Isabella Bossom’s Report – October 2014
Posted By Eddie Villarta
“I cannot believe I have been on exchange for almost 2 months now. The time has gone by so quickly!”
I have now completed my 4 week all-day German course and have just started school at Gymnasium Oberursel. The German course was very helpful for me and made all the difference in helping me learn German! I will still go to a compressed version of this course after school on Mondays and Wednesdays for a few hours. This is to ensure that we continue to improve. I am now proud to say I can have conversations in German without too many mistakes and can understand more complicated topics. I think having the opportunity to attend an additional language course, such as this one, is a gift and I am very grateful for how it has helped me improve.
Last week, I started school at the local academic high school. Here I am in a grade 10 level and attend different classes, every day with different classmates. My first day was very good, better than what I expected. I was able to follow most of what was being said in class and met a lot of new people. My fellow classmates were very accepting and welcoming of me. Many of them have gone abroad with Rotary or other organizations and therefore understand any insecurities I would be having my first few days. In the week in a half I have been going to school with these classmates I have already gone out with friends after school. I am very pleased with my school and happy with my new friends.
I attended my first Rotary club meeting last week. The meetings are held weekly on Tuesday evening in a hotel. The club has around 30 members. They were very kind to me and I had to say a little about myself to them in German. This meeting was unlike regular meetings though, because a rebound was presenting his year abroad. The youth exchange program is a very important program to my club, as they are currently hosting not only me but another exchange student, Ani from Argentina since January. At the end of the evening the club made plans to visit a famous art gallery in Frankfurt called “LeibigHaus” which features a sculpture collection. This was a very nice event for the Rotary club to have planned and I really enjoyed it. The exhibitions were very cool and later we had a workshop where we got to sculpt our very own masterpieces!
Socially, I have been keeping very busy. I have been invited to so many events and it is really nice to know that I have good friends here. I have gone to birthday parties, shopping, swimming, Zumba classes, sightseeing, hiking, bike riding and out for lunch with Germans and inbounds. I have also been in contact
with my host sister and host brothers friends and have gone to a party and bowling with them. Having contact with so many people from different walks of life here in Oberursel is essential, I think, to getting the most out of the exchange.
A highlight of this past month was biking all the way into Frankfurt from my house! We biked 40 km! I got to go up to the Main tower, the highest observatory tower in Frankfurt, which is 54 floors high!
I also got to go hiking to the nearby mountain called the Feldberg. In Europe there is a fall vacation from October 17 until November 3rd. So I will join school related clubs after this break. I am excited because I will be joining a choir and the interact club. Outside of school I have been going to weekly Zumba classes in which I can stay fit and have fun dancing. It is also a great opportunity to meet more people outside of the Rotary and school.
The first week of the fall break I was in Austria. My host mom (Andrea) grew up in Austria in a town called Niedernsill which is close to the very touristic ski mountain Kitzbuhel. My host brother could unfortunately not get the week off work so instead, Mariana, an exchange student living in Oberursel from Mexico came with us. The drive to this town Niedernsill takes 6 hours in total although it took longer because we stopped in Munich for 4 hours to have supper and explore the city. Munich, from what I saw of it is very historical and is a busy university city. It was very big and cool to be in such a traditional Bavarian city. In Austria, I got to meet Andrea’s parents and stay in the house where she grew up. Her parents were very sweet although our communication was difficult because of the dialect the Austrians speak. In the end we could understand each other on a basic level.
Wow, Niedernsill was stunning. The mountains were incredible unlike any mountains I have ever seen. Andrea and Oliver took us on a tour of the surrounding areas and the view was breathtaking from every angle! One day, we even went for a hike at the top of the mountains at 2750 meters above sea-level. We then hiked all the way from the top down which took about 5 and a half hours. It was definitely worth it though!
Another day we drove to Bozen, a city in northern Italy, and explored the town. Then of course had pizza! Overall, the trip was very enjoyable and I learned a lot about Austria. I can’t wait to go back there for Christmas and skiing in December!
October was a good month for me here because I have finally begun to settle into a routine. I am in school, making friends and getting a good grasp of the language. I can’t wait to see what November has in store!