Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Placement/Host Family

Recently, I have been discovering some small insects crawling around my house, which around this time usually means one of two things: my house is infested, or the end of the school year is soon. Knowing that I have taken every precaution against infestations since the one time carpenter ants made an empire out of my room, I am sure it is the latter. Now, the notion that summer is approaching fast usually makes me undeniably happy. Except this year I am dreading how quickly time is flying. I still have so much fundraising to do, along with other small trivial things you wouldn't even think would be important until you are actually faced with living away from home. Just thinking about it... I need time to move slower!

Anyway, amongst the worries, I like to find comfort in having the luxury of knowing where I who I will be staying with. AFS originally told me I might not know until about a month before leaving about my placement, but I actually received all the information about three or four weeks ago. I was so incredibly happy to be able to have the chance of talking to them so long before actually reaching France. 

I should really get to where and who I will be staying with though. I will be staying in a small suburb called Saint-Barthélemy d'Anjou which is outside of Angers, France. I will show you a map here:
A really cool thing about the region I will be staying in, is that many of France's castles are situated there.  There is even a castle right in Angers, called, obviously, the Angers Castle. Here is a picture of that:

I find it incredibly awesome that it is located right in the middle of the town. So people just walk past it on their way to the grocery store like, "No big deal, just a big medieval castle there. Whatever". 

Another amazing thing about the area I am staying in, is that there are a ton of bike/hiking trails. Plus the weather is fairly mild all year, so that means I will be able to bike/walk almost all year long. I won't be hindered by the two feet of snow, ice, and negative temperatures I receive here.

So, finally my host family. I have to admit, even though I have only briefly spoken with them, I already like them. They seem so nice and welcoming. Although, they were originally told I was from Norway, which is kind of... the opposite direction of where I live. But, they requested someone from the US or Europe, so it was okay :P My host mother was actually an AFSer herself in 1983 in a town in Illinois, so pretty close! She has also visited a ton of states around the Midwest, which is also really cool. 

Besides my host mother, I will also stay with my three host siblings: baptiste (15 year old boy), sarah (14 year old girl), and nathan (10 year old boy). When I first saw this, I was really happy. I am the youngest here, and have always wanted younger siblings, but have never gotten any. So for ten months I will be an older sister! :D 

Lastly, I will mention their house, which is, for lack of better terms, awesome! It is a beautiful stone house and has a cute little lawn with a ton of trees and flowers. I will definitely show you pictures when I get there. I wonder if they have picnics often...

Well, I should probably to get to the homework I have been wrongfully neglecting for the past four hours. 

À bientôt!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Salut et Bienvenue!

My name is Elise, I am sixteen years old, and in about 180 days I will board a plane and fly to France, where I will live as an AFS exchange student for ten months. This is my blog :D

I first heard about AFS (American Field Service) when a volunteer came to my school and gave a presentation to all the foreign language classes about study abroad options in high school. I had never really considered becoming a foreign exchange student before then, I mean, my family had hosted multiple Japanese students through a local sister-city exchange, but I still never considered it something I would be interested in doing myself. So, after the presentation, I signed up for more information, not really thinking anything of it. Well, here I am a year later, and I couldn't be more excited to have the chance at such a wonderful experience.

A few things you should know before I begin my blog:

The host family I am staying with only has one computer, and I am pretty sure it gets internet through a cable (still need to ask :P) so I might not be able to update as frequently as I hoped. I will try to see if I will be able to bring my laptop along for this blog. Even so though, I will probably update only once every two weeks, as I won't want to be on the computer too much xP

Also, as I will be fully immersed in another language, my English will most likely become less and less structured, so towards the end of my blog, there may be some funky grammar/spelling errors.

Either way I hope this blog will not only keep people back home updated, but also inspire potential exchangers to study abroad themselves, as reading the other AFSer's blog definitely did that for me! :)

À bientôt!