Monday, April 02, 2012

So Bittersweet

Now that we're in the month of April, my departure date gets closer and closer. It's such a bittersweet feeling knowing that I'm leaving in just five months. I only have around 150 more days left in the states. Come September, I'll be living a completely different life than I am now. I'll have a new set of family and friends. I will have gained a new school and host community, too. I am filled with mixed emotions knowing I have so much to do in such a short time.

For now, I'll give a visual update about my AFS process!

A couple weeks ago, I received a huge mail packet containing "The AFS Guide for Participants" and also a separate handbook for my family to read, similar to my own. In the packet was also a medical coverage packet and a travel information paper.

Recently, I was awarded a full Speedwell Scholarship to study abroad for a year in the country of my choice! There were over forty people who applied and around thirty received the scholarship. I had to immediately accept or decline the scholarship with this form and had to abide by the following duties:

-read, sign, and return the scholarship acceptance form
- write a thank you letter which discusses what you hope to gain through becoming an AFSer
-after returning home from your AFS program, write an essay addressing the impact your AFS experience has had on your life
-consider registering with AFS as a youth volunteer or contributing in other ways to AFS

I know I have said it before, but I really can't fully grasp the concept that I'm actually studying abroad next year, on a full ride! I cannot thank the Speedwell Foundation enough!

Even more exciting- Here's a link showing the Fall 2012 Speedwell Scholarship winners all across Pennsylvania!

A couple weeks ago, I started to receive weekly emails informing me about the upcoming student visa steps. I am expected to start collecting my official documents five months before departure. As you can see, getting a Spanish visa takes a lot of time and effort. So far, I have gotten a couple papers notarized and sent off for apostilles. In two days, I have to start my FBI background check by getting my finger print card. Rumor has it, Spanish Student Visas are one of the hardest to obtain!

It is such a relief to have all of my tuition paid off! On the other hand, I still don't know my host family or placement. A couple of people going to Spain already have their host families! Generally, AFS-Spain is good at getting host families quickly, so I'm crossing my fingers! I can't wait until my placement and travel information become available!

 So, there isn't really any new pieces of information; I just wanted to give a visual of my updates.
Now, I just have to cross my fingers and wish for the very best!