I can’t believe its time to say farewell to our exchange student Emili Kato. Emili has jumped right into fitting in to Arizona. Originally supposed to go to Kansas, we are more than happy it was made possible for her to come to us. She will be 17 years old in a month. She lives in Vienna with her mom -who is Swiss-German (works as a translator) and her dad who is Japanese and a banker by trade. and her brother. Emili was born in California and spent some time in Germany before relocating to Austria. She lives in the central part of Vienna ( approx. 10-15 minutes from the central City) in an apartment off the Danube River that runs through the city. She loves to boat and picnic and visit the shops and restaurants in the city.  Emili goes to a bilingual school (German/American) with 1000   students. It was a bit of a culture shock to enter Highland High with 3200 students. In Austria there us 4 years of elementary school and 8 years of High School.  Austria is German-speaking country of 32,386 square miles with Vienna having a population of roughly 1.8 million compared to Arizona’s 6.9 million people.  Austria is a federal republic state with a parliamentary democracy, consisting of 9 independent Federal regions. The economy is prosperous and stable, one of the most stable within the European Union. Approximately 74% of  Austrians are Roman Catholic, 5% are Protestant and the rest belong to other faiths. Austria has a strong economy with machinery, metallurgical products and textiles.  The country is also a     first-class service center in trade and industry. Austria is home to 18,500 organic farms and 40% of Austria is forested so wood is a major product as well for renewable energy. The country is famous for arts and crafts and  Swarovski crystal is located there. 62% of the country is covered in the famous Alps.  

Austria is also famous for the location and filming of The Sound of Music. It is also the birthplace of musical geniuses Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Mozart,  Johann S. Bach, Franz Shubert, as well as actor/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger and Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.  Emili also shared a bit about her experiences in Arizona. Special thanks to Cindy Harrison for being host Mom 1 and 3. Emili was able to take advantage of Rotary’s exchange opportunity rather than AFS who disqualified her for being a US citizen.  LOVES: Thanksgiving with Cindy, Chimichangas,  Rubio’s,  the trip to California with Cindy to decorate the Rose Bowl Parade Float for Rotary, her first baseball game, hikes, especially to Havasupai and in Sedona, the Highland Prom and Homecoming, a trip to Hollywood, a trip to Mexico with Chuck Flint fishing and watching dolphins, RYLA, her second host family, the friends she has made here, Cindy’s dogs Dakota and Barkley.  HATES – none mentioned.  Emili was also given a special trophy in appreciation by Curt for bowling for him on short notice. Thanks also go out to Carla Rowe-Malcolm who has been an awesome club youth    counselor.  It’s always sad to see a RYE student leave, but Emili especially because she has been such a joy.  Back to high school for her. Sad for us.