你好! My name is Maren Dorne and this upcoming year I will be going on exchange to Taiwan. I am 17 years old and currently a senior at Westerville South High School. I will be taking a gap year before college to go on exchange. I live in Gahanna with my mom, dad, sister, and pets. I love animals, reading, and spending time with my friends. I run cross country and participate in my schools astronomy club. I am excited to be starting a new chapter of my life in Taiwan and look forward to experiencing life there. I look forward to learning Chinese and being enveloped in the different culture. I am extremely grateful to both Rotary International and the Westerville Sunrise Rotary club for giving me this life changing opportunity. I hope to better my knowledge of the world outside of America and can’t wait to begin my exchange!
October 1, 2018
This month has been incredible to say the least. I’ve been able to experience the Taiwanese culture and I have been loving it! Taiwan is a lot different than America (as expected) but I am starting to establish a routine and get adjusted to the change. While here, I’ve been given the opportunity to be both a tourist and part of the family. I’ve gone to many of the hot spots in Taipei, including but not limited to: Taipei 101, Ximen shopping district, ice skating at Taipei Arena, and many more. Along with Taipei, I’ve been able to visit Keelung, Taoyuan, and Yilan (a popular tourist spot for its beautiful beaches and surfing). My host family originally lived in Keelung until this summer when they moved to Taipei in order to be a host family. Much of their family still lives in Keelung so my dad as sister make frequent trips to go visit them. Many of the families here are very close and it reminds me of my own. Along with this I have been in school for around a month now and I am building up friendships with my classmates. They are all very kind to me and excited that I am here. They have helped me adjust and make me feel at home here. With them I have visited night markets, gone ice skating, and had fun like any other teenager here. My family is very helpful and supportive of me. They help me study Chinese and treat me like real family. I am very thankful that I am being hosted by them. I’ve also met other exchange students here and have bonded quickly with them. It’s really interesting to hear about where they live and many of them know so many languages it’s crazy! I’ve especially gotten close to Iida, a Finnish girl from my club here, and Marie, a French girl who goes to my same school. Being in such a big city like Taipei gives us a lot of opportunity to explore different places and truly become immersed in the native culture here. Seeing how people interact with others and the world around them here and how it is different than Ohio has been an eye opening experience that I am really grateful for. I want to thank my Sponsor Rotary club again for giving me this wonderful opportunity to grow as a person. So thank you Westerville Sunrise club from district 6690, I wouldn’t be here without you!