meganBoth our inbound and outbound youth exchange students are beginning to realize they only have a short couple of months and then they are homeward bound.  It's a time of mixed feelings - i hope you will enjoy this article from Megan Scofield who is currently in Poland.


megan            At the beginning of March, the Bydgoszcz Rotary had a Rotary Ball fundraiser. The Ball was at a very fancy hotel which was decorated beautifully. The other exchange students and I were asked to perform so we spent a few weeks practicing songs in all of our languages- Polish, English, Portuguese and Spanish. We also learned dance moves and Mackenzie played the piano and Levi the guitar. Our last song was "Hey Jude" and ask we sang the chorus we swayed side to side while holding candles. Everyone loved the performance and even our Rotary counselor- who we thought we would never crack, had tears running down his face by the end. Our picture was also in the local newspaper. I'm really glad that our sponsoring Rotary Club has made sure to involve us in everything.

            Also in March, I traveled to Scotland for a week. It was so strange for me to hear everyone everywhere speaking English and even after 7 days I didn't get used to it… I was still accidentally saying things like "Przepraszam" (sorry) or "dziękuję" (thank you). I had a lot of fun visiting Scottish castles, lakes, and other places. I was also very surprised because after I took a picture with a bagpiper playing on the side of the street, he asked where I was from and when I said Texas he said, "Oh, are you a Texas Aggie?" I actually am going to attend Texas A&M University in the fall so I was so surprised that that was the first thing he asked.

            Towards the end of March, my class took a class trip to Gdańsk, a city about 2 hours from Bydgoszcz. It was really fun spending time with my classmates and visiting very interesting museums about the history of Poland.

            The end of March started the "Europe Tour" for my district of 50 exchange students. We saw soo many places… Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Verona, Rome, Venice, Naples, Pompeii and Avignon just to name a few! Of course I loved seeing the very touristic places that I've seen in movies, and I think my favorite was seeing the wall of "Letters to Juliet" in Juliet's house in Verona, Italy. Another favorite of mine was watching a Flamenco show in Barcelona, Spain. I was a dancer my whole life so I was just captivated the whole time, and it really displayed Spanish culture. We all had so much fun together on this trip and everywhere we drove we would sing Polish songs such as "Będzie Się Działo" and "Tanzyć Dla Mnie." As we left to take trains back to our cities after the trip ended, everyone was crying and hugging.

            For Easter weekend, I went to Poznan with my host family where we stayed at my host-aunt's house. It was really interesting to experience new traditions… on Saturday before Easter, every family in Poland fills an easter basket with eggs, bread, and other things to the church, where it is blessed with holy water. All day, everywhere I looked I could see people walking with their easter baskets. Then, on Easter Sunday, the blessed food is split up and everyone shares it, as well as other food. On Easter Sunday we ate traditional Polish food and went to church. There's also a tradition that on the Monday after Easter, boys throw water at girls. I was woken up in the morning by my 3 year old host-cousin spraying me with a water gun! So funny. I enjoyed hearing stories from my older Polish guy friends about what pranks they would pull on their sisters each year.

            2 representatives from Rotary International chose the Bydgoszcz Rotary Club to be one of the clubs in Europe that they evaluate this year. So, the other exchange students and I had a meeting with a man from the USA and a woman from Sweden who asked us all about our exchange experiences. We talked and talked for over an hour and at the end, we were all getting choked up.

            During the last weekend in April, the "Outbound Camp" for the exchange students leaving Poland for the 2014-2015 year was held in Bydgoszcz. Our counselor was in charge of the camp so we were asked to help. We played many exchange-related games with them and spent a lot of time answering questions. It seemed so strange for us to be in that position, since it seems like just yesterday we were the ones on the other side, asking questions and looking forward to our exchange year.

            Now there is less than 2 months left until I fly back to Texas. I can't believe it!