Sunday, May 6, 2012

That God Awful Intro Post

Alright, we've all seen this post a thousand and one times. Most of you are going to skip it because they're all pretty generic, fairly easy to guess at yourself and move on with. I'm going to do it anyways just to cover all my bases, though.

So who am I? Maggie, an eighteen year old girl that's about to graduate(in June!) and then in August I'll be off to Belgium for my gap year! Okay, okay, kind of jumping the gun there. I haven't officially been accepted by AFS-Belgium yet, but that should be happening relatively soon. Within the next few weeks, I do believe.

Why do I want to go on exchange? Well, I guess the usual reasons. I've always had an intense interest in other languages and cultures, I've always had a high interest in the history of other countries(this was mostly spiked by the fact that America is a relatively young country and while she has great culture, it's more or less limited in comparison to other countries). Ever since I saw Mulan when I was a little girl, I wanted to travel. Yeah, I know, that's kind of lame, and it seems pretty random since I am not going to China, right? Well, it still started it all. When I was little, I wanted to go to China--my mom still tells stories about how I would run around at six years old, shouting about how I wanted to go to Chinese. I didn't understand there was a difference between a countries' name and its language. :P That led me to read all of the books in my elementary school's library that had anything to do with other countries--particularly the Royal Diaries series! I blame that series for my obsession with Henry VIII! Ah, I miss those books...

All of that aside, though, I really started seriously considering a year abroad about two or three years ago, and I almost got to go to Japan for a year back then, but financial reasons got in the way. Instead, I volunteered for a summer in South Africa, and thought that I had hung up my dreams to dry--travelled, the better for it, yet with no clue what a host family was like, no real introduction to a foreign language aside from a few words, having only dipped my toes into a foreign community, never having gotten to swim. I was disappointed, there's no way around that, but I was willing to accept the real facts of life and move on. I mean, after all, I could study abroad in college, right...? It would be the same...totally...that's what my parents kept telling me, anyways. They didn't seem to understand what it was that I wanted--full immersion, a chance to live like a native and not a tourist, to not be surrounded by American ideals, and other Americans. They just didn't get it. 

If you had asked me...five months ago, if I thought I'd be going on a traditional exchange, I would have said no. Never in a million years, it just wasn't in the cards for me. I was going to go abroad though--Temple University, Japan Campus. I'll still be attending, just not this fall. :) That made some things faster--I was already getting my stuff ready for international travel. A few things happened over the past year that made it possible again...all I had to do was fight for it. I'm not going to talk about the funding--it's a rough subject all around, and I would trade my trip in a heartbeat to have had that particular even not happen, but life doesn't work that way.

Happier note! I got my full application into AFS with record timing--everything except the medical form in two days, the medical form took four. So I don't know what the other AFS kids are whining about--that application was so simple! Nothing at all compared to college applications...Ai ya. That was miserable. So glad I don't have to worry about that on exchange! Boo-yah, deferral! 

Also, I officially know twenty-three words in Dutch! And I've been managing to remember them for more than just two days! XD Byki is awesome, because it judges when a word/phrase has become 'stale' in your memory! God I love this<3 Also, my French teacher said she knows a woman who lives nearby that came from Belgium(Flemish part as well!) who can help me with my Dutch. Success shall be mine!

Well, I guess that's all for now. I probably won't have too much to update for a little while(except for my in-home interview this Saturday!) So I'll catch y'all in a bit!

Tot ziens en goedenavond!

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