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The Story

So, how did I end up here?  I am an American headed to Turkey with a full scholarship from the State Department and traveling with AFS.  How does that happen?!?!

Application and Interview

I, along with about 1800 others, submitted an online application for the NSLI-Y program on or before December 4, 2009.  It included two short essays (paragraphs by my standards), pictures, a host family letter, a parent and teacher recommendation along with a lot of other facts about myself.   After I submitted the application, I got to wait to see if I would become a semi-finalist.  (Semifinalist=you have an interview with an AFS person)  I did become a semi-finalist, obviously, and had a phone interview in February.  The interviewer asked me lots of questions about myself and my life in general.  It was really relaxed and nothing to stress out over.  After that, I got to wait again.

April

I believe that the month of April deserves its own spot on the exchange timeline.  This is the month that I waited to hear if I had been accepted or not.  I waited all month.  Summer people were notified first, then people going to Russia and China for the longer programs, and finally the rest of us.  Even though I expected to hear back during the first half of April, I was not notified until April 28.  On that day, I received an email and it said “Congratulations!”.   Yay!  I accepted my acceptance and started to prepare for my time in Turkey.

Preparation

This phase has actually been the most fun, probably the hardest too.  Even harder than waiting, which is hard.  While getting ready to go, I have ben able to contact other NSLI-Yers going to Turkey, meet other exchangers at a Pre-Departure Orientation, and learn a lot more about where I am going to live for 10 months.  Some of the hard this include telling people I am leaving, trying to study as much Turkish as possible, filling out all the necessary paperwork, and having to say goodbye to people.   Packing will be hard too.  Seriously, how do you pack for 10 months?

So that is my story in a nutshell.  A lot of patience, along with a bit of insanity, is required to end up here.  I am consciously, and willingly, going to a country where I speak close to nothing and agreeing to stay for 10 months.  What an adventure.

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