I am Hannah Sidonie Schwarzmann and I am a Rotary Youth Exchange student in District 9920 in Auckland 2017/18. I was hosted by the Rotary Club of Downtown Auckland.

During my Exchange I lived with several host families and went to St Cuthberts College in Epsom. 

I arrived in New Zealand on the 30th of July 2017. 

My first month I lived in Mission Bay. I had the most wonderful time there and luckily I didn’t suffer from any jetlag. I dived straight into my busy kiwi life with Rotary meetings, school, especially my school ball, and hiking in the Waitakeres. I was really lucky in school that I made friends very quickly. I settled into St Cuthberts seamlessly and enjoyed the subjects I took. 
Auckland, as well as St Cuthberts, seemed massive to me. I am from a village in Austria with only 1060 people. So Newmarket, the Sky Tower, all the parks and the little villages within the city were just like a massive maze to me.  But I figured out how to use Auckland transport and find my way around. I even made some friends in school just from asking for the way.

  As I moved to Herne Bay and later to Parnell I started loving life in a busy city more and more. I enjoyed the many events that were going on, having shops available and just going to the cinema whenever I wanted. I should have counted the amount of money I spent on brunches and ice coffee as I completely fell in love with the cafes. 
Rotary took all of us students on a few big trips that were absolutely amazing. We went on the South Island trip, which was a two week trip, Tongariro Crossing, Challenge Camp and a lot of other weekend trips to Motuihe Island or Dargaville. Besides that my host family took me to many places as well. My absolute favourite places were Russell, Wellington, Dunedin and Nelson. 

 A few highlights of my year were also my trip with Rotarians like my weekend in Otago with Gill and Christine, my weekend on Waiheke with Lucy, Rotorua with Andy and Lee, Rugby with James, Queenstown with Greg and Penny, horse riding with Kat and many many more. 
The relationships I built with my families, friends and especially with my Rotary Club are really special and important to me. It shows me that I managed to build up a life within a year and I had to put the effort in myself. 




Several times during my exchange I was overwhelmed with the generosity and kindness of the Rotarians, host families and in general the people surrounding me. I learned lessons for life and gained, not only a lot of weight but also a lot of confidence and energy. I learnt how to be thankful and how much spending time with someone can mean to me. 
I want to thank every single person who was a part of my exchange and making my year here in New Zealand the most amazing year in my life. It has changed my future and my view on things. It made me interested in the world around me and I got to a whole new level of understanding and acceptance for people and cultures. 
I hope I can come back to New Zealand very soon. And I will definitely keep in touch with all the amazing people I have met. 

I am very sad to leave but I am excited to create my future and walk forward in life! I am willing to work hard in order to achieve my goals and make my big dreams become reality.