Notes from Abroad by Tabatha Pilon in Denmark – On the Move Again – November 21, 2011

CFN – One of the things that being in foster care has prepared me for is change. I’m accustomed to it, and know it like the back of my hand. This is one of those things that come in really handy in when you’re an exchange student, because as everyone knows, change is inevitable.
Not only is being in another country a part of your change, but with Rotary, changing families at least three times is one of the things you have agreed upon.
Within changing families, it allows you to gain a different perspective on the life in your host country, that you do not necessarily receive through other programs such as AFS or YFU.
Just this past weekend, I have begun a new chapter in my exchange with the move to my second out of third family. It has made me realize not only how awesome my first family is, but also that I now have a constant thought buzzing through my head: time is flying by! (no pun intended)
This is, once again, a good thing that comes out of changing family’s because it puts into perspective that one third of your exchange year is over. Gone. Kaput. Never again to be re-lived. And it allows you to question yourself, am I making the most out of my exchange? What am I doing that needs to be changed?   This change has allowed me to see how it is exactly that I spend my time, and everything that I would like to change, starting now.   I want to get serious with learning the language, and actually understand what someone says to me.I want to go out with friends more often: make plans during the week more (albeit, this one is hard to accomplish since every one seems to be busy with school work whereas I…don’t even know what they’re working on, or where they get this information.)    I want to do something in class, besides just sitting there and being on the internet. I want to learn something in my classes, since this is the only year that I will have access to some of these classes.

I want my exchange year to be the best year of my life, so I need to prioritize my decisions and make the most out of every second of every day.  Now that I have changed families, I find that my Danish skills are slightly improving since in my last family we never found the right method to include Danish into everyday conversations, but in my new family, when we go out, they will point things out to me and have me try to figure out what they’re called or they will speak to me in Danish, and I try to figure out what they say by asking them to speak slower, repeating what they said back to them in English and asking what certain words mean.
Also, I have begun to speak Danish back to them, slowly but surely and I have been corrected in places that need correcting, et cetera.   Different perspectives are definitely an amazing thing to gain on your exchange, and choosing Rotary was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Also, my new family’s door bell is an added bonus to what I have gained in my move.
Tabatha Pilon is a 17 year old student from Cornwall Ontario spending a year in Denmark.   She will be writing to us  each week or as her “gymnasium” schedule allows.  If you have questions for her or would like to sponsor her column email us at

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