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First post in my new student exchange blog!
I created this blog to chronicle my journeys in the student exchange program. As of next year, I plan to submit my application to become a Rotary Exchange Student for the 2013-2014 year. Ever since early October when I actually began looking into exchanging, I haven’t been able to get my mind off of it. Everything I do now seems to be focused on what I’ll put on my application, what I’d be bringing with me, and things like that. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it’s the ONLY thing I’m thinking about, but when it’s not the top priority at the moment, it’s always in the back of my head.
A little info about trying to submit this year:
In early October I began to research exchange. Constantly. I’d be in Drama class or Math class looking up things on student exchange and becoming mesmerized by how much I seemed to want this. I asked my friend Sarah about it, and we came to the conclusion that it would be great fun if we were to travel together, live in the same host family home, attend the same school, and of course, exchange in England. Her mother was all for it, but her father was a different story. After a week, it was just back to me again, trying to exchange in a foreign country.
After some more research, I came across a program called “Rotary Student Exchange”. I realized then that that was the program I had to go with. After completely stalking the RYE Florida website, reading pretty much EVERY blog of the Outbound students of this year, I knew I couldn’t wait to have my own Rotary blazer and my own blog on the website.
About half-way through October, I presented the idea to my dad. Without giving it a second thought, he shot down the idea and started saying how I don’t care about anyone but myself. I asked him if he was open to the idea, and he said, “I’m open to anything.” so I decided to wait it out. Every so often, I’d throw out a fact about the Rotary program or exchange in general to him in the car, and he wouldn’t say anything, usually, but sometimes he’s ask a question. Other times, like may others I’ve told about exchange to, commented on how expensive it’s going to be. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not like that at all.
Rotary Fun Fact:
Because it’s an all-volunteer program, the program costs are much reduced, and in contrast to other programs around the country and world, it seems the only thing you have to pay for is the expected, such as: Visa, Passport, Insurance, Clothes, etc. You don’t, however, need to pay for food or housing, as that is what your host family provides.
Now, skip forward about a week, and my dad says he’ll consider and think about it. Skip forward another week, and he puts down the idea all-together because he has “talked to some people.” AKA, people at his work who probably don’t know what they’re talking about in the exchange student field.
As this whole process had been going on, I’d been filling about my extensive application, complete with transcript, photo, and essay. The only things missing, however, were my medical forms and my local Rotary club’s consent.
After being pretty much depressed the entire next week, I still kept bringing it up, in the hopes he’d change his mind in time. Didn’t happen. But what did happen was this: “I’ll consider it for your senior year.” At first, I didn’t want to go my senior year, and thought it was all over if I didn’t go my junior year. But then I started thinking about it. I’ll graduate early (not hard, seeing as I’ve got most of my credits already), and I’ll just go my “gap year” (between high school and college) but it really being like my senior year. Of course thoughts of, “How am I going to audition for college?” came into my mind, but I decided to wait that out and consult my Rotarians and some colleges about how I should go about this.
Anyways, as I wait for next August and the applications to be out, I’ll keep posting on Tumblr and throwing facts about exchange to my dad, who will hopefully come realize that this is something I’ve got to do, and not just something I want to do.
If you’re reading this, thanks for spending the time, and I hope to bring some good news this time next year!
Au Revoir! “good-bye”
Student Exchange: France
In France the places have a long and rich history, beautiful landscapes, and a complex, compelling culture. If France were simply Paris, or Provence, or Burgundy, or the Côte d’Azur, it would still be an enticing destination. However, France is all these things and more, a profusion of many small worlds, each exploding with epiphanies of beauty, bounties of great food, and an unbelievable historic and artistic record that begins with cave painters and continues through to François Mitterrand’s architectural bequest to Paris, the Grands Projets.
France is also unique in its people. The intensely proud French never doubt that they live at the center of the civilized world. This self-assurance can seem disconcerting to the traveler who skims along the surface of the culture. But after a few days in Paris, or after a quiet tour through the provinces, it’s easier to grant the French the benefit of the doubt. In fact, long after you’ve seen the museums and the monuments, you’ll find yourself wanting to return to France, simply to be with the French people in that sometimes peculiar parallel universe known as France.
And Ill be learning the Language.
Signing up, Or should I say I better start SAVING up :D
India and U.S. discuss working together on higher ed goals
India and the United States are putting aside any rivalry in the worldwide race to have the most college graduates to talk about higher education partnerships at a conference today and tomorrow in Washington, D.C. We wrote about the summit over the summer when it was announced. Now, the U.S. Department of State has posted an agenda for the meeting. Among the things leaders and educators from the two countries will be talking about: student and faculty exchanges, research partnerships, quality assurance—a major problem in India, and the responsibility of higher education in developing the workforce—something institutions in both countries are grappling with.
BtVS, Season 2: Inca Mummy Girl
- [Buffy is complaining about the exchange-student program she's been forced to take part in]
- Xander: Well, I think the exchange-student program's cool. [Willow and Buffy stare at him] I do! It's a beautiful melding of two cultures.
- Buffy: Have you ever *done* an exchange program before?
- Xander: My dad tried to sell me to some Armenians once. Does that count?
The Study Abroad Process
when you first start thinking about studying abroad, you’re all like “WAAAAH IT WOULD BE SO EXCITING.”
then when you hand in your application you’re like “AHHHHHH SO EXCITING I HOPE THEY LIKE ME.”
then you’re about to leave and you’re all “i’m excited !!! but i’m nervous … omg i’m really nervous. wait i’m SUPER excited BYE EVERYONE.”
then you get off of the plane and you’re like “the fuck did I just get myself into …”
you come home, and now you’re all “pffffff i could live ANYWHERE.”
The Motherland in 6 Days!
