Saturday, April 23, 2011

So... Any Questions?

Okay, just like Emma, (Her Blog Link) & many other YES Abroad finalists; I've gotten so many questions asked. I'm not that sure where exactly I'll be hosted in Thailand, but just the fact I'm going there is so amazing. P.S. The idea for this blog post was by Emma:D
So the typical Question.... "Where is THAILAND?"
Patong Beach, Phuket
So for those of you who don't pay attention in geography class, [JayKay] Thailand is located on the southern-east part of Asia with a western border of Burma (also known as Myanmar). The North Eastern border is Laios. In the far south of the country, near Phucket, there you find Malaysia. The coastline is long; along the west of the country, the Andaman Sea borders the country. Imagine all the gorgeous beaches.. Yeah, I hope I'll see that!

"What are you gonna eat? Don't they eat like bugs & stuff?"
Pad Thai
Hot & spicy! Duh! My parents are originally from Mexico, so that makes me feel back at home. Fresh vegetables and herbs.. Yum! Rice is a major part of Thai cuisine too; I live off of rice. Trust me, that is some really good and delicious stuff right there!!! Then the famous Pad Thai! This is mostly noodles and vegetables, but can have many other herbs, types of meat, seeds, ect. & noo! Bugs normally aren't in the recipes for typical Thai food. For my Utahans, Thai Lotus Cafe.

"What about all of us? Won't you miss me/us or get home sick?"
Uhg! I love all my family members and friends and of course an academic year is a little bit long but yes, I know that I will get homesick... But that is why there is Skype, e-mail, Facebook, calling, & snail mail. Also, I will have a host family that will get me though it and all the pimpy activities I will be doing in Thailand. I'm making my last 10 weeks in the U.S (10 weeks starting from the 22nd of April). The best way to make these last couple of weeks the best is if I incorporate in them too. Hanging out with my friends as much as I can!

"When do you leave?"
I leave Utah on the 28th of June to go to Washington D.C. with 49 other scholarship winners. From there, I will head off to Thailand on the 1st of July.

"Dude! Why'd you pick to go so far away?!"
So if you don't know by now, the scholarship I applied to sends students to countries with significant Muslim populations. YES Abroad sends 50 students to 10 countries (this year, it was 9 due to the revolution in Egypt) also, I had no choice on what country I would get. Luckily for me, I got my number one pick. You don't have a preference, but they do ask you if you got to chose your future host country. Out of the 9 countries, there is Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mali, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Thailand, & Turkey.

"So... What will you be up to there?"
Go to school as if I lived there forever! Be part of a family for a whole year, do activities regarding YES Abroad, & the most important one: Being a cultural ambassador. I will show what life in America is and how some of the turn outs are. I really hope I can do my job as a cultural ambassador the best of my ability and I will put forward the most I can. The best way I can show that is by being very optimistic and open to the new world.  

"Didn't one of the biggest tsunamis happen there, aren't you scared?"
The Indian Ocean earthquake was on the 26th of December, 2004. There was 4,812 casualties, 8,457 injuries, & 4,499 reported missing as the country was hit. But Thailand wasn't the only country affected by this earthquake. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Malaysia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Thailand. The total numbers for all of the countries were 230,210 casualties. I feel devastated & my heart goes out to all the families that were affected by this natural disaster. But things happen for a reason, & even though we can't clearly see that reason at the time... Answers will come and the sun will shine again. 

 "You kinda hate the weather here, how's it like in Thailand?"
I'll be expecting some hot and humid days in Thailand! Yay! Since Utah is never hot enough:P But it's all good! Better than having a day when it's really nice & sunny then go to another day where it is snowing, raining, and really cloudy! April & May are known to be the hottest months during the whole year.

"& the most constant one: Aren't you scared since you don't have an idea of who you'll be living with?"
There are 4 people I know that will be going to Thailand with me as well. There is Tyler, Heather, Gemma, & Sage.The last time I saw any of them was in Denver for the IPSE (March 19th-21st) except for Sage, I go to school with her[: But other than that, all my new peers will be part of the learning experience because I don't know anyone else! My host family will be one of the first people I will make real acquaintances with! I'm excited... Can't wait to make so many new friends now!

Still have questions? Don't mind asking me or you can always Wikipedia itAFS Thailand, or any other reasonable source[:
ลิซาเบ ธ

Friday, April 15, 2011

More Updated Info and The Conference Calls

So yesterday, (the 14th of April) we learned a little more information on the program and when I will be leaving for Thailand! We normally would get informed through an e-mail, but today it was through a conference call. On June 28th I will be leaving to go attend a pre-departure orientation in Washington D.C. From there, I will stay there until July 1st which is when I will be departing the United States for Thailand. I'm so excited for Washington as for Thailand too! I've never been to D.C., so this will be so interesting!

On the conference call tonight, I got so many of my confusing questions cleared and out of the way. We talked about many things and the most important for me was the fact that schooling in Thailand will earn me credits that I can use back in the U.S. Allen Evens was the conference call coordinator tonight,and explained to us that more often the classes I will take be taking abroad will still count as part of my sophomore year of high school. I have to take two credits on English next year, but if I take an AP class dealing with English or speaking; I'll be fine! As for all my other graduation requirements, science will probably be on the list to double as well. But it's all good, I like school and there always is EHS, (Electronic High School). 

