Monday, May 31, 2010

Mass Email Fun!

This is the email that I sent out to all of my family and friends! just in case, I have put it up here, too.

Hello!
If you don't already know me, my name is Carly Houk and I am going to spend my junior year in high school in France through the foreign exchange program AFS.
If you read on, I explain who I am, why I have chosen to partake in this journey, how you can help me get there, or simply follow my adventure!

Here is a little bit about me:

* I attend Los Gatos High School and I am currently a sophomore.
* I am in French 3, and have studied the language since 7th grade
* I love singing and art and all languages
* At the end of high school I would like to attend college and go into music or linguistics
*
* I describe myself as opinionated, but open-minded
* I am also creative and love to laugh!

What is AFS?

AFS is a program that enables high school students to travel abroad to different countries and continents for a summer, semester, or full year. It promotes intercultural understanding and tolerance and helps to enable global awareness in young people today. I would be taking part in the year long program to France in which I will study at a French high school, stay with a French host family and experience the beautiful country, language, and culture of France first hand.

Why?

Some may ask, "Why in high school?" Great Question! Well, you see, I believe that if I go abroad at a stage in my life when I am still unsure about what I want to do with my life and when I am just starting to develop my own opinions and beliefs I will be able to see the world through a very unique perspective. I will be able to see an example of all the possibilities that life has to offer and become a new and more confident person inside and out. I will also become well-versed in the French language while seeing life through the point of view of another culture, and I will come back more mature and strong. This is why I have chosen high school exchange as opposed to waiting for college.

Help!

However, I do need some help getting there... The tuition is very expensive, and although my parents can help out with a lot, I have to raise some of the money through miscellaneous fund raising and from my own pocket. If it is possible to donate any amount, I will be one step closer to my dream. If you are interested in helping, you can donate directly on my blog or you can send it to me at my home address. Thank you so much!

How to Follow My Journey! :)

Whether or not you can donate, anybody can follow my blog, which I will update every month or so that I am in France. The link is right below!

Here is a link to my blog:
www.carlyhouk.blogspot.com
By clicking the ChipIn button on the right side of the page, you can easily donate any amount of money to help alleviate the program expenses.
Any amount is helpful and greatly appreciated!

Here is my home address:
17711 Bruce Avenue
Monte Sereno, CA
95030

Sincerely,
Carly Houk
Thank You!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Schmorgasborg

I feel like I have failed you, world. Meaning 3 people that actually follow my blog. I haven't posted in more than a month and a half!!! Gasp!

Ok, well now that that is over, I have some fantiddilyastic news.

I got into AFS!

Yes, at this point you are probably asking yourself why you bothered to read a blog post of something that has already been blogged about. But you are incorrect. It's a long story. Don't mind if I do!:

So it all started out November 16th 2009 when I sent in my full application... Just kidding... skip forward three months. Ok, February 11, 2010, I finally got an email saying that my application had been sent to France! YAY. I was happy. And so, when I got the bill and thought it was odd, I went on the website and I guess I thought I had gotten into the program. I emailed my supervisor, who unfortunately never responded, but I was kinda sorta used to that, so I just thought, "You know, I probably did get in" It had been about a month or so. But I was wrong... :( Because two weeks later, when I got a package from AFS in the mail, I thought.... OMG! Could this be the moment I have been waiting for?? Could I have my host family (Yes I know, this was wishful thinking even if I had been accepted)? I ripped open the package with much vehemence and joy, and as I pulled out the first letter, I got something along the lines of this:
Congratulations! Your application has been sent to France!
Oh boy..... So basically one and a half months after I was notified of my application being sent to France, my application was still in France. :| So I went about my life for a few more weeks, and finally, on April 23rd, I got accepted to France. YAY! So special. Its ok, it only took............. I'm counting.............
Five months and a week!

Yup. So that is my long story. OK, back to the awesomeness of that past couple of weeks:

I also went to an AFS orientation on April 18th. It was quite cool, and I met 3 Italians who were quite nice, two girls going to Italy, one girl going to Latvia, a girl who is going to Egypt for a community service year but I later found out had gone to France for a year. :):):) She was the only other one with ties to France. But that wasn't that weird. The only country that had more than one person going to it at the orientation was Italy. It was a great day, and it made everything feel more real.

And finally, I just wanted to add in here that my family is hosting a three week French foreign exchange student this summer. I hope it goes well!!

Thanks for reading,
Carly