A blog following my adventures in the southern hemisphere.
Questions? Don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, February 7, 2011
answers to some typical exchange-related questions
Hello again! I'm going to say right now that my grammatical errors will increase exponentially as this blog posting goes on, so please forgive me and understand that especially on foreign computers it's hard to make everything perfect and grammatically correct. Oh well!
I'm currently at home (sick) and just came back from a quick visit to Minnesota with my friend to look at colleges and visit a friend. I'm looking for constructive things to do so another blog post seemed like a good idea!
When you go on exchange, you naturally get a variety of questions thrown at you. This post's purpose is to answer some of those questions!
Q. Why go on exchange?
A: Because it'll be an adventure! But really, there's a lot of reasons. In eighth grade, my family lived in Costa Rica for ten weeks. It was super hard on me, so in a lot of ways, I want to re-do that. I'm also getting a little tired of being at West (my high school) and need a change. I want to be challenged.
A counter-argument people always bring up is that I could just go on exchange in college. I always say "yeah, but everyone can go on exchange in college!" This sort of program that I'm going on is a little more culture-focused, which really appeals to me, and leads me into the next FAQ.
Q: Why go on exchange with AFS?
A: A lot of reasons. AFS's school-year programs are host-family based, which means that students live with a real, live family in their host country. They go to school with other students from that country, not just exchange students, so it really is a full cultural immersion. Many college exchange programs have you live in a dorm and go to class with the other exchange students, which is great, but an AFS program is a really great opportunity to do something unique. Plus, AFS is geared towards only high school students.
Also, AFS has been exchanging for more than 50 years. They're organized and know what they're doing. They have a lot of information available to potential students on the Internet that is accessible and easy to read, unlike some of the other programs. But the biggest calling card, for both me and my parents, is that they have a very strong support network both in the USA and whatever country you're being hosted in. Know there are people always nearby to help you really makes me feel more comfortable going on exchange.
AFS is more expensive than some programs, but it's also one of the best programs out there, and I think the extra money helps them do their job better.
Q: Why Chile?
A: For a ton of reasons. AFS exchanges to more than 40 countries, but since I was only going for a semester, I wanted to go somewhere where i could really get good at a language, and I didn't feel like a semester was long enough to do that with a whole new language. Instead, I wanted to go to a place where I could improve a language I already knew--Spanish!
So i wanted a Spanish speaking country. Spain didn't have a semester program, which left Latin and South America. As silly as this sounds, I wanted to go somewhere with a long plane ride, which cut out Latin America (plus I'm not a big fan of super hot, steamy weather). That left South America, with three spring semester countries: Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile. I did a little research, and Argentina seemed too European, Paraguay seemed too rural and under-developed, and Chile seemed like a nice combination of the two. It has cultural roots, but is still a little more modern and developed. Plus, it has incredible mountains and beaches, two things that Wisconsin doesn't have.
So there are my three most FAQs. I think I'll post a whole post about Chile/my city later today/later this week. Email me or comment if there's anything else you'd like to know! I know I had a TON of questions about exchange when I first started researching, and so did my parents.