Posted by Chantelle Meriam on Aug 29, 2017
The Rotary Club of Summerland was fortunate to have Rebound Exchange Student, Michaella Haidenger, join us for a breakfast back on Tuesday, August 8th, before she headed off on her travels to Cambodia. Below is a letter Michaella wrote to the Club:
Hello Summerland Rotary Team,
If we have yet to meet I would like to say hello, and I am looking forward to meeting you in the future and I would like to introduce myself for a millionth time to the club. My name is Michaella Haidenger (mi-shay-la), I am a twenty-two year old student and self titled world explorer. I grew up in  little old Summerland and I have somehow become an honorary Rotarian, which is a title I hold close to my heart. I got involved with the Summerland club through their sponsorship of the blossom pageant where, for my grade 11 year, I was proudly Miss Rotary. With a whole support group of Rotarians behind me. We were lucky enough to hold the district meeting that year as Gary was our outstanding district governor. Which led me to youth exchange after listening to the inbounds stories. I was privileged to be chosen as our outbound student of 2013/2014, where I spent that time in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Which I would love to answer any questions about.
For this coming year I will be a busy bee. As I write this I am sitting on my plane headed back to Taiwan to celebrate my host grandfathers life as he past away this past march. Him and I grew very close my time in his family. It is an experience I am excited to be apart of. I am tired from jet leg preparation but excited to finally be returning to my other home after so long away.
After spending about two weeks back in Taiwan, I will be off again on another adventure. Which is the main reason I am writing this today, to keep you all updated in all the shenanigans I get into.
On August 25th, with some nerves, I will be flying from Taiwan making my way to Cambodia where I will be living for 6 month to a year. This opportunity is amazing and is something that is only possible for me because of my rotary connections. There I will be meeting up with a former classmate from my exchange year and my previous Chinese teacher with many projects to take on. I will be searching for the perfect job fit as a English/Mandarin teacher for grade 2 and lower to support myself as local there. In addition we are planning on helping my teacher at her orphanage and rescue house for abandoned children and children and others coming out of the spiraling sex trade. If, I do not stay the whole year, after some assessment, I may decide to head down to Pizota in Mexico. Which is a small village in between many bays off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, where my father and his soon to be wife have built a house and together we have built a non-profit organization. This focuses on helping the kids education before heading off to the city and providing tools for when they return to use that knowledge. This year is about chasing opportunities, helping others and building a better me.
While doing this two of my outbound classmates and myself will be working with district 5060 and Rotary International to build an active Rotex (exchange alumni group) here in our very own district. Focusing on keeping rotary connections, inbound and outbound participations and charitable community and international work. It is something we have been hoping for, for awhile now and I am excited to get it off the ground. If you would like to know more about all the amazing things exchange students are able to do and how district 5060 and Rotary International prepares such strong students, give me a shout!

It is a big year ahead which is very exciting and I hope you all would like to follow the journey from this year and possibly beyond. As the Summerland Rotary club has been family to me for about seven years now and I would love for you to be apart of that. 
I am in the midst of finishing up setting up my website which I invite you to follow. 
I would also like to thank you all for your on going support that you provide me. I cannot describe how fortunate I feel to have such a great support network, and a wonderful group of friends.
See you on the other side,
Michaella Haidenger