A Change for the Better

I have returned from Italy, obviously earlier than I had originally planned. There are a few reasons but the main reason is that my emotional health was suffering. I don’t know how to explain it very well but I want to try. Despite the great circumstances (family, school, support, opportunities), I just did not feel right. I became rather anxious and sad most of the time. I tried multiple solutions but ultimately, I thought it best to return home. After making this decision, I am already feeling more calm and happier.

That being said, wow! My experience in Italy was a whirlwind. I don’t know which I’ve learned more about: the people, the culture, the language, or myself. I was and still am grateful for the opportunity and I do not regret it in the least, I am proud of my decision to go to Italy. I think some people will think that my decision to leave is embarrassing but I think it would be more embarrassing to passively stay, feel miserable, and simply go through the motions. I want to be my best self, wherever that may be. Some will look at my exchange as a failed one, I for one, won’t. Luca Marcolin, my counselor, told me about a psychologist who spoke of failure. He said that failure doesn’t exist. If you look at the situation with a different perspective, you can see that you learned something from the situation which in a way is actually success. I went to Italy for many reasons but one was to learn. And boy have I!

One thing I have learned is that I have the biggest support system EVER! From receiving a daily joke to being read Harry Potter on the phone, my friends and family were always there for me. The simple “how are you?” and the occasional “great picture!” really meant a lot to me. My parents and sister have especially been supportive of me. They love me unconditionally, encourage me to keep an open mind and motivate me to be my best self. From talking to me at the weirdest of hours to sending me pictures of my dog, they were always there.

I know that some people will disagree with my decision and some won’t understand it but all I need now is support.



These are pictures from my latest outing to Vicenza. Vicenza was home to one of the most famous Italian architects, Andrea Palladio. He designed and helped construct the theater seen in these pictures used for the 1585 Olympics. He also designed a building now used to house an art collection as many of these other pictures show. Palladio did not live long enough to see is own Olympic theater completely finished. The statues in these pictures decorated the courtyard of the theater and they are statues of people who donated the money for the theater.


Hiking Trip to Auronzo

These are pictures from last week, hiking in Auronzo. Our district inbound orientation was hosted here! We hiked the Dolomites and these pictures did not even capture the vast beauty of it all.DSC00196DSC00194DSC00191DSC00187DSC00180DSC00178DSC00177DSC00176DSC00174DSC00170DSC00129DSC00128DSC00112


I have arrived in Italy! The country is beautiful and the people are so kind and welcoming! I am getting settled in at my new home for the year. On the drive from the airport to my host family’s home, the mountains got closer and closer – it is very different than in Oklahoma.. I live within sight of the Dolomites, which is where I’ll be hiking for the District 2060 inbound orientation meeting. The weather has been warm but with a nice breeze. Here is the view outside of my bedroom window. More pictures to come!

The view from my room!

The Purpose/Lo Scopo

Welcome! My name is Katharine, I live in Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA. This upcoming school year however, I will be living in Italy! I have decided to take a gap year between high school and college in order to take another year of high school in Italy through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. I intend to post pictures, stories, and other updates on here regularly from my travels in Italy.

Benvenuto! Mi chiamo Katharine, io vivo a Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA. Questo prossimo anno scolastico, vivrà in Italia! Ho deciso di prendere un anno sabbatico tra high school e college al fine di prendere un altro anno di scuola superiore in Italia attraverso il programma Rotary Youth Exchange. Ho intenzione di pubblicare le immagini, storie e altri aggiornamenti qui regolarmente dai miei viaggi in Italia.