Bonjour tout le monde!!
This is the site where I will be telling all of the world about my adventures next year! For now, I have this up as a fundraising tool. Soon (I hope), there will be a cool gadget where you can donate all of your spare change to my tuition!! Money is very tight in these times, and every little penny is helpful!
I'm sorry, I haven't properly introduced myself! My name is Mary Jones. I'm a reckless 16 year old with big dreams. In my spare time I sing, dance, go to the gym, beg my dad to let me leave the country for the weekend, and hang out with my best friends. When I grow up I want to be an ambassador, be fluent in at least 8 languages, and live in many different places. I want to see everything and experience all that I can before the world ends in 2012. Not really, but just in case, I'm living life to the fullest.
Whenever the subject of my being an exchange student comes up (which happens more than one would think), the same questions are usually asked. Below is a handy FAQ list, which should cover most of your questions.
Why are you leaving me?! - Have you noticed how big the world is? It's the biggest planet I have ever lived on. Why wouldn't you want to discover all of it (or at least as much as you could.)? I'm getting a head start on my retirement traveling. Also, it's more than just a vacation; it's a whole new life, a new culture, a new language. I need to get out of my american comfort zone and start living.
NUH-UH, but, like, how did you get to do it? -I applied with a program called AFS. There are many more programs out there, but AFS seemed like the best one for me (and it is). They offer a solid support system, filled with advisors and volunteers who seem to be angels. If you're interested in going abroad yourself, you can ask me anything or check out afs.org for more information.
When are you leaving? - 8 months, 2 days, 19 hours,19 minutes, 43 seconds. Who's counting?!
Are you going to miss everybody at home? Are you scared? - I'm sure I will miss my cat. Oh, my friends and family too. But I imagine that I will be experiencing so much while I'm across the pond that I won't be too terribly homesick. Also, it's not as if I won't keep in contact with them. God created Skype & Facebook for a reason, right? As for being scared, I wouldn't think that is the right word. The closest thing to how I feel in anticipation of my departure is being next in line for a big roller coaster. You've spent all after noon waiting in line to get on this ride, you look up at how tall it is, you see the people before you get off the line with huge grins on their faces & a thumbs up telling you how fun it was, and you tell yourself that your going to come out alive. There might be some times when you want to get out of line and ride the merry go round, but you know in your heart that this is going to be the ride of your life.
Where are you going? -My first choice is Switzerland. However, if they told me I was going to Algeria my bags would be packed just as fast.
Why did you choose Switzerland? - I really like cheese. Also, it seems to be the perfect little western european country. With the influence of German, French, and Italian cultures, I imagine that it will provide the best example of the ever so sought after "European Lifestyle". Finally, my grandmother had a major influence on my country decision. Ever since I was little I have received countless emails from her saying, "Hi Mary, I'm at the top of *insert mountain here*! You should come see the view :)
We've done/seen, cultural event, museum, monument, visit this place, mountain, eaten this, didn't like this, and sent you a post card from here. Much Love, Nana". All of these emails and stories have sparked a curiosity in my mind about the rest of the world, and in particular Switzerland. Now, it's my turn to send her these emails.
So, do you speak Swedish? -NO!!!!! Nobody in Switzerland speaks Swedish. And no, Swiss is not a language either. In Switzerland, they have four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansch. Also, they speak their own special dialect of german, called Swiss German (Schweizerdeutsch). I can speak some French and German. I hope that in my year abroad I will mostly be speaking French.
The next year of my life will be the craziest one yet. I already loose sleep just dreaming about it. In that glorious year, there are so many things I want to take out of it. I want to be more proficient in my languages, I want to have a new vision of the world, I want to have a cool accent (or at least be able to fake one), I want a new family, new friends, a new life. When I come back, I plan on continuing my volunteer work with AFS. Also, I would like to start an AFS club in my school/community. It amazes me how little people know about the world/studying abroad. Also, I would like to share my experiences with everybody, whether it be making a swiss meal for my family, or bragging about the benefits of my super secret swiss bank account, or teaching my friends curse words in different languages. :) Also, I want to share with my Swiss community american customs and cultures that I might take for granted now.
When I told my mom about my decision to study abroad she said, "Be mean to me so I can hate you when you leave." My parents support me, but they will miss me. My friends all think I'm crazy. My sister can't wait so she can have my closet. The decision in a way was the easiest and the hardest one I've ever made. I had to give up more than I would have imagined. I lost my softball career, my car, my SAT scores, and my american junior year experience in general. However, what I will gain from this experience outscores the losses by at least a bajillion.
In addition to this blog, I also plan on consigning my clothes to help with my tuition. Also, I have discovered a company that let's you "design your own tea" and sell it for a profit, I think this would be a good idea, but I need to put some more research into it. If you have any ideas, feel free to let me know!
That's all for now, I suppose I will update when I get the Chipin button installed, or when I hear back from AFS-Switzelalnd (which should be in about 2 weeks)
Thanks for reading :)
Bien des choses à tous!