Rotary Outbound Exchange Student
Katie Pellegrino
Report from Belgium
September 20215
On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 7:33 PM, Katherine Pellegrino  wrote:

I know it's only been a week, but I wanted to send a quick report back just so I can get on schedule to send one on, or around, the first of the month.

Belgium is absolutely amazing! I arrived last Tuesday and immediately after landing was whisked off to my first Rotary meeting. I stayed at the house of Hubert (the RYE organizer in my club) until Friday, because that was when my family could take me, which gave me time to explore a little of central Brussels (where Hubert lives).

On Friday I went to my first host family's house, which is in a suburb of Brussels, which is a very very big house! Everything is so modern and cool (they even have this robotic lawn mower that just rolls around the yard and cuts the grass of its own accord, which really freaked me out the first time I saw it...). My family lives right by a tram station which makes transport to Brussels and elsewhere so easy! I love it!

Over the weekend I went to the sea with my family because they have an apartment there. It was really cool and another exchange student from Australia came with us so it was great to meet her also. The sea was absolutely beautiful and my host mom's brother took us out on his sail boat!!

These past few days I've finally been able to settle in to the neighborhood. My host sister has taken me out a few times to see the town and today we went out to her university (which is about a 20min train ride south of Brussels). I've tried the chocolate (and loved the chocolate) and the waffles (and I loved the waffles too) along with some cool fish dishes that are a specialty of Belgium.

We had our first rotary activity last Wednesday and it was a tour of the Royal Palace and of the Federal Parliament and Grand Place. My first orientation is this weekend and my first day of school is Thursday. This morning, though, I went in with my mom (who is the teacher of the
 youngest children at my school; they started today) to help with the first day of school. So I got to see a bit of my school and it's so much bigger than mine in Cleveland!

My French is already so much better than when I arrived just last week. I had enough of a base in French that I could actually understand a lot of conversation right from when I got off the plane (which really surprised me). My family can only speak French which has also helped me so much! Some of the common phrases and word compilations are starting to come naturally to me. But there's so much to learn!! Since my mom's a teacher, she has been very helpful in teaching me new words. Also, there are a lot of children's books here that so I can practice reading as well.

So that's that I suppose! It's been a great first week and there's a lot planned for the future that I can't wait to do and try!

Au revoir!