended two Rotary Youth Exchange briefing weekends. While the idea that I’m leaving so soon still doesn’t quite feel real, I’m often overwhelmed with feelings of anticipation and excitement.
I depart on the 13th of January, and sincerely hope this blog allows you to come along on the adventure with me.