Abbey McGill

October update:

Today marks the day that I only have 100 days left in Sweden.

During the past 9 months in Sweden I have experienced and met the most amazing people in the world. I have grown as a person and learnt so much. To my exchange family I love you so much with all of my heart and cannot ever imagine my life without you guys in it. You all mean the absolute world to me and I know when I have to say goodbye to you all in 3 months my heart will break and I’m not prepared to do that and I don’t think I will ever be. But one thing i do know for sure is how much I love every single one of you and that I will make sure its not goodbye but only a see you soon.

In these last months of my exchange I will make it my mission to make the most of every second and remind myself how lucky I am to be here and know you all. Thank you to everyone who has given me this opportunity and to my amazing Swedish families the Östmans Jessica Östman and Hanssons Fredrik Hansson Ursula Hansson thank you so much for being there for me through everything and opening your families to me.  I appreciate and love you all so much. Thank you to my amazing parents Honor McGill Pete Mcgill for making this year possible, thank you to rotary for offering this amazing program and planning all the amazing things you do and putting up with us crazy teenagers. And the biggest thank you to my amazing exchange family the members who make me smile, cry and laugh until i feel sick.  You guys are so great and words can never describe my love for you and I will never forget all the memories we have made and the many to come. Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox


September update:

Abbey is now in her 8th month, living in Malmo Sweden and has thoroughly embraced her new life.The most recent change however, has been her move to a new family a couple of weeks ago just as she completed her 3 month summer holiday break.


Her new family is quite different to her previous family. Abbey now lives with Jessica & Robert who have two children Alex who is 15 and her younger brother Zac who is 8 and speaks no English. This gives Abbey plenty of opportunity to practice her Swedish. She also now has a pet cat – Steven !!!! that she adores. Unlike her previous family – whose children were older, Abbey is now a ‘big’ sister for the first time in her life.



Abbey has also started at new school, more suited to her personality and needs. This school “Gymnasium” is geared towards those students that are more creatively inclined. So Abbey is now busy studying drama, cooking and art in addition to her studies of english and Swedish.



Abbey seems to have very little free time, she is forever busy and travelling to meet friends and new people or participate in new adventures.


Recently she travelled with Rotary to Åre in the North of Sweden with about 10 other exchange students from all over the globe. They hiked through the ‘wilderness’ for about 4 days., each carrying their own supplies in a BIG backpack and camping outside- Abbey stated the stars were amazing at night time.  They also went canoeing, mountain climbing and did lots of walking.


Only last week Abbey was lucky enough to again participate on another weekend outing. Invited by the Rotary club of Gothenberg, along with other students, Abbey sailed at Uddevalla, Gothenburg on a skooner – trainee sailship. They spent 1 night on board and were put to work and taught how to erect the sails etc. Many of the students also choosing to climb the mast !!!



Last weekend Abbey travelled to Skaine with her Rotary district club 2390 for a Golfing weekend – in addition to playing a few holes, the students also got to observe The Women’s World tournament, including an Aussie entrant.


Abbey tells us she is off to her host families summer house this coming weekend to pick mushrooms and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.


Peter and I leave for Europe on Wednesday 21st and will meet up with Abbey in Stockholm Oct 6th for a few days of sightseeing with Abby being our personal tourist guide.

We then travel down to Malmo, for the next week to meet with her families and experience a bit of her new lifestyle.



It has nearly been 6 months that I have been in Sweden. It is so crazy for me to think that I have been here for that long, it has gone so fast and I have done so many amazing things and have enjoyed every moment of being here.

 My first couple of months here was just getting used to school and living in a new environment. I did so many amazing things in the first months such as attend language camp in Sundsvall with all the new exchange students who had arrived, we spent a week learning about Sweden and the language and just having fun getting to know each other. I also went skiing with my Host dad and his sister in Austria, which was one of the most amazing and beautiful countries I have ever seen.

 The next two months where a lot more calm, I attend school and rotary meetings and regularly visited the other exchange students living near me. I also went on my first rotary trip in these months. From April 4-7th I experienced the north of Sweden, Kiruna. Most of the students took the long 21-hour journey by train all the way up to the north of Sweden, we arrived in being very tired but full of excitement. During this trip we saw the ice hotel, went dogsledding, rode on a snow mobile and saw more snow then we ever had. This trip was one of the most amazing experiences, the people I met and the things I saw is something that I will never forget. I made so many wonderful friends during this week who I now see as my family and people who I love so dearly and will miss so much when they leave at the end of next month.

 As of now I have just finished a 4-week Swedish course which I feel has improved my Swedish so much and I feel more comfortable everyday speaking it. Last week I went to Stockholm to visit some exchange students, we went to museums and walked around the beautiful city. Today me and my host family are heading to our summer house in the close by town of Åhus, we will be staying there for two nights as tomorrow is midsummer and we will be celebrating this by eating lost of food and spending the day with friends and family.

 Next week I will be setting off on a 3 week tour around Europe with about 40 exchange students. I am so excited for this trip and have been packing and preparing for this last week. During this trip we will visit 9 countries and have the most amazing time of our lives. All though I am hanging out for this trip to come I also am going to have to say goodbye to the most amazing people who have become my family in the last 6 months. I think saying goodbye and not knowing if I will ever see these people again will be the hardest thing I have ever done. I have become so close with these students and cannot imagine spending the rest of my exchange without them here.

 I cannot wait for the next 6 months and the amazing experiences and opportunities that come my way. I hope you enjoyed this letter and cannot wait to tell you all about my euro tour when I get back. Sending my love and thanks all the way from Sweden.