Well, I've neglected this blog for about a month, and now that I am actually about a day away from officially submitting my AFS application, I thought I would update a little.
Since I'm going to be telling friends and family about this blog, people who aren't necessarily familiar with AFS, I thought I would start there. AFS stands for the American Field Service, and they had something to do with ambulances in World War II. Then, after the war, they turned into a promoting-world-peace-and-diplomacy student exchange program. These two things seem completely unrelated to me, but there must be some kind of link. Anyways, they kept the initials AFS even though it doesn't really mean anything.
They have been sending students around the world for over 60 years. They have an excellent track record, and are the biggest, most established exchange program in existence. If you have known an exchange student at any point in your life, it's a very good chance they were with AFS.
Here's their website if you want to know more:
So, with AFS, I will be going to France next year. For the entire year. I'll stay with a host family, go to the local high school, etc. All my classes and interactions and other language surrounding me will be IN FRENCH. I won't be coming home at all during the year. This is full immersion. HOW COOL IS THAT?!
The other million dollar question is, of course, "Why?" Well. You would think that I would have a very articulate and logical answer for that. And I do, but it is scrambled somewhere deep within my brain where I can't quite get at it. I will try to sort it out for you.
I am going abroad for a number of reasons:
1) I have studied French for most of my life, and although still not fluent, I am passionate about and knowledgeable of the language, and there are few things I want more than to achieve fluency.
2) I've thought about being an exchange student since about 6th grade. I started to write it off as an impossibility, and then this summer I started to consider it some more, and I thought "Why not? Why couldn't I?" I realized it actually made way more sense than most things do.
3) I have a personality that suits it perfectly. I am not necessarily a chatty cathy, but I am very independent, easy-going, articulate, and interested.
4) Next year, several of my best friends will be graduating from high school and going to colleges far away, so staying in Minneapolis would be considerably less exciting.
5) I've always wanted to live in a foreign country, particularly France. I've always thought that I would live in France when I'm older. But why wait?
6) I like exploring and trying new things and going to new places!!! This will be the newest thing I've ever experienced.
7) It's a dream come true. Did I say that already?
Yes, It will be hard. But I know myself well enough to trust that this is something I can do.
And overall, the pros simply outweigh the cons. In fact, the pros probably have a good 500 pounds on the cons.
Anyway. I'm going to France next year. And I need your help! I'm hoping to make $2,500 towards my AFS tuition with this blog. Contributing is just a click away (see the little PitchIn! widget on the right).
Feel free to email me with an questions, or leave a comment.