Rotary Outbound Exchange Student
Last Report from Brussels
Katie Pellegrino
July 1, 2016
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On July 1, 2016 Katherine Pellegrino  wrote:
Actually...not the Alps.




This marks the official end of the beginning. I have reached the end of my final full month in Belgium. I can't believe I've already reached this point, that each person and place that I see could be for the last time. 


This month I was able to do quite a bit of traveling. I took a day trip to Luxembourg with some friends which was a nice way to say goodbye to some of them. Then I had the opportunity to join the final trip organized by the Rotary which was a week in Prague and South Bohemia. It was a great final trip! In Prague, along with the two small towns we visited in South Bohemia, there is so much color everywhere! There is not a single dreary area, even in the countryside which was in full bloom with wildflowers. It was so beautiful and, moreover, it was a nice way to say goodbye to all of my exchange student friends. I am one of the last to be leaving Belgium and most everyone else has either already left or will leave this week. The Prague trip is really the last time we will all be together in such a big group and it's so hard to imagine that in just a month everyone will be in different areas of the world. 


On a different note, earlier this month I finally took the opportunity to go to a panel talk at NATO. Brussels is a major centre for both the European Union and NATO and I've often visited their areas. The panel was open to guests so I decided to go check it out finally after so many months. It was a talk about Poland and strengthening its borders, so a good portion of the talk was in Polish. It was so cool though because we all received little headsets which transmitted live translations of what was happening into English. It was quite interesting and I was happy to finally sit in on one of the talks and take advantage of one of the key things that Brussels has to offer.


Finals are finally over and I attended my school's graduation (which doesn't involve either caps or gowns). Since everyone leaves on vacation soon, my friends from school threw me a going away party a few weeks ago even though I still have month here. It was really sweet, yet hard to believe that that will probably be the last time I see all of them. It's a lot harder leaving exchange than it is to go on exchange. When I left the states 311 days ago, I knew that I would return to my friends and family in a year. I knew it wasn't truly goodbye. Now, I would like to believe that this is not truly goodbye, but in reality who knows when, or if ever, I will see these people again. The idea is still too surreal for me to fully fathom, however, it's there all the same. All I can do is make the most of these last 19 days, which is exactly what I plan on doing.


So there you have it! I have almost a month of vacation time left in Belgium and I plan to make the most of it!


I suppose my next report will come from the states, so see you then!