6 days left…

My time at Greenhill School has come to an end. Yesterday was the Awards Ceremony in the gym, and I realised that it would be my last time seeing the school. It was a strange feeling- I tried to soak up every little detail of the campus when I was walking through it for the last time. It’s hard to say goodbye to a place so special. Even though I’ve only spent a year here, Greenhill will stay with me- it has had a lasting impact on my education, my personality, and the way I look at life.

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I didn’t expect to receive anything at the Awards Ceremony, but I ended up coming away with the Precalculus award! Then, I got to stand up when they read out the athletes who had played sports in all three trimesters (this year I have played field hockey, cheerleading and lacrosse). After the awards were given out, the head of the Upper School, Mrs. Ross, made a small speech recognizing me and my impact on the school this year. She also thanked my host family, the Shosids, for their generosity in hosting me. Then I was invited up on stage to receive a book! It was a really nice way to end my time at Greenhill.

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After the ceremony, we had the junior (rising senior) class lunch in the courtyard, and we all received our yearbooks! Everyone was so excited about becoming the seniors of the school!

It’s weird to talk to all of my American friends about summer, because I know that in Australia, it’s actually winter, and I will be going back to school in about a month…I’m actually moving down a grade (because I missed a full year at my school), so I will have to make new friends again. But I feel as though that won’t be too hard considering I’ve become very skilled at meeting new people!

Something else I know that I will have to adjust to when I get back is the fact that no one back home has gone through this experience with me. I know that people will be interesting in hearing all about my year, but there’s only so much they will want to listen to. I was talking to one of my teachers Mr. Mercurio who said that I need to find an outlet where I can express my feelings and thoughts about my ASSIST year. He suggested that I either write it down in a journal, or find another student from ASSIST to share my experiences with. I actually have a few friends in Brisbane who were part of the ASSIST program this year, so hopefully I’ll be able to talk to them!

I only have 6 days left before I get on my flight back to Brisbane, Australia. In those 6 days, I need to pack, say goodbye to Dallas, say goodbye to my host family and close friends, and most importantly, thank all of them for the generosity and kindness they’ve showed to me. I have already said goodbye to the other Dallas ASSIST students. We all went out to an American restaurant to meet for the last time. It was really nice being able to talk to them about their years, and all reflect on how far we have all come since Orientation. Here’s a picture of our first meeting together 10 months ago, and our last meeting together.

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I’d like to wish all the other scholars a wonderful last few days/weeks in their American cities. And before I sign off, I’d like to thank ASSIST- I don’t think I will ever be able to fully express my gratitude for this organization. You have given me the greatest gift- an education at one of the most prestigious school in the nation, and an experience of a lifetime. I have not only learnt about American culture, but I have immersed myself in it, and I can’t wait to go back and share some of the things I have learnt with my community.

Until next time,

Lizzy

Half year through

When I applied to ASSIST, I never imagined how great this experience would be. It seems like yesterday when we were saying goodbye to everything back home and first got here, but it has been 5 months! I don’t really know how it ended up being Christmas. It’s not like I hadn’t seen any Christmas lights, listened to any Christmas songs or dressed up with Christmas sweaters a month before Christmas but I guess time goes by very fast.

My family came to visit me and that made me the happiest person ever! I have to admit I had missed my family more than anything and it’s hard being so far away… They arrived the last day of school before break and got to meet my school, teachers and friends. I think they liked everything as much as I do. Only my sister speaks fluent English but my friends tried to throw out some Spanish words. One of my friends told my parents “happy birthday” instead of “merry Christmas” but they knew what she meant so that’s good. On the 23rd, they came to dinner with my host family and it was one of the funniest things you could ever see. Bradlie (my host) got to practice her Spanish. It was nice that they got to see where I am and how great everyone is treating me. We later went to New York, which was so much fun, but they left on the 29th… That same day I came back to Philly and I was very glad I was going that same day to Lake Placid with my host family, because I knew how homesick I would have been that day.ImageImage

