Monday, May 6, 2013

first month, August 2011

Hello everybody,
this is such a pleasure for me to share with all my memories with you all. Polish people can read everything from first impression, because I started writting this blog almost 2 years ago but now I would like to introduce everything without fresh emotions. From the beginning I underline that everything what I will write here is mine, my expressions, emotions, feelings. I do not judge Colombia, nor Poland. I dont want anybody to feel uncomfortable, if any of my impressions will be different.

Starting with the basic question. WHY COLOMBIA? well, honestly it wasnt my first choice. I always wanted to go to USA, spend one year of american dream, speak english fluency as my mother tongue and become a cheerleader. But.. as life is going on, everybody knows that sometimes you get something totally different than you suspected. and I am the person, who became the happiest one, just because ... knowing Shakira? sounds funny, but I guess that is the answer... BECAUSE SHAKIRA COMES FROM COLOMBIA. but I am explaining what exactly was going on. When I found out that Rotary 2230 didnt accept me to USA then I started to panic. It was my dream, which never will come true. Suddenly, I got another 5 offers :) Germany, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Indonesia. And what is worth to add, I had only 2 hours to make up my mind where I want to spend my year abroad. Shakira was on the top, with her song " rabiosa" ... I thought, WHY NOT COLOMBIA, I WILL MEET SHAKIRA. !!!!
and I went there, spent the most beautiful year of my life. People, which I've met are not only friends, but some of them became my family. I can even say that they helped me to grow up, somehow.

SO I GOT THERE !!!!! to Colombia. The country which is surrounded by rumors about drugs.  Before landing, when the plane was above the city I thought " you have one year  for having fun, know the culture and to make friendship forever" that was the only one what I was thinking about from the first step in Cucuta- Norte de Santander. It was like 50 people around me. 49 non english speaker, the only one person, Mardi from Namibia could talk with me. ( did i mention that i went to Colombia without knowing a word in spanish???? ) I met my first host family, I call them now grandmother and grandfather.
NOTE:  First family are always the most important. why? because they will say everybody who you are. its very important to understand, that exchange year ( lets say in South America) its not partying year. if you wanna party, then make a gap year and go to Ibiza. Exchange Year, its time in your life for grow up and after one year know what you want to achieve, its important to understand familiar values and to know who you really are.

first moments with my host family were really hard. I was homesick, as crazy. Almost nobody could speak english, during my period in school i was praying for having english and at least talk with teacher. it was really hard. going to LEDC, without knowing a language, without anyone. but who can do it better than you will do ???? thats my motto after my year there.

by the end of august another 10 exchange students came to Cucuta, so I didnt feel alone, but it didnt change the fact that i could come back home. I was closed home almost all the time, of course now i understand why my host parents didnt allow me to go out, but by that time i didnt. everything was about security, NATALIA IT IS NOT SAVE. i heard that thousand times. lets say, i spend almost one month on facebook/skype. and then came september, and my first trip to the capital of Colombia- BOGOTA. I will tell you everything about September in my next post. :)

What is important for you to know its something about ROTARY.
Rotary International is an organization of service clubs known as Rotary Clubslocated all over the world. It is a secular organization open to all persons regardless of race, color, creed or political preference. There are more than 32,000 clubs and over 1.2 million members world-wide. The members of Rotary Clubs are known as Rotarians. The stated purpose of the organization is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Members usually meet weekly for breakfast, lunch or dinner, which is a social event as well as an opportunity to organize work on their service goals.

Rotary's best-known motto is "Service above Self", and its secondary motto is "They profit most who serve best."

The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

1. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
2. High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
3. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life;
4. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

This objective is further set against the "Rotarian four-way test", used to see if a planned action is compatible with the Rotarian spirit. The test was developed by Rotarian and entrepreneur Herbert J. Taylor during the Great Depression as a set of guidelines for restoring faltering businesses and was adopted as the standard of ethics by Rotary in 1942. It is still seen as a standard for ethics in business management:

* Is it the truth?
* Is it fair to all concerned?
* Will it build good will and better friendships?
* Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

The programs of Rotary are so diverse as to all but defy categorization.

In addition, there are the programs of The Rotary Foundation, which include educational, humanitarian and fellowship and vocational exchanges.

Some of Rotary's most visible programs include Rotary Youth Exchange, a student exchange program for students in secondary education, and the Rotary Foundation's oldest program, Ambassadorial Scholarships. 

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