Hometown: New Albany, Ohio
School: New Albany High School
Sponsor Club: Westerville Sunrise, Ohio
Host District: 1913
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Zagreb Medvedgrad
Dobar dan (Good day)! Zovem se (My name is) Peri Forbes, and I am overjoyed that after a lot of hard work I will be traveling abroad to Croatia for exchange. I am very grateful to my parents and the Rotarians for their help and support as I prepare for my departure. I am from Columbus, Ohio and I am a junior at New Albany High School. I care a whole lot for the environment, so I am a part of my school’s H.O.P.E. (Help Our Planet’s Environment) Club. We help out around the community and a while ago we helped plant a wetland behind the school. I have been playing the cello for 5 years in my school’s orchestra, and I am also run sprints and hurdles on our track team. My hobbies include painting, skiing, reading, and watching movies. I am very passionate about writing and I hope one day to get my stories published into books. During my exchange, I will be writing a story based in Zagreb, Croatia. I had never given exchange a thought until I saw the ad for RYE last year. Since then I made it my personal goal to travel abroad. I understand I will be missing a lot of my life in Ohio, but I know for a fact that if I do not take advantage of this opportunity I will be missing out on a lot more. I am a very ambitious and outgoing person, and I hope Croatia is ready for me. Doviđenja, i poželi mi sreću (Goodbye, and wish me luck)!
October 1 letter: Pozdrav (Greetings) Westerville Sunrise Rotary and New Albany Rotary,
I have been in Croatia for almost two months now, and I know I made the right choice by going on exchange. I know most members may not remember who I am because I was only at two meetings, but I hope these letters will help everyone get to know me better. My host family is one of the warmest families I’ve ever met. I could describe them as the poster child of loving families. There is Emir (my host dad), Vedrana (my host mama), Emina (my host sister), Din (my host brother), Baka (my host grandma), and Miša (my host dog). Emir works for a popular food company called Podravka and is a very bright and bubbly man. He enjoys taking me on trips around Croatia and says he sees more of his country when I’m around. Mama owns multiple kindergartens around Zagreb and recently opened up her own cafe called “The Playground Cafe.” Although she is a very busy woman she always makes time for us. My favorite memory with her so far is when I was resting my head on her stomach and I could hear the funny sounds her stomach makes when she’s digesting. Emina is in university for chemical engineering and four years ago she went on an exchange to France. She is very considerate and I enjoy having someone around who knows what I’m going through. Din is nine years old and is an amazing gymnast. I’ve never met a kid who loves affection so much. He is a very energetic kid and can be described as the beba (baby) of the house. Baka, Baka Seca, or Bakica is a very sweet old lady who loves to stuff me with food. She does her best to communicate with me and every time I go to visit her flat I end up leaving with some kind of food. Lastly, Miša, whose name means mouse, is the best miniature black lab ever. They have her sleep outside and I still don’t understand why, but that’s their choice. She reminds me of my dog, Max, because every time you chase her she thinks you’re playing with her and runs. Just this week I almost missed the bus because she ran out the gate and I had to sprint after her.
I started school on September 7th and I’ve made some great friends. I enjoy going out to coffee with them and they help me with school. I really excited to hang out with them as the holidays start. I also started Croatian classes and they seem to be going great. My Croatian has improved a bit and I know I’ll be able to hold full conversations in 4 to 5 months. I had my first meeting with my host club last week and it went alright. I hope soon they will have us do some kind of volunteer work. I have yet to find an activity to do while I am here, but I will keep searching.
Since I’ve been here I’ve gone on many trips and seen so many cool things. I’ve been all over the Center of Zagreb, Koprivnica for a Renaissance Festival, Varazdin, Plitvice National Lakes, Krapina Caveman Museum, Veliki Tabor Castle, Medulin, Pula, and Cres Island. My favourite trip by far was the to Medulin because the weather was perfect, the beaches are beautiful, and at night I could see thousands of stars. I’ve attached my favourite picture from each trip.
I’ve learned a lot about myself and I feel I’ve also matured a bit. I’m excited for the many more adventures ahead