Monday, July 26, 2010

Flight Itinerary - YAY

Hey all! I know that it hasn't been all that long since I updated last but I have some new information since i updated last! I now have my official Itinerary for when I leave for RUSSIA!

So I found out that I have to be in New York City by 2 pm on August 17th so in order to arrange my domestic travel I called AFS and their travel department found it for me. Because I got the NSLI scholarship my domestic travel is included whereas a regular afs program, such as my program to italy 2 years ago, domestic travel is not included in the price of afs. I expected the process to be much more difficult then it was but arranging my domestic travel only took a total of 10 minutes. sooo now for the exciting news here is my plans for August 17 - August 20. yes that is 3 full days of travel!

On the morning of August 17th all have to leave my house at about 5 am in order to get to Madison on time for my 8 am flight. THe flight time is about 1 1/2 hours but due to the time change i'll arrive in NYC at around 1130. I'll have to find my way to another part of the airport to find afs staff and they will take me to the AFS orientation. We will stay in NYC until the 19th.

As far as I know we, the kids going to russia, will be the only group there on the 17th but on the 18th the kids that are going to go to Norway, Belgium, Hungary, and Switzerland (possibly more) so hopefully the orientation will be a little more exciting once they arrive! Especially because I have a friend, NICKY, that is going to belgium!! YAY

So on the 19th the russia group will leave NYC and fly to .... Washington DC... where we will unfortunately remain for about 5 1/2 hours before we take a night flight directly to MOSCOW!

So far this is all that I know about my travel information but in other news: I have started to hear from my host family! YAY! I have been emailing with my host mom a few times and she has told me that my older sister lives and studies in Moscow and that i'll go to school with my younger sister! So that is exciting!

I have also started to collect the things that I am going to need to take with me, Its a slow process but I want to get some of it done before that frantic last week!

I will leave you with one final thought: THREE WEEKS UNTILL I LEAVE!! It is officially 21 days until I leave my hometown for NYC!

Monday, July 12, 2010


привет (hello)

So i would like to start off this blog by appologizing as I have been quite the "absentee blogger" since i made my last post. So I've decided to do a quick update on what I've been up to since my last blog post culminating in the amazing news that I HAVE A HOST FAMILY!!!! okay sooo here I go.


Well after I was told that I had been accepted to the program I had to do a conference call with other people that had also been accepted to NSLI. Let me tell you that a conference call with over 50 kids that were just told they were exchange students is not easy and let me tell you it was LOUD! But we got some basic Information on the program and the Russia kids were told that we would need to start applying for our Visas immediately because as it seems the RUssian visa process takes a long time is rather complicated.

When I went on the AFS website about the russian visa process i was rather pleasantly surprised. IT WAS SIMPLE. well i guess that simple isn't exactly the correct word but when I remember back to how complicated the italian visa was to get..(I.E. all the paper work, not getting paperwork on time, making an appointment, going to chicago, and waiting nervously) the 2 page document that I had to fill out wasn't that bad. Granted i filled it out about 3 different times because it had to be done in black ink so mistakes weren't easily corrected. But I got it done and sent off and now all i have to do is wait until afs gets me my family and gives me back my passport at the gateway orientation.

Something that is only slightly exchange related. I have officially deferred college for next year. I will be attending John Cabot University in Rome, Italy from 2011-2015.

One last exciting bit of news about the month of may is.... I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL!! yay! i did it. Unfortunately for me (american) graduation doesn't mean that I am done with school. I will be in a regular russian high school whilst i am in russia so as it seems, i'm not quite done with high school yet but its worth it.

After 5 years and 3 countries I will finally finish high school in june of 2011!!


It was my first summer of being a high school graduate and frankly, I did nothing. my summer has consisted of ALOT of sleeping but honestly i've been enjoying it (what 18 year old wouldn't?). I started doing some more research for russia and thinking about the stuff that I needed to get.

I also decided that I wanted to get a Russian Tutor. I emailed the russian professors at Beloit College and they told me about a student that was interested in tutoring me. I decided to do 2 lessons a week until i left. So far they have been helpful!


So July started out quite uneventfully. July 4th was a sad day honestly. July 4th for me is no longer "independence day" but it is the anniversary of when I left Italy. This past July 4th was the one year anniversary that I have officially been back in the USA so I had some conflicting feelings about the day. Over all its been a good year but I really miss Italy and can't wait to go back!

Then on July 8th, the ONE day i didn't check my email every hour on the hour, my mom calls me and asks me "Kendra have you checked your email lately?" I ran up stairs to check my email and found a pretty little email that said:

Hi Kendra,

Great news! AFS-Russia has just provided us with information about your Permanent Host Family Placement! I’m sure your host family will be excited to hear from you, so we encourage you to get in touch with them as soon as you have a chance.

Whether you choose to call your family or post a letter, keep in mind that they may not speak English fluently. Now is a great time to practice the language of your host-country! (Keep in mind that there are many online translation services that are great resources for looking up individual words, but avoid using these for translating whole letters, since generally the results don’t make much sense!) It is okay to write them in English, but be sure to keep your message simple and succinct.

As always, let me know if you have any questions!


I was literally shaking and clicking franticly on the link that was sent to me that had information about my host family! I opened the attachment and found out that I would be studying in Uglich, Russia (click for Wiki article) which is in the Yaroslavl Oblast (oblast is like state).

Yaroslavl Oblast

Uglich (click for pictures) is located in the western part of the Yaroslavl Oblast on the Volga river.

So Uglich is a relatively small city, about 40,000 people that is located roughly 120 miles north of Moscow and about 30 minutes from Yaroslavl (which is the capital of the Yaroslavl Oblast and has about 600,000 people). It seems to be quite the touristy town because it seems that Cruise ships stop there between St. Petersburg and Moscow.

I dont know much about my family other then I have a Mother and two sisters. One of them is 2 years older then me and one of them is 2 years younger! I think that only the younger one lives with them but i'm not totally sure on that. I have emailed them but they havent responded to the email yet. My host sister (the younger one) did comment on my blog post (my italian blog)

kseniya said...
I am Kseniya from Russia. I and my mum will be a family this year! We are very happy:)We will wait you, I hope that we will well spend this year!
Do not miss:)

It made me so happy to hear from them! they seem so sweet!

I dont have any official departure dates but I have been told that i need to be in NYC for my departure orientation on August 17th unofficially. I'm hoping i get the official email soon!

до свидания (good bye)