The funny part of all is that after packing again in an hour, one of the tires broke after 15 minutes! I guess that having 7 people, two dogs and all our suitcases was too much for the wheel. Lake Placid was fun! We went skiing one day and another day, we went snowmobiling. I had never been that cold! It was freezing! In New Year’s Eve in Spain we have the tradition of eating (chocking) 12 grapes the last 12 seconds of the year. Each grape means luck in every month and after you eat them all you make a wish. We all ate the 12 grapes (or 14 because we add 2 more in some cups) or unless we tried to! After a couple of days there, we went to a cabin in Hemlock Pond where we had to pull a 4-wheeler out of the pond. All the family came for a last Christmas reunion and it was nice to meet the other side of my host family.ImageImage

Now Christmas break is over and we are back at school. On Monday we started a program called JTerm in which each student selects a course to take during that period of time. There are courses about history, literature, photography, music, art… I am in “Escape from the Western Diet”. It is about food and how to eat healthy. We are going to cook next week and I am pretty excited about that! Tomorrow we are going to Chipotle to see how bad fast food is and then to a farm to see how quality matters. Today was 0F/-16C and I seriously froze so I hope it will be warmer tomorrow. Ohh tomorrow is HUUUUUMP day! Happy early hump day! hahahah I have a great obsession with this…

In three weeks I am moving to my next host family! This seemed so far away… This year has been great so far and I cannot wait to see what’s coming next (hopefully some warmer weather and some Spanish homemade food!).

Happy New Year!

Lucía

Thanksgiving in Texas

In the last couple of days I’ve been asked multiple times whether I celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia. And the answer is, no. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia…but gosh I wish we did!

After doing some research on the holiday, I learnt that Thanksgiving became a North American (and Canadian) tradition when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast in 1621. It’s known to be a time of families and friends coming together for a special meal- usually involving turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and of course, pumpkin pie!

My host family, the Shosids, have a tradition of taking part in the annual “Turkey Trot”, a fun run that starts in the Dallas City Hall Plaza. This year, I joined their family and ran in the 3 mile race! Although it was literally a few degrees above freezing point, I ran the whole race (I think it was because I knew I’d be warmer running than walking)! It was great fun.

After the Turkey Trot, we all went home and prepared for the big Thanksgiving dinner that was to be held at the Shosid’s house. Relatives from both sides of the family started to arrive around 3, to watch the Cowboys football game. There was about 35 people at their house! It was great meeting all of the family. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly to me, which I appreciated.

When the Cowboys game was over (they won, hooray!), we all got our plates and headed over to the food tables. We were also celebrating Hanukkah (since the Shosids are jewish), meaning that not only was there Thanksgiving food, but there was Jewish food! I can’t remember the last time I ate so much… If I can remember correctly, my plate consisted of: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn bread, normal bread, corn casserole, ham, kale salad, brussels sprouts and cous cous. IT WAS DELICIOUS! Except I felt incredibly sick after eating it all…

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Then it was time for dessert- my weakness. Somehow I still had room in my stomach for a bit of chocolate cream pie, pecan pie and pumpkin pie. I seriously don’t know how I hadn’t tried any of those before I came to the States!

As much as Thanksgiving is about the food, I realised that it is also a time of being thankful for everything I have. I’d like to thank my amazing host family for so generously looking after me these past few months. You’ve given me a wonderful gift, that I will always be thankful for. In addition, I’d like to thank my family in Australia- for their constant support and love. I feel so blessed to have such amazing people in my lives. And finally, thank you ASSIST! Without ASSIST, I wouldn’t be here today, having the absolute experience of a lifetime! Especially on this holiday, I feel incredibly grateful for all that this scholarship has done for me- broadening my knowledge on American culture and allowing me to try all of the amazing food!

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone,

Lizzy Cox

A bit about Richmond, VA

Hello y’all!

 

I guess it’s time for me to write something here and I’m not exactly proud of the fact that now, after eight weeks in the United States of America, I finally made time for the blog, but hey, better late than never, right?

 

So, let me tell you a bit about my adventure here.

 

I am truly happy to tell you that my host-family is being very nice to me – it is always funny when I have to explain how am I getting along with them – it just happened! It’s unbelievable – they opened up their hearts for another daughter/ sister and I am glad to say that I love the time spent with them. I have the cutest little brother and sister possible so it is a great fun.

 

Also, school started five weeks ago and, after the initial shock the first two of them, now I am getting comfortable with the environment. It is so much different from what I’m used to – the people, the teaching methods, the schedule (I had a hard time comprehending how the rotation of A Weeks, B Weeks and C Weeks works, but now all is good!), the very way you feel on campus. I am so thankful for being placed in that particular place – it really is the perfect match for me. Tomorrow, in fact, I am going on a fieldtrip to a performance in the Richmond Ballet and I’m super excited!

