Wow it's been a few days... I feel a bit bad not getting to this sooner!
But I'm here now! SO! News time :)
Saturday was my local Pre-Departure Orientation for AFS.
The ride up there was really fun. My parents and I stopped for coffee on the way (yumm <3) so I had my extra energy!
I got to talk to my mom and dad about the trip some more, and heard some things from my mom about how it was when she first came here from Brazil and some of the hard things she dealt with with language and school and stuff. Its really interesting to talk to both my mom and my Japanese teacher for this. I might rely on them for help if the time comes for that while Im gone. x)
I'll have to be careful about that...
Anyway, we got there a few minutes before 9, that was when the meeting was going to start. It was at a YMCA in Chardon, and we were in a small conference room altogether.
In my area, right now they are only sending two people, me and a girl who is going to France for a semester. I guess with Winter Departures they don't get as many people as they do with the ones for Summer, which is understandable when you consider that they also do the summer homestays and such wich allows for more people to go during that season.
During the Orientation we talked about where we fit into the AFS structure, the AFS chain of support, Culture Shock and dealing with cultural differences.
After our break at about 10.30 we split up and the parents went to another area and me and the other girl stayed in the room and talked to our volunteer for a bit about our expectations and what we hope to accomplish, keeping ourselves safe while abroad, and extra advice about just not being afraid to ask questions, and building a good relationship with our hosts, etc.
Something really cool was we got a small packet that had advice from previous students who had been to our respective countries. I don't know if they are accessable online for us yet to get the amount that were on the sheet, but there were many I hadn't seen before.
It was good to talk to our volunteer. One thing she said (out of many others mentioned) was that we shouldnt be afraid about going to our volunteers and talking to them, that many had been where we were are now. In talking to her we really got to see a bit behind her experience when she went abroud about 12 years ago. It was really comforting and calmed me a bit more.
After that we came back together (at about noon or so?) and just hung out and had some lunch and talked with each other, and this just gave us the chance to talk about anything we might have forgotten about before.
We wrapped up and left at about 1pm.
Over-all, even though it wasn't a whole weekend experience, I enjoyed it. AND I got to give the girl going to France the name of the Forum I go to, I love it so I hope she'll check it out. Great way to meet people going to the same country as you :)
She'll be leaving in a few days, and I can't wait until thats me! Im so ready to get going!
But there's still lots of prep work and and a host family to be aquired! So for now I'll go work on and wait for those!