Thursday, April 17, 2014

A blurb

Hey guys! I found this in an exchange student group on Facebook, and thought it was very true, so I wanted to share it with you all.

"Exchange is change.
Rapid, brutal, beautiful, hurtful, colorful, amazing, unexpected, overwhelming and most of all constant change. Change in lifestyle, country, language, friends, parents, houses, school, simply everything. Exchange is realizing that everything they told you beforehand is wrong, but also right in a way. Exchange is going from thinking you know who you are, to having no idea who you are anymore to being someone new. But not entirely new. You are still the person you were before but you jumped into that ice cold lake. You know how it feels like to be on your own. Away from home, with no one you really know. And you find out that you can actually do it.
Exchange is learning to trust.
Trust people, who, at first, are only names on a piece of paper, trust that they want the best for you, that they care. Trust, that you have the strength to endure a year on your own, endure a year of being apart from everything that mattered to you before. Trust that you will have friends. Trust that everything’s going to be alright. And it is seeing this trust being justified.
Exchange is thinking.
All the time. About everything. Thinking about those strange costumes, the strange food, the strange language. About why you’re here and not back home. About how it’s going to be like once you come back home. How that girl/boy is going to react when you see them again. About who’s hanging out where this weekend. At first who’s inviting you at all. And in the end where you’re supposed to go, when you’re invited to ten different things. About how everybody at home is doing. About how stupid this whole time-zone thing is. Not only because of home, but also because the TV ads for shows keep confusing you.Thinking about what’s right and what’s wrong. About how stupid or rude you just were to someone without meaning to be. About the point of all this. About the sense of life. About who you want to be, what you want to do. And about when that English essay is due, even though your marks don’t count. About whether you should go home after school, or hang out at someone’s place until midnight. Someone you didn’t even know a few months ago. And about what the hell that guy just said.
Exchange is people.
Those incredibly strange people, who look at you like you’re an alien. Those people who are too afraid to talk to you. And those people who actually talk to you. Those people who know your name, even though you have never met them. Those people, who tell you who to stay away from. Those people who talk about you behind your back, those people who make fun of your country. All those people, who aren’t worth your giving a damn. Those people you ignore. And those people who invite you to their homes. Who keep you sane. Who become your friends.
Exchange is music.
New music, weird music, cool music, music you will remember all your life as the soundtrack of your exchange. Music that will make you cry because all those lyrics express exactly how you feel, so far away. Music that will make you feel like you could take on the whole world. And it is music you make. With the most amazing musicians you’ve ever met. And it is site reading a thousand pages just to be part of the school band.
Exchange is uncomfortable.
It’s feeling out of place, like a fifth wheel. It’s talking to people you don’t like. It’s trying to be nice all the time. It’s bugs.. and bears. It’s cold, freezing cold. It’s homesickness, it’s awkward silence and its feeling guilty because you didn’t talk to someone at home. Or feeling guilty because you missed something because you were talking on Skype.
Exchange is great.It’s feeling the connection between you and your host parents grow. It’s hearing your little host brother asking where his big brother is. It’s knowing in which cupboard the peanut butter is. It’s meeting people from all over the world. It’s having a place to stay in almost every country of the world. It’s getting 5 new families. One of them being a huge group of the most awesome teenagers in the world. It’s cooking food from your home country and not messing up. It’s seeing beautiful landscapes that you never knew existed.
Exchange is exchange students.
The most amazing people in the whole wide world. Those people from everywhere who know exactly how you feel and those people who become your absolute best friends even though you only see most of them 3 or 4 times during your year. The people, who take almost an hour to say their final goodbyes to each other. Those people with the jackets full of pins. All over the world.