So yeap, I leave for the motherland in 6 days. I’m referring to Okinawa since I’m part Okinawan, but some people also refer to the “motherland” as Japan, if you must know Japan could also be the motherland for me as well… and China but let’s not go there.
I’m FREAKING OUT! Actually, that’s partially a lie. I’m a little nervous. Like, whenever I think about how soon I’m going to leave my beautiful home in Hawaii, my heart starts a thumping because I don’t really want to leave but I know that this will be a good experience for me. I’m also nervous cause I have to take a placement exam for the school to determine what level language class I will take. But other than that, I’m fine. I’m looking forward to all my “cousins” haha and being able to make friends and do kendo there. Totally stoked.
As for the packing, I’m just waiting to shove all my clothes in all at one time. XD No, just joke. After this week of work, then I’ll put my clothes in the suitcase and I should be done. Not really looking forward to the plane ride though. BLEH. I hate plane rides with a passion. So I plan on either reading, watching vids (I spent a lot of time stuffing my iPad with videos), and or sleeping (which we know can never happened peacefully because I worry too much about the person behind me so I never recline my seat and laying my head down on the tray table is impossible because I’m a little too tall and sleeping against the window, if I get the window seat, freaks me out because they probably don’t clean that and people’s oils and hair and boogers are everywhere. Yeah, I’m anal like that. So if I get sleep it’s usually the top of my head against the seat in front of me, which is still nasty and only lasts about a half hour).
8 hours to Osaka, 4 hours wait, then 2 hours to Okinawa and I get in around 10PM ish. Then we have a long drive to the school. Oh boy! You should see my excited face right now. :|
I Am About To Be HOMELESS: Oh, The Anxieties...
Oh god, I don’t know if I’ve ever been more restless in my life. Do any of you guys on exchange/going on exchange know what I mean? It’s four o’clock in the morning, but I can’t sleep because my mind is running a mile a minute. All I think about is leaving to England. There are thirteen days left until that moment, and although it might seem like a short amount of time to some people, that number just makes me feel so heavy and the days are dragging by so slowly. I do have my friends and family, but the prospect of leaving is so enormous that I just find myself daydreaming all the time. I feel like there’s nothing left for me here— there seems to be nothing to look forward to in this city. I have a friend who is also leaving on exchange who said that she didn’t find any enjoyment in going clubbing/bar-hopping downtown anymore because she just wants to leave too! I’ve lived in this city my whole life and when you have the promise of a grand, beautiful, unpredictable, and life-altering adventure that’s less than two weeks ahead of you, you find yourself losing a LOT of motivation. Hanging out with family and friends is a good way to pass the time, but it’s kind of sad that I’m regarding spending time with them as a preoccupation rather than, well, actually spending quality time with them! XD Oh boy… People have been so patient with me lately. It’s not like I have absolutely nothing to do either. So many people are asking to hang out with me before I leave that I have to try to fit everything and everyone in! As a result of tight scheduling, I have very little patience with people when they cancel plans. It really sounds like I’m jumping all over the place, doesn’t it? I think I can say, “I just wana fucking leave” a thousand times and it still wouldn’t lose its meaning. Separation Anxiety Type A: the kind where you can’t wait to separate and just “wana fucking leave.”
On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder if I’m going to regret feeling this way after those thirteen days are over and I actually get to England? I ask myself, “Why would I regret feeling like this?” and I can’t come up with an answer. Separation Anxiety Type B: I WANT MY MOMMY! In a more eloquent way of saying it, it could be the fear of leaving the familiar. What I fear most is being in the midst of circumstances that I’ve always dreamed of being in (a situation of freedom) and then hating everything about it. That would be unbearable to me. Fearing fear itself. But I think that for a traveler, this is normal. Especially if I’m travelling alone for the first time, experiencing freedom for the first time. I mean, as I said before, I strongly feel as if there’s nothing left for me here, but at the same time, what would be crushing is the prospect of finding that there is nothing for me there either! You say, “How pessimistic,” I say, “How existential” XD.
I think it was last week, I had a dream that I was homeless. I actually had to sleep outside and I knew that I didn’t have a place to stay. It was the middle of the night and the sky was starry and I didn’t feel safe at all, so I thought that the best thing to do was to wander instead of sleep. Although it was very beautiful outside at night, it was very dangerous and I watched as this terrifying man on a bike grabbed some faceless girl right in front of me. I didn’t like this dream at all. The next day, I was out having sushi with one of my professors and I told him about this dream. He immediately felt that he had to analyze it and he said: “perhaps it is more of an existential sense of homelessness.” That man. I do believe that your dreams say something about what you’re thinking— expose things that you normally wouldn’t acknowledge if you were awake. Maybe this quotation explains it all:
“To belong nowhere is a blessing and a curse, like any kind of freedom.”
Experiencing freedom for the first time does involve a sense of homelessness I suppose. I’m going to a place that’s going to be different from where I live. England is not as different from Canada as, say, Japan is, but it’s still different. If you’ve read my previous post, I spoke about pre-arrival culture shock with a UK bank over the phone, which I felt was a taste of what was to come. I was told by my coordinator that I will never feel more Canadian in my life during the first few weeks (maybe months). So you feel like you’re the odd one out in this far-off place, but at the same time, you feel like you’ve completely faded out from the city (or country) that you came from and you’re on your own. I think it’s inevitable to feel that way when you travel somewhere for the first time, especially a new country that’s quite far from where you life. So I think that I will be feeling this way, but I will try to stay positive. No regrets!
Now that I think about it, I can’t afford regrets. I’ve come this far and prepared so much aged fifty years to not love where I am when I get there. Goddamn it, I’m going to have a fucking good time! Until then… the restlessness shall rage on…