The First Rotary Weekend

My rotary district held an exchange student orientation weekend from the 3rd-5th of March in Strauβberg which is only 30kms east of Berlin. The orientation was the one of three with the other the sixty or so exchange students in my district (with one more Orientation in Strauβberg in a few months and the final one in Paris (!!!) towards the end of the year).

We were able to spend a few hours in Berlin before we went to the camp we would stay at and during those hours Harry, Paloma, and I met up with a few more exchange students from the district- some hosted in Berlin and some who travelled by train like us. During those few hours we saw the Reichstag building, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. We all chatted for a while while we ate lunch and then it was back to the train station to go to Strauβberg. We arrived at the camp at 6:00 that night and the newbies (3 of us- one New Zealander, one Aussie from Melbourne, and myself) got to talk to some more of the oldies (about 60 from all around the world who have already been in Germany for 6 months).

One part of the orientation was when we were to present our countries to the other exchange students and a few guests- including a few outbounds from that district who will be leaving soon. Some of the countries went alone such as Brazil who did a dance but most paired up with other countries like the USA with Canada who did a sketch on what American school is like in reality and in then movies. A few of the European countries stood up and fought over what country has the best food (of course that ended in the floor being littered in paper drawn to look like pizza and a few baugettes broken from being hit over the Italians’ heads- also I should tell you that all the Italians in this sketch had chefs hats made from a few pieces of paper stuck together with sticky tape). There was also a lot of food like chocolate from Norway or a Mexican lolly called Mazapan.

It all tasted so good but it felt like there was something missing. Something strong and salty but in just the right amounts. Vegemite. I’m sure everyone was estatic that I had brought some along with me from Australia. Most were a bit wary of it, but a few dug right in with their broken baguette pieces. In the end almost everyone tried some and I know of at least 5 out of the 60 people who said they liked it (it is irrelevant that three of those five are made up by two Australians and a New Zealander). Vegemite really is an internationally loved food.

This orientation was the last of the three for the oldies so the next time we’ll be all together like this again is for the Eurotour at the end of May when we will go with another rotary district around Europe for 20 days! (I’ll tell you more about that trip later).

It was a really awesome weekend and it was so good to be able to get to know more of the enchange students around me. I’ve already started planning to meet up with some of them and I can’t wait until we’re all together again for Eurotour. Less than 5o days to go!

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