 

In addition to my first short post (from now on I’ll try to be consistent, although I can’t promise anything – time just flies faster here!), I would say that with the beginning of the fall and the absence of the humidity here, in Virginia (Richmond at least 😀 ), I feel way better and I am ready to see what this great adventure will offer me, without gasping for air every time I go out!

 

Greetings from me, I hope everyone is enjoying their year in the States!

 

Maria

A month in the States

We have been more than a month in our new American schools and I think we are all enjoying our year so far. School is hard! Or unless it is for me… There are tons of homework, quizzes and tests to be ready for and I get home so tired from soccer… But I really enjoy my classes. Today I got assigned a pen pal from 4th grade and his name is Nik!

Yesterday we had Vesper and Aurora Day! We were divided in Vesper (blue) and Aurora (white), and then into smaller groups according to my school stripes: self-control, honesty, respect… I was a Vesper and my stripe was respect. So we all played against each other in stupid games. We had to go up a hill in which they had put a plastic with soap!! In another game we had to ride a really small tricycle around campus…. It was so much fun!

Mr. Milne and Mr. Eidam from ASSIST came to visit Xander and I at EA. After the meeting, I realized how lucky we both are: we are in a great school, with great host families that help us so much and people are so nice to us. Also, we are all very fortunate to be here: “From a pool of 1,650 applications, 725 finalists were invited to an interview, and 161 were accepted as ASSIST Scholars (a 10% acceptance rate).”

To those who haven’t been to a football game yet, go to one!! They are so much fun! Two weeks ago, we had a “white-out” at the football game. Everyone wore white and everyone was so into the game! I didn’t actually understand anything about the game but we won! Two of the football players were taken out of the game and taken to the hospital… Football is pretty intense!

Living this experience makes me really happy! I have already gained so much and it has only been a bit more than a month…

Enjoy your days! I hope you are all having a great time!

Lucía

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School

School started on Wednesday and it has been pretty hard. I am in a school with all Americans as we are only three international students in the school: a Chinese, an Australian boy from ASSIST and me so I need to get used to the American classes. People have been very nice to me in the past days which is nice as everything is new for us. However, Americans love Spanish accent but hopefully, by the end of the year it will be gone.
We are on our way back from a soccer game in New Jersey! It is so much fun to travel with the whole team but I am so tired! I am literally going to sleep till midday tomorrow!
To sum up, school is hard and even harder if sports are intense! But being an international student is great! I am very thankful for ASSIST because this is the most incredible experience we will ever live. So thank you so much!
Lucía

PD* I couldn’t post it yesterday because my wifi was bad on the bus…

First day of school ’10th grade!

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Preseason

It has been already one week as I’m here in Chatham Hall, my new all-girls school in Virginia. I love it so far. It’s incredible how people are helpful. I wasn’t expecting that much help. 😉 And it’s not just casual helpfulness, but real need and will to help. Obrazek

Preseason is wonderful. I was in volleyball team this week, but we also had preseason for field hockey and cross country team. We all had 2 hours of practice twice per day. It was very challenging! I’m very happy that I came here for preseason, because it made me more self-confident before other international girls arrived. With other ASSIST students we had opportunity to meet 25 girls (including Old Girls) and our teachers, before school actually starts. It was an amazing time. I recommend everyone to take part in preseason even if you’re not doing the same sport in the fall. It’s a chance to adjust to school quicker and be done with every concussion tests, documentation and orientations in smaller groups.Obrazek

Yesterday we started our International Student Orientation. In my school we have around 20 international girls, mainly from China. They are all very nice. We had meetings about Math Department, Chapel Life (which was very interesting especially for girls from countries with different believes), Student Handbook, Courses, Student Life etc. They usually ask if we have any questions, but I always feel like all of them are answered before I even have time to think about them. It’s amazing how well-organised everything is.Obrazek

I’m looking forward next couple of days. Tomorrow every new girls are arriving and than on Monday old girls are coming. We will have busy days, but than at the end of the week we have a school trip to Washington D.C.! ❤

I’m sure you all have an amazing time in your schools! Don’t you?

Klaudia