Well. Now that everyone's feeling a little more at ease with these blog shenanigans, it's time to do some talking. First up, a little about Rotary Youth Exchange and how we became friends.
Rotary International is a really fantastic organization (read more about its projects and mission here), and one of their many programs that benefits youth and sends messages of world peace and service is their Exchange Program. I know many youth who have benefited from this program in the past or are on exchange right now. For several years, I have been interested in going on a high school exchange, and during the fall of this year Rotary interviews were conducted and forms filled out for those wishing to go on exchange in 2012-2013. I jumped at the opportunity, not really knowing what I was getting myself into. The process was long: first a preliminary interview was conducted in the school district with interested students, and then I and another student were selected as the scholarship recipients. We two "outbounds" were instructed to receive immunizations, fill out forms, and write letters to our prospective host clubs. A second interview followed, and after selecting our top three countries the forms were sent to the district exchange coordinator. Several months later, our country assignments came.
The process continues: Visa forms are coming soon, and eventually I will be assigned my host district, and then the town where I will live.
In the meantime, the outbound students are meeting monthly to discuss culture, public speaking, and all the nitty-gritty of exchange. We all eagerly await our district assignments, but while we wait we have language learning to occupy our time. Learning as much language as possible is very important so it will be easier to acclimatize when in our new homes. In addition to language learning, I post a current event from Germany each week, to keep in touch with what is going on.
Hopefully I will be able to share more news soon, but meanwhile stay tuned for more current events and more about my life in the States.