The biggest and one of the most important pieces of information that I learned today though was that I would be leaving a whole month and half earlier than what I first thought of! I won't be her for the Brad Paisley/David Archuleta concert... It's funny because I don't even like Brad Paisley.. Ahaha. The concert is on the 2nd of July, and I leave the States on the 1st. I'm kinda bummed because I was expecting for a little more time here in the U.S., but at the end of the day, I'm honestly completely fine with it. I'm gonna make my last 2 and half months to go the best thing the world has seen yet! I love how so many of my friends say that I hate them because I'll be leaving them for a year; even though if they're kidding. I'm so excited to go on the exchange, but at the same time I'll miss them. But that's why we have welcoming host families right? Yeah, I'm still really excited!

My mom was with me when I first got the e-mail to notify my acceptance into the program. She cried. But I was crying as well because I got the scholarship. Ahrg, but now, she is positively fine with me going and I am so very happy. And let's not forget proud, she was proud to make it to the top 74 to even start off of.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Beginigs.

La, La, La.

Oh my wow. The first post was back in January I think.. Now it's April! Ahhh! So news from AFS! I want to Denver, CO March 21st to an In-Person-Selection-Event.. Basically an interview and then group evaluations. Monday the 11th of April... I'M GOING TO THAILAND. How many people have that opportunity!?! It's simply amazing! I have a conference call at 3 on the 14 with the YES people. I am gonna miss everyone. People are treating me like I'm leaving in a couple of days.. When I leave Utah on the 28th of June. That's still a lot of time right? Yeah, I sure do hope so! Ahrg. But none the less, I'm very excited to take on this amazing opportunity that I know won't come around twice: A scholarship to study one academic year in Thailand.. Learn Thai is what I'm the most excited about and meeting my host family... AND just about everything else! AHHHH! Yay. Already starting to learn Thai. It's soooo hard! But the process is really fun, and that is when I'm still in the U.S.!

Truth is...
Not gonna lie, there was multiple times that I was having second thoughts on going on the exchange. Sometimes I thought I should just stay here.. The main reason was because of someone who made a really big impact in and on my life... But while in Denver, I met a girl and she had the exact same situation as me. She got accepted to YES Thailand and the only reason she almost didn't take the scholarship was because her boyfriend and how she didn't want to leave him and vice versa. The ending to that story was that she did end up taking the scholarship and she had the time of her life. I want that, I really want to experience the world in different eyes and a whole academic year in Thailand will get me that. A year with-out that ONE special person will prove many things for me at the end. I think it's so funny me saying all this stuff about the 'One' person when I'm just about to turn fifteen, on the fifteenth; Learner's permit soon! (My birthday is this Friday! Week of 4-10[Starting Monday] )  Wow, I get so distracted! But back to this topic heading, this is what is gonna be applied to me at the end; not the story but only a chapter.. "If you love it, let it go... And if it comes back to you, it's yours forever."

The Buddies.
Who wouldn't miss their friends? I have no idea on how much I'll miss all these children. And honestly, I really don't wanna think about it! The time difference is sooo big! GRR. I'm making a collage of pictures, all of the SL,UT (LOL. haa) memories will be on there. Then while in Thailand, I hope there will be many made there as well. So stroked! I have the biggest deprived list, and I hope by the time I leave, that list will be so much more smaller. Email and Facebook will be the new way for me to communicate now. No biggie, I do that anyways[: Yeahh. I think what I'll miss the most from them is just how we communicate over the funniest and randomest things there is. I'll miss how shocked they get when I tell them I haven't tried something they've had since they were like 4. 

Get At It!
Basic Facts About YES
YES Abroad is a sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. It provides full scholarships for 50 American students to live in countries with significant Muslim populations for a full academic year.
YES Abroad was authorized by Congress after the events of September 11, 2001. YES exists to let Americans learn more about Muslim communities as they learn more about Americans. The goal is to “build bridges of international understanding.”
  • Students must be U.S. Citizens
  • High school students when applying
  • Age 15-18.5
Available Countries
  • Egypt**
  • Ghana*
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Mali (semester)
  • Malaysia*
  • Morocco
  • Oman
  • Thailand
  • Turkey*
* – Designates countries available as gap years.
** – Due to the 2011 revolution, Egypt was not available for this year.

The Application Process:

What I did:
I heard about the scholarship about 3 to 4 days before it was due.. And let me tell you, I gave it my all to get if finished! The application does seem a little bit long, but when you something like this so bad, the application becomes smaller and you wish you had more questions and longer answers. My top choices were: Thailand, India, Turkey, and Indonesia. They went in that order too. Luckily for me, I got my top choice! Studding abroad in Thailand. The best part about being part of the selection process was the IPSE in Denver, Colorado. Everybody there was so open and we all bonded so quickly that the weekend never did feel like it was only three days. We all still communicate with each other, and the only down side of this is that some of the people we met in Denver, they didn't make it to the finals. Out of 600 people who started the application, 75 went to Denver. Out of those 75, 50 are now selected to study abroad with The Kennedy-Lugar YES Abroad program.

Well I'm out.. Peace! ดีฉันออก .. ศานติ

<3/ Elizabeth [LiZ:]