Rotary Outbound Exchange Student
Katie Pellegrino
November 2015
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On November 2, 2015  Katherine Pellegrino  wrote:
This month has been really crazy! I've had a lot of fun family events during the weekends and during the week I've been very busy with school activities and exploring Brussels. But now it's the Autumn holidays so I have a week of break and it's been fantastic (I wish the US schools had these nice weeklong breaks every few months). I got back yesterday from a three day trip to Paris (organized by Rotary/Rotex) which was absolutely amazing! Even though it was only three days, I have already fallen in love with the city and I sincerely plan to return someday. It was so fun to go with all of the other exchange students and really spend time getting to know them. There's just such a cool and unexplainable atmosphere in a group of exchange students and it was the best weekend ever!
Earlier in the month, I spent a weekend at a family wedding and the following weekend I spent in a castle for a family reunion. I really like meeting the extended family of my host family and it was really neat to see a Belgian wedding. Everyone is all so helpful and kind to me. My host family only speaks French with me, but these extended weekends that are absolutely all in French have been extraordinarily helpful in my learning the language. I now feel rather confident in my ability to speak French (although it was interesting when we went to Paris because the French/Parisian accent is so strong that I had a lot of difficulty understanding the tour guides). At the very least, the shop owners have generally stopped switching to English on me. But I still can't wait until I hit the point of fluency and I keep trying to develop my accent.
School is going well. I started playing volleyball on Tuesdays during lunch with some friends and it's been really fun! I've never really played volleyball before, but it turns out it's a pretty cool sport. I hope to start doing basketball on Thursdays soon too. It's really nice because the sports take place during part of the lunch time so it doesn't take any time after school. I had to make my first short speech in front of my classmates a few weeks ago in French class. It was a short, impromptu, summary of a novel I'd read and it went fairly well considering the number of added gestures and acting I had to do to fully get my point across. :)
I just love exploring all that Belgium has to offer! Today a friend and I took a day trip to Bruges and the city was so beautiful! It was my first time to really visit a city in Flanders, and the style is so different than anything you'd find in southern Belgium. It was the perfect day (no rain, thank you Belgium) and the streets and everything were so amazing. And then on Thursday I leave on a Rotex trip to London to finish off the Holidays!
Et voila! Mon petit l'histoire d'octobre!
Again, thank you so much for making this all possible for me! I still can't believe that I am living in Europe! Just a year ago I hadn't even thought exchange was a possibility, or even traveling abroad for that matter. But here I am and I can't thank you enough for this amazing opportunity.
Kate Pellegrino