23 May 2010

Next Stop...

Hey everyone!
It's been a long time since I've had anything new to say about Paraguay, but I do have some exciting new(ish) exchange-related news.

Way back in October, I decided to apply for a program called NSLI-Y that's run by the US State Department. Students can apply for a year, semester, or summer to study Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Turkish, Russian, Hindi, or Persian. While applications are done by language, not country, students go to China, Taiwan, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, South Korea, India, Turkey, Russia, and Tajikistan.

Basically, if I was selected for this program, I would get to go somewhere to study languages FOR FREE. GRATIS. Of course, I applied. My first two choices were Persian (Tajikistan) and Turkish (Turkey); my second two choices were Hindi (India) and Arabic (Egypt, Morocco, Jordan); and my third choice was Russian/Russia. Nothing happened until January, when I was told that I was a semi-finalist. Basically all that meant is that I was eligible age-wise and grade-wise, and didn't waste my time applying or not finishing the application. I had a really chill interview with the same person that had already interviewed me for exchange-related stuff twice, and then I waited. I waited for the oh-so-vague "April" when we would receive our final notifications. April 1st, we (all 3,000-and-some who had applied) started to hold our breath. Notifications actually started on April 8th, when the Russia summer kids were notified. Then there was nothing until the 13th, when the India summer kids heard. After that, we started hearing something for someone most days.

My email came on April 20th. I worked until 9 or 10, but I got the notification on my phone. Unfortunately, all of the actual notification was done via .pdf attachment, which apparently, is not available on an enV3 phone. So on that half-hour drive home, I knew that there was news, but I didn't really know what news. I had a hunch because of one of the names of the attachments, but I didn't know what news there was. Was I going somewhere? Was I an alternate? I finally got home, and miraculously got the ancient desktop to open a .pdf without freezing for more than a few seconds. I was offered a scholarship to Turkey. :)

Thankfully, the dates just-barely worked out, and I was able to accept the invitation to 7 weeks in Istanbul, with an organization called ACES. :) So, I will be living with a Turkish family and attending Turkish for Foreigners class 5 days a week. Seriously, the dates are near-perfect. I'll be leaving only 1 day before my sister (I was worried about leaving 1-2 weeks before her) and returning the day before I move into my dorm at Beloit. In light of this, I started a new blog, since I'm not really sure how to link Turkey into a blog titled "Terere y Paraguay". Maybe after this summer I'll be able to, but for now, you can follow me over at USAtoTurkiye.blogspot.com/. (FYI, I DO know how to spell; "türkiye" means "Turkey" in Turkish. ;) )

See ya in Istanbul! Now to just learn Turkish...