Exchange is falling in love. With this amazing, wild, beautiful country. And with your home country. Exchange is frustrating. Things you can’t do, things you don’t understand. Things you say, that mean the exact opposite of what you meant to say. Or even worse…Exchange is understanding. Exchange is unbelievable. Exchange is not a year in your life. It’s a life in one year. Exchange is nothing like you expected it to be, and everything you wanted it to be. Exchange is the best year of your life so far. Without a doubt. And it’s also the worst. Without a doubt. Exchange is something you will never forget, something that will always be a part of you. It is something no one back at home will ever truly understand. Exchange is growing up, realizing that everybody is the same, no matter where they’re from. That there are great people and douche bags everywhere. And that it only depends on you how good or bad your day is going to be. Or the whole year. And it is realizing that you can be on your own, that you are an independent person. Finally. And it’s trying to explain that to your parents. Exchange is dancing in the rain for no reason, crying without a reason, laughing at the same time. It’s a turmoil of every emotion possible. Exchange is everything. And exchange is something you can’t understand unless you’ve been through it."     

Saturday, April 12, 2014

(A little) New Information!

Herkese Merhaba (Hey everybody)!

I haven't got much to report, but at the beginning of this week I did receive that packet of information from NSLI-Y in the mail. :D
There wasn't a huge amount of new information, but we received two forms to be returned to NSLI-Y/ACES (ACES = American Cultural Exchange Service, our implementing organization), an FAQ sheet which included a tentative itinerary of the summer (more on that in a moment), an FAQ sheet about financial planning and expenses for the trip, a packing list, a list of Turkish language resources to jump-start our language learning before the start of the program, our first Turkish study guides of several to come, and a packet with information about Turkey. 

The tentative itinerary is as follows: 
"Here is a brief timeline of the upcoming summer:
  • June 22nd: Students will depart home and arrive in Washington DC for a pre-departure orientation held at the Hampton Inn and Suites Dulles Airport Hotel. 
  • June 22nd - 23rd: Pre-departure orientation sessions.
  • June 24th: Students and chaperones will depart for Turkey. 
  • June 25th: Students and chaperones will arrive in Istanbul and spend two nights there. 
  • June 27th: Students and chaperones will travel to Bursa. 
  • August 11th: Students and chapereones will return to Washington DC and go directly to their domestic flights home. "
This is quite exiting for two reasons: for one thing, the pre-departure orientation in DC is a day or so longer than I had understood it would be, which is good - some of my friends who are NSLI-Y alumni got to go to their host country's embassy or cultural centers during pre-departure orientations, so I'm hoping we'll get to go places like those. And also, I'm SUPER exited that we'll be spending our first two days after arrival in ISTANBUL. :D I've wanted to see Istanbul for many years; it just looks so beautiful and has so much amazingly rich history, and I can't believe that we'll be there in less than two months! 
Also, apparently there's more to come:
According to the packet, "between now and your departure from home, we will be sending additional program information, including domestic and international flight information, a student handbook, pre-departure orientation details, a tentative program itinerary, culminating project information, and host family details."
I'm looking very forward to all of the above.

Also, I've been meeting up lately with a new friend: a girl named Krista from Dexter, a town about 15 minutes from where I live, also was picked as a finalist for Turkey! She's going with a different group, to Ankara instead of Bursa. But we've been meeting up lately, freaking out about our upcoming adventure and how much we want to skip over April and May to get to June for it.
Hey if you're reading this Krista ^_^ 

That's all for today, I haven't got much else to report for the moment. 
Hoping to be back soon with more exiting news,

^And here's another Tarkan song. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Teen Polyglot Challenge video

Hey guys!

So after having spent the month of March trying to squeeze a bit of Swedish learning into my busy life, I'm starting off my spring break by sharing the video which is both the end product of my month of learning, and also what I've submitted for the contest itself.

Without further ado, here is a video of me speaking in the Swedish I've learned since March 8, 2014. :D

I'm very much a beginner, and would really appreciate it if any Swedish speakers could help correct mistakes I've made in my video.

No news for now other than that, but I'll be back soon. I got an email yesterday from my program coordinator for the NSLI-Y summer program in Bursa, and apparently we'll be getting a packet of information in the mail next week, which I'm super exited for. :)

Det är allt. Hej hej!
(That's all. Bye bye!)