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  

America

Orientation was an incredible experience! It was so much fun and even the last night we made last minute friendships! There were so many good moments that Orientation will be unforgettable.

My host family has been great to me and I’m falling in love with Tibby (the dog). The first day I visited my school was awful. I had soccer pre-season and it was so hard. Four whole hours of running and playing! Definitely, I wasn’t in shape so seeing the enormous campus after those intense four hours was really difficult. Now, I can say EA is an incredible school. The people I have met so far have been very nice to me and the school looks great!

For now, I have tried peanut butter, Reeses and loads of American candy. My host family has taken me to DC,to Passenger’s concert, to Mumford and Sons’ concert in New York (we had second row after waiting outside for six hours!), to King of Prussia (it is the second biggest mall in America or USA)… There are so many things to try and visit…

Today, I have two soccer games and afterwards, I am going to my first football game!! It is gonna be a long and exciting day.

This claims to be one of the best years of our life!

Lucía

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Orientation in Pomfret

The orientation in Pomfret was an unforgettable experience. In three days, I have some wonderful memories of my time with so many different people from around the world. I made friends with Germans, Austrians, Croatians, Bulgarians, Swedish, Moldovans, Vietnamese, Hungarians, Slovakians, Spaniards, Lithuanians, Polish, Palestinians, Somalilanders, Chinese and Italians (just to name a few!) I also became very close with the 6 other Aussies: Laura, Alana, Jade, Will, Alex and Eamonn who are an amazing bunch of people. It was incredibly sad on the last day, leaving behind all of those new friendships, however I’m sure I’ll see some of them in the future, when we visit each other’s countries!

This blog is a way for me to remember the great times I’ve had this year, so this is what I did for the three days in Pomfret:

On the first day, we all met each other in the dining hall. Mr Stanley gave his first speech. It was about being prompt! We learnt that in the US, people value being prompt and it is considered rude to be late! For most of the day, we stayed outside getting to know each other through activities. For lunch, we had a family style meal, where we had allocated seating. In the afternoon, we had a soccer game- Germany against the World (because half of the scholars are German!) And we ended up tying, a good result for everyone 🙂

We spent the whole of the second day in Boston. In the morning, we split up into groups and went on the Freedom Trail Tour around Boston city. We followed a 2.5 mile red brick-lined path through many historical sights. Our tour guide was very engaging- he told us all about the major events that occurred in Boston, including the Boston massacre. After the tour, we were given a little under two hours to get lunch at Quincy Market and go shopping! This was when I discovered how great shopping is in America! Next stop was Harvard University. We had another interesting tour around the campus where I learnt that the famous statue of John Harvard actually isn’t John Harvard! Turns out they lost all photos of Harvard in a fire, so they used Sherman Hoar as a model instead! After the tour, the scholars went to ‘the Coop’ and stocked up on Harvard merchandise. We got back to the Pomfret School in time for dinner and spent most of the night practicing for the Traditions of our Cultures evening.

The last day was spent mainly in the classroom. We learnt about expectations of American schools, host families, how to cope with stress and life after the ASSIST year. After our classes, we had an ASSIST photo, then photos with scholars from our own countries. Then it was the Traditions of our Cultures show. Each country did a performance that reflected their culture in some way. The Australians sung a mix of popular Aussie songs (‘Give me a home among the gum trees’, ‘down under’, ‘scar’ and ‘nosebleed section’) with Eamonn on the piano and Will on the saxophone. It was an awesome night that everyone really enjoyed! ASSIST’s class of 2013/14 are a very talented bunch of people! At the end of the performances, we all hugged, took pictures and said farewell to each other.

Thank you to everyone for making those three days as amazing as they were, and thanks also to the fantastic staff who made it all happen for us.

Elizabeth

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Newcomer

Hi everybody! It’s already been 10 days since I left home and got on the plane headed to Boston, and lots of things have happened during this time.

Sin títuloOn my way, I met some of the ASSIST scholars and we joined the rest of them in Pomfret, CT, where the Orientation was held. During 4 days, 161 students from all over the world got to know each other and shared new experiences together – it was almost magic. It wasn’t much time, but we took advantage of all of it: we visited Boston and “Hahvahd”, made a human chair, played our own world soccer championship, knew the traditions of different cultures, learned some useful tips for our year in the US and meanwhile, made tons of new friends!! Some of them we might never see again but, despite knowing Facebook’s the devil, I hope to keep in touch with all of them by Facebook 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASaturday arrived, and after four amazing days we had to say goodbye to our new friends. Some were lucky and reached their destinations in a few hours, but as you know I had to go to Utah, and that meant 3 flights, 18 hours of travelling and hoping my suitcases wouldn’t get lost. Finally I arrived, and although it was late in the night, my host family already made me feel like home (as you can imagine at this point first night questions were rather useless, and they turned out to be first-well-rested day questions). 

Next morning I could see better where I was, and to my surprise the landscape was pretty much like the area I live in – dry lands surrounded by mountains. However, this was the only similar thing, because everything else was completely different, just like in films! 

These last days have been great. My new family is so nice and with them I’ve visited my school and Salt Lake City; I’ve attended for the first time a talent show thanks to my host sister and her cousins who participated (and won!); I’ve been to the Aquarium and  I’ve seen The Mortal Instruments movie which I’d been looking forward to. Definitely, it seems like this is going to be an amazing year!

Andrea =)

Ready?

Dear all,

Tonight I am leaving.

I am leaving behind everything I have known my whole life. The friends I have been with since I was a kid; the family who has always been there for me; the place I call HOME. All this will stay here, continuing its life without me in it. The thought is kind of strange.

And me, I will travel for 20 hours in total until I finally reach Boston and meet everybody else, this time in person. I will step right into this adventure, following my dream, with just one suitcase and a backpack, ready to experience everything that it has to offer me. Or at least, I think I’m ready.

It is funny when you realize all that. I know what I have to do next. I know how things are supposed to be – different for sure – and I am willing to dive into them but I still cannot seem to comprehend it. This was the last time I saw those people for the next 10 months. I won’t be able to touch their hand or hug them whenever I want to. That was it. Now all I will do is write how are things going and occasionally hear their voice, so many miles away. Yes, I know things will be this way. I just can’t feel it yet. Funny, isn’t it?

And there’s that bed of mine. My cosy sweet bed I am now lying in while typing. I will miss that, too. It feels very strange – I am so used to those little things that I can’t imagine what will be like without them.

But this is why I am going, right? To feel something different. To see other perspectives. To realize that there are an awful lot of things outside my ordinary life that just wait to be noticed. To explore.

I hope things work out well. I hope that what is about to come won’t be too much for me to take. I believe I will try, though. And then just be. Be myself in this completely different world and feel how the pieces of the big puzzle slowly fall into their places.

Also, the excitement is about to come. I feel it somewhere down in my stomach, waiting for it’s time. The excitement of the first flight (wow, it was about time! 😀 ), of meeting so many new faces and of getting involved in something that is too big for me to see right now.

Something beautiful. And maybe a bit scary. But just maybe!

Have safe travels ASSIST scholars! Our adventure has just begun!

Maria