My name is Audrey, I'm 17 years old, and I'm going to Liège, Belgium for my senior year of high school. In exactly two months, I'll be leaving small-town Maine and my familiar 350-student school to live in a city of approximately 200,000 with a host family that has three boys (compared to my one sister at home... eek!).
I decided to go on an exchange because I wanted to learn a new culture, improve my French, become a more outgoing and aware person, and, I admit, a little because I wanted I wanted to leave Orono. I don't know exactly how I settled on Belgium, but the more I hear about Belgium and all things related, the more excited I get to go. It will be hard to leave my family and friends here at home, but the best thing about going abroad with an exchange program is that I'll have a family and a school community waiting to take me in as soon as I get there. I do speak some of the language (which is French, by the way, in the southern part of Belgium), probably more than the average American high-schooler (I know what the language is, for one, which already puts me ahead of a lot of them), and hopefully will become fluent next year. The first few (weeks? months? I'm not really sure) of culture-shock make me a little nervous, but being unsettled, at least for a while, should be good for me.
I already have a passport, but there are still a lot of things to be done with getting a visa, a ticket down to New York for my departure on August 17th, and a functioning wardrobe that will fit into one 40-pound suitcase. Now that school's out (uh oh, no more having to practice my French regularly) I plan to really crack down and get all my things in order.
Well that just about wraps it up for now. I hope to keep everyone (anyone?) updated semi-regularly this summer and next year.