I am using this blog to tell everyone what I'm thinking and doing beforehand, during and after my exchange year in Finland for 2011.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

District Orientation!

On Saturday it was the orientation for district 9520 and district 9500. It was up at a conference centre in Belair and it was freezing! There was 21 outbounds for 9520(my district) and another 8 from 9500. All the inbounds were there too and there must have been about 25 of them. I was the only outbound to Finland from both the districts but there was two inbounds form Finland and also a Rebound who did a presentation and it was really good to be able to hear all the amazing things she got to see in Finland. I talked to lots of the outbounds and the rebounds too. We didn’t really get much of an opportunity to talk to the inbounds because a lot of them left after lunch and most of them had only been in Australia for a couple of weeks so some of them were still learning English anyway. We had our blazers and rugby tops measured and we also had our photos for a business cards taken, given that it was raining and I’d just tried on 40 different tops beforehand, I am absolutely ecstatic about getting my business cards :/

After we’d had all the formalities and I’d met all the other outbounds and knew what countries they were off to we heard from two Rotarians about Rotary and youth exchange. After that we had a talk from Tim who was representing Terra Australis (our travel agents), he told us all about the visa process and gave us lots of tips on how to make getting to our countries as smooth as possible. Then we had a very formal lunch and we were all presented to everyone and we got a big applause, I almost tripped walking up the steps and almost died of embarrassment. Then we had a long talk from a psychologist who talked about dealing with homesickness and other emotions and problems that sometimes arise. I’d heard most of what she’d said from various CS people already! You guys are the best :D. After that we talked about safety and about the sort of precautions we need to take to ensure we’re not taken advantage of because being a foreigner can make you very vulnerable, especially if you aren’t fluent at the language.

After that, everything wrapped up and I think the main things I took from the day were:
-        Exchange students are awesome.
-        Learn as much language as possible.
       Ask heaps of questions and if in doubt SMILE!
       Plan, plan, plan and plan.
       Homesickness is a bundle of laughs.
       I need to get fitter :/

It was quite an enjoyable day despite the rotten weather! I didn’t end up going to the bonfire with my counsellors because dad was very sick and I didn’t feel that great either. I’m glad I didn’t because I woke up with a terrible headache and a sore throat the next day. I’m feeling better now and I’ve been doing lots of research on better language programs because the one I’ve been using is not working for me.

I have also been facebook stalking all the new inbounds who have just left Karkku and they’re all starting to put up pictures of Tampere and their home towns. Its fun until it’s over and I realise I still have 6 months left. I’m also friends with a lot of this years Aussie inbounds and mum’s always asking me to look at their pictures to see what they’re wearing so that I know what to buy :P

Anyway thanks for reading my blog! I know I post insanely long posts!
I have quite a few little flags on my counter now and it still makes me excited to see a new one! I think the most recent is Turkey!

My new word: terveydeksi which basically means “to your health” so it’s the equivalent of bless you but I wouldn’t have a clue if they actually say it when people sneeze! I know this seems like a strange word to learn but someone CS brought it up so we were all looking up bless you in our host languages.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New stuff, Milk and random planes!

I love the blogs with the awesomely random title so heres mine :)
I have officially started my second semester at school (Yay! I survived the first one) This means I have new subjects and new teachers! So far I am quite enjoying my new subjects, especially Earth and Cosmos. In other school related news I love my new elective, Genealogy, because it means we get to go to the state library and research our ancestors. I found the church that my great-great-great-great-great- grandparents got married in on Google earth! Its quite an addictive thing to do if you have the right resources. I am also going to Uni open day tomorrow and they have a talk on Uni exchanges so I hope to maybe listen in on that just to see what sort of options I might have. 

I have been collecting all my Aussie things and also pins and badges into my "exchange draw" and it is filling up fast! I have a kangaroo toy, a can holder with a kombi van on it, some SA cards and heaps of other Aussie themed things! I also bought a tiny soft reindeer from Ikea because it was so cute! My Nana also brought over some of Robyn's (my Auntie) old Rotary things so I now have a rotary bottle opener and a very cool black and white photo of my Auntie with her host club and their banner! I also got one of her business cards and that was in black and white too! I have my district orientation in 2 days! I'm really excited! Mostly to meet all the other outbounds but I hope we learn some helpful stuff too! The same day me and my parents are going to a bonfire bbq party thing at one of our clubs Rotarians olive farm. Its an annual thing that they do after they've picked all their olives, it should be good fun and i'll get the opportunity to talk to heaps of the clubs members. I also just remembered that the inbound for our club will be there too! I'm pretty sure she's from Austria so it will be great to meet her too! 

I was in biotech class the other day and I randomly came across this little table because we were researching pasteurisation. 
I'm not gonna lie that the fact that Finland's percentage is low was quite a relief because I detest UHT milk! I realise how weird this must sound but i'm sure that if you're an exchange student you know what its like to obsess over EVERYTHING about your host country, even their milk drinking statistics :P

And the random plane part of the title was that as I was witting this a plane flew over the house and A - I don't think i've ever seen a plane near my house before and B - it made me smile stupidly at the thought that I will soon be on a plane off to Finland! (you see what I did there :P)

Thats all for now! Oh all the Finnish Inbounds for 2010 are all in Karkku right now! Hopefully soon they'll get to their host families houses and I can hear all about how their first week in Finland went! 

I'll be sure to blog after orientation, thanks for reading!