Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So what exactly am I doing?

Right now, I can't give you a clear answer. But I can tell you what's in line for me.

I've signed up for two programs- School Year 2009-2010 France and School Year 2009-2010 Germany. I've been awarded an $800 scholarship to France, and I've applied for the Congress-Bundestag scholarship for Germany. The Congress-Bundestag is a full scholarship, but I won't know if I got it for some months.

If I do get the Congress-Bundestag, I'll be going to Germany. Otherwise, it's Parisian life for me.

AFS gave me some prompts that they suggested I think about in writing this blog. I figure commenting on them can't hurt me, so I may as well.

What am I thinking about as I prepare to study abroad?
Well, right now I'm pretty excited. I actually haven't had much time to think about it, though, I'm so tied up in other things. Mostly I'm excited to see a new place- as hackneyed as that sounds- and I love meeting new people. I'm really thirlled.

What are my hopes and fears?
Fears, at least, are easy. I'm mostly afraid of the whole college thing- applying while abroad. That kind of scares me. Then again, I've been watching my sister do her applications, and it's almost entirely online... so maybe I'm blowing a mountain out of a molehill. Am I afraid from being away from home? Not really. Will I miss my family? Sure, but we'll all survive.

I really want to get really good at a language, be it French or German. If I do go to Germany, I'd like to continue taking French in school. Also, I really want to get involved in a band wherever I go, whether it be a jazz band or an orchestra or a combo. That's important to me.

Why have I chosen to become an AFSer in high school, instead of waiting to study abroad when I'm older?
Well, we've all heard the old-timers complain that youth is wasted on the young. I'd prefer not to waste mine. Also, I'd consider studying abroad again in college. More than anything else, though, I applied to study abroad on a whim. I figured it was time for a change, so why not pursue one? I've never been one to wait around.

What do my family and friends think about my deciding to become an AFSer?
My family thinks it's pretty cool. I think I've even inspired my sister to look into doing a gap year program in Costa Rica before college. I don't know if she'll end up doing it or not, but either way she's considering it. Some of my friends have said they'll miss me, and I'm sure I'll miss them too, but its all for the better... or at least, I think.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

First Post, and Thank You!

Dear Scholarship Sponsor-
What can I say? You've offered me so much more than $800. $800 is little more than a pile of bills, doing no good. What else could be done with it? Well, it could be spent, for one. But what happens then? Whatever is bought is consumed, used, and then forgotten.

Instead, I got lucky. Instead, you decided to invest your $800 in me. Really, that's what I am: an investment. In me, your money is put to use toward human capital, instead of consumer goods. Through your donation, I grow, physically, mentally, emotionally, and intellectually. More than any of that, I grow culturally. So to me, that $800 is so much more than a pile of bills. It's an opportunity. It's a huge portal through which I can expand my life and better myself. Through your donation, sponsor, I can push myself towards excellence.

Maybe I'll never get there- that's true. Maybe nobody reaches excellence. But is not half the experience the journey? Now that I'm thinking about it, your $800 is more than just an investment. True, you're contributing to human capital, but more than that, you're sending me on a hell of a ride! How many other students get to spend a year abroad? How many other kids get to push their independence to the extreme, dive into another continent, and totally immerse themself in an entirely new world? Not many.

So one more time, sponsor- thank you. Thanks for the experience I'm sure to have. Thanks for the memories I'll hold forever. Thanks for this chance for me to better myself, in every way. And thanks for your generosity. Because, truly, without support from the do-gooders in this world, all of us- myself included- would be a whole lot worse off.

Thank you.