Friday, March 27, 2009

Hello :]

Hi, my name is Annah and this is going to be my blog while on my exchange experience. I am currently in 10th grade and hope to spend my junior year abroad. I applied to and was accepted by India through AFS and hope to be able to fulfill this dream. 

I say hope because we all know about the financial situation currently and I know personally I do not have $10000 lying around. So I thank AFS for already providing me with an $800 scholarship but I still need much more money. To help cover it, I have applied to the YES and NSLI-Y scholarship programs and will find out soon whether I have received one. The reality is that although I did apply with my first choice as India for those scholarships, the evaluators might decide that if I do get it, it might not be to India. But I feel that going to any location to represent my country and experience a new culture would be very valuable, if to India or not. So to all of you prospective exchange students who are reading this blog and are interested in getting those scholarships in the future, remember to be open to any location even if it is not your first choice. I met a lot of amazing people during the selection camp who were alumni of the program and from those countries, which gave me confidence to see that going to any place would awesome. 

In regards to fundraising, I'm planning to have a donation party inviting the community and family friends. My birthday is coming up as well so I'm planning to ask that my friends bring money instead of presents (because, honestly, I have too much stuff anyway :]). Other things include a possible garage sale and letters to prospective donors. I love how AFS has so many ideas to choose from and that they all sound fun. Ahaha how promotional am I? Anyways, I'm in the planning process right now but hopefully, it will all turn out cool.

Okay let's step away from the money issue and talk about the big question "why?". Well, like most students, I've dreamed of traveling and living abroad for quite a while. Unfortunately, I've never gotten a chance to before and have only been to Canada, which doesn't count in my book. You must be thinking "she's crazy, wanting her first abroad experience to be for a year!" But to me, I think that even if I went to, say, France for a week or every year travelled to a different country for some period of time, that would never set me up for a whole year abroad without my family. Not to mention that it is very difficult to see and become a part of a community if you are there for only a month.

In a way, that is one of my goals for going on this exchange. To me, it is crucial while on my exchange, that I make bonds with those around me and those that I meet. I hope to stop negative stereotyping of Americans and other people. I want to create a lasting connection with my host family so that I know I will always be welcomed in their home and they are welcome to come to mine. Along with this, I want to increase understanding of world views and assists, which is definitely crucial in today's global classroom. Or perhaps playground is a better word. hmm it's your pick.

Well, this has become a rather serious post o.o I wasn't expecting my first entry to be like this. Oops! I'm not always this serious, trust me! ahaha If you have any questions about the process I've been going through so far, please ask!

So a little about me: I have wanted to go to India for quite a long time, although I'm not sure when. I love elephants, they are my favorite animals mostly because their memory is way better than mine (just kidding!). Some of my favorite films are bollywood, and if you have never seen one I suggest Marigold first (it stars Ali Larter and Salman Khan, a big bollywood star. It's in english and gives some basic groundwork that is in all bollywood films). After that, see Jab We Met, means When We Met, starring Karina Kapoor, which is cute with some more culture thrown in. If you really just want to throw yourself into it, see Om Shanti Om, starring Shah Rukh Khan, and is, essentially, an homage to bollywood.

Ah that got a little off track... Anyways, I hope this becomes an informative and true representation of my exchange abroad. I don't know about the picture situation yet. I have an idea to buy 100 kodak disposable cameras and use those instead of my digital camera. Really nice and old school, and when I come back, I could just post them all up on here... well tell me what you think, hmm? 

Sorry this post is so long and pointless especially being the first one in a hopeful series. I will keep you updated!