Saturday, November 6, 2010

The beginning of my adventures!

Hey!! So as my about me section tells you, I'm doing foreign exchange next year! I can't wait! I leave in August and come back in June. However, I don't know where I'm going yet...Rotary tells me in December. So let's start at the beginning of this adventure, shall we? My sister's friend Kelley did an exchange to Chile last year. She jokingly told me that I should do one. I never actually thought I would. I asked my parents, and when they didn't say no, I started to research it.
The rotary outbound program in my town is prestigious, and they only send two people per year. I decided I was going to apply in June, and I thought about it allllllll summer. In September, an announcement went out about an informational meeting. Beth Vandewege (my outbound coordinator) told me normally 15-20 people apply. There were 17 students at the meeting. We had to turn in a basic application, and then we were told if we received an interview. They interviewed 7 students, including me. I was interviewed by Beth, Anne (who is taking Beth's place next year), Arthur (exchange student from Taiwan), Haemish (exchange student from Australia), and three other rotary members. They called me the next day and told me that I was accepted :) :) :) Myself and one other girl, Katy Wells, are going with Cheyenne. Morgan Krakow and Abby Lane were also accepted, but they are going with cities in/around Wyoming that had no applicants.
We were all given a huge packet that enabled us to obtain a student visa, and this packet will also be sent to our future host families, our embassy, and our sponsoring district. We had to get a doctors and dentists permission to be away from the U.S. and U.S. medicine for a year, three recommendation letters, a parent letter, the principals approval, a teacher recommendation, AND we all had to write a letter in English to our host families and one in the language of the country we hoped to go to. It was quite a process. I'll link my French letter to this page (if I can find out how!!) :).
Now that we've all turned our application in, we just have to wait for one more interview on December 4th. That is the day we find out where we are going. It's at LCCC, and we have a country fair where all the inbounds try and get us to come to their country (its literally an exchange program, where for every person that leaves our district, another comes in from whatever country we are sent to. They want us to go to their country so more of them can come to America). We have a sheet of paper that asks for our top three country choices. My first choice is Belgium, second Denmark, and third Brazil, but these are expected to change after the fair.  We are also interviewed by rotary members, host parents, and past and present exchange students. Based on how they judge us, the highest ranked get their first country, next get their second, and third get their third country. I think this is how it works. Its all a little fuzzy, but Beth explained something like that to us! There is also a mandatory orientation weekend in Douglas on April 15-17th, and if you don't go to the interview or orientation, you have absolutely no chance of leaving. Unluckily for me, this orientation two hours away is over prom night, which is the 16th. But I figure I can always go to Centrals prom :)
It's also recommended that if Rotary sends you, you should receive a host sibling. You stay with 3 families while abroad, and each stay last 3-4 months. Sooo, after Thanksgiving, little Arthur is going to come stay with me! He's 15 and does IB at East. Apparently he is quite the genius. It'll be weird having a brother. The closest thing I've ever had was Tanner, and he was such a brat :) The other 3 girls and I are going out to lunch on Wednesday, but there isn't much rotary stuff to do until the December interview. Sorry about the novel :) Byeeeeeee!!!

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