Let us start with the basics:
My name is Melissa Danielle, but everyone just calls me Danni. I am sixteen years old and have spent my entire life living in Colorado. On December 23rd, 2010, I found out I was accepted into the Rotary Youth Exchange Program to spend my junior year abroad in Sweden.
I don't really know how I decided I was going to do a foreign exchange, but my parents claim I have been talking about it ever since I was three years old. So, when high school rolled around, I started doing research into various exchange programs. I finally decided on Rotary because my parents and I liked the sort of family that comes with Rotary, the constant support and the low cost. I sent in my application in the beginning of October and my local interview was a month later. I was accepted locally a week after, then the district interviews were at the beginning of December. There were 42 candidates from all around Southern Colorado, competing for the 28 open spots, which was the most my district had ever seen. By the second day of the three day long selection process, there were only 34 of us left, which goes to show just how stressful it was.
Three weeks after the district interviews, we got our letters in the mail. These letters were all the 34 of us who applied could think about for those long weeks. The day during my school's winter break when I saw on Facebook that people were starting to get their letters, was the most exciting and most terrifying day of my life so far. Even though I knew the mail would get there until around 5 O'clock, I walked up to the mailboxes at the front of my neighbourhood at 2:00, in a snowstorm, and sat there waiting for 3 and a half hours (the mail was late that day). When that letter was finally put into my box, I grabbed it and ripped it open. My hands were shaking so hard when I tried to pull it out of the envelope, that I almost dropped it, but I got a quick glimpse at the letters spelling out: CONGRATULATIONS! I was so excited about being accepted that almost forgot to keep reading the letter to see where I was going, and my mom says that I started making strange squealing noise, but I don't remember if I did or not. Finally when my hands steadied enough I lifted the flap of paper and read: SWEDEN!
|District 5470 2011-2012 Outbounders|
People often ask me 'Why did you pick Sweden?' and in all honesty, I didn't. In my district, Rotary basically chooses your country for you. We told them our top three choices, which they took into consideration, but essentially it was their decision. My top choices were Germany, Austria and Denmark, but I am so glad I was picked for Sweden. The more research I have done, the more I realize that I am truly Swedish at heart, and there is no way they could have picked a better country for me (Well, at least from what I have read, I haven't actually been to Sweden yet XD).