As far as orientations go, there were two RYE Fl statewide orientation weekends. They were both held at the beautiful Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center (me and my sarcasm again!) in Leesburg FL (a.k.a. the middle of nowhere).
The first orientation was in January. This orientation happened a little over a month after I found out what country I was going to! It was amazing! I made tons of friends (there's over 75 of us) and had the time of my life. That orientation was mainly focusing on language and learning about Rotary International and Rotary Youth Exchange International & FL. At this orientation, I was really excited because I took a picture of myself with the Danish flag for the first time! See:
The second orientation was last weekend. Before that orientation I was only able to say that I had RYE friends, and now I can honestly call them my RYE family! We basically spent the entire weekend bonding.... although RYE FL claims it was for "cultural boot camp"! That weekend we played tons of fun and... interesting games (oh and the games usually had some multi-cultural twist that we weren't aware of at first). I don't want to say too much so that if future students end up reading this then I can't be the blame for ruining the surprises. Basically we had a psychologist (Dr. Dennis White) who specializes in culture shock come and create zillions of fun cultural difference simulations and we all had fun! This is our group picture of all the exchange students from my graduating class of RYE FL (that's right... we all graduated from cultural boot camp and we have the certificate to prove it.... it's okay you can be jealous, we understand!):
In between the two orientations, the main event for my district was the district conference. It was a two day event in May (the Rotarians are well known by us now for their perfect timing.... the Friday was an AP exam day and the Saturday was an SAT testing day... great planning!) that all of the inbounds and outbounds from my district attended. Friday was the big flag ceremony (sorry no picture :( but I wish I had one), lunch with Rotarians (very interesting!), an amazing speaker who survived polio, fun and games at the YMCA, and an insane sleepover at the YMCA.... a very busy day obviously! Saturday we woke up (with the help from a little Starbucks coffee that a nice Rotarian brought us.... the ballet room floors don't make for a good night's sleep!), did some activities, and then did a huge service project! Here's a picture of some of the group at the service project:
Aside from those 3 jumbo-events, the only other event that happened for the most part was the District 6970 language camp. All the future outbounds spent a day at a local community college with people fluent in our future languages. We practiced our speeches and learned some basic phrases.
Now.... the fun part! My new home! Beginning on June 9th, I began getting emails from my 4 host families. I won't bore you with all the personal details but here's the basics:
- Family 1: Will just be my host parents, their cat, and me. Their children all live out of the house.
- Family 2: I'm going to have a sister!!!!!! They have 3 daughters, but only 1 still lives with them (the other 2 have already moved out). My new sister is currently on exchange in Australia but will be back in time for me to live with her! They have a cat too!
- Family 3: It will just be my host parents and me. They have children but they've all moved out. The parents are both retired school teachers. They don't have any pets :( which I wanted but they were so nice about it and I think I'll absolutely love living with them (I get to be an only child for 1/2 of the year next year for the first time in my life!)
- Family 4: I will have a brother (when I first heard that I thought "oh great so much for a year without a bratty younger brother like I have now" but it's cool because I will finally have an older brother! He's 19 and sounds really nice!). Oh and the family has a dog so when I miss my doggies I can just hug their dog!
So maybe I did go a tad overboard with details that only I care about.... sorry I have a tendency to talk on and on and on (especially when I'm excited!), just ask my friends and family! But I promise I'll try (but still no guarantee) to be brief about my town....