Sunday, June 10, 2012

New family! New school! New life! Oh My!

For the past few days my host mom, Lupe, and I have been exchanging tons of emails. We have a very nice system going: she sends the email while I am sleeping in USA and it is day in Spain and I reply when it is day in America and night time in Spain. I have recently picked my classes for the school I will most likely be going to. The mandatory classes are: science for the modern world, P.E., philosophy and citizenship, Spanish language and literature, English, and a study skills class (I'm not entirely sure that this is a correct translation, but close enough for me). Then I got to choose between two "schools": Humanities and Social Sciences or Science and Technology. I chose Humanities and Social Sciences and within the category you have to choose one of several groups. I chose the group containing History of the Modern World, Latin 1, and Economics. For my elective, I chose Applied Statistics. This isn't all final, but it is the plan. My (natural) mom called me crazy for choosing Latin but we made a deal, I could take Latin if I made the math class my elective because she thinks it is important for me to take a math class while abroad (and she is right). When I told my host mom what I had chosen, she asked if I really wanted to take Latin, I inferred this as "you are crazy" :) looks like both my moms have a lot in common already! My logic is, I don't need this class to count at my school in the USA, so why not take it?

So, I still haven't received my official information about my host family, but waiting and AFS go hand and hand. This process has taught me a lot of patience, though, so I guess it is okay.

I can tell my Spanish is improving daily, so that is very positive! I am constantly learning new words, verbs, and conjugations. Thanks to my emails with Lupe, (best site ever), and my Spanish-English dictionaries (yes, I have more than one haha).

Last weekend I had my PDO, or Pre-Departure Orientation. There were 12 of us and it was way more fun than I thought it would be! I met lots of new friends, and I got to meet Ryan, a girl from my area also going to Spain! We talked about our expectations and concerns, it was a good way for me to figure out what my expectations/concerns were because I had never really thought of them before. Overall, it was a very fun and informative day! Next orientation will be in New York, and then in Madrid!!!  New favorite quote that I learned at the PDO: "It's not good, It's not bad, It's just different" Completely True.

 Here are pictures of my host family! They were sent to me today by Lupe and I was sooo happy when I saw them!!I love new family already!!
Emma and Javier

Lupe, Javier, Emma, and Luis

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spain...three. months. away. So excited!

Hello! I am Shannon Williams and I live in Carmichael (which is basically Sacramento), California. I just finished my sophomore year of high school and I will be studying abroad in Spain for my junior year. I have been doing preparations for this year since beginning of freshman year and I am an so excited that the time has come to embark on this journey of a lifetime!

It was very hard to get my school to allow me to leave for a year, and when they finally agreed I felt accomplished something; I now had my school's support. I turned in my long and extensive application and on April 17th I got my acceptance email from AFS. It was one of the best days ever! But the day that was even superior was when I was contacted by my host family (unofficially, I might add) on May 31th. Normally, when people would ask me where I  was going I had to say "I don't know" but now I get no more confused looks because I can finally tell them where I will be!  My host family did not give me a lot of information because I think they assumed I had already received their host family profile. (Note, I still have not received it and I have been told by AFS it can take a few weeks, bummer) After a reply back to them, I found out I will be living in Ponferrada, Spain with mom (Lupe), dad (Luis), 13 year old sister (Emma), and 9 year old brother (Javier). Being the youngest of 4, having younger siblings has been a dream and now I have 2!! I could not be happier with my placement. The family, the school I will be attending, and the beautiful city; it is all too perfect.

This blog will serve as a way for mass communication to let people back home know how everything is in Spain.  While abroad I hope to update this weekly, but who knows! :)