Friday, 24 June 2011

Secret Whisperings (Except not actually secret nor is anyone whispering)

What is Indonesia like? How is Indonesia? (Not sure that second question even makes sense) These are the type of questions that don't really mean anything and also kind of make you sound stupid. But they're kind of legitimate questions when you're about live in a country. So instead you have to ask about the specifics or just trust that the person you're asking will somehow know that you want to know everything about the country and knows how to give you those answers. (major run-on. I try but not really)

So here's what people like Ella, past foreigner exchange student Flan (here's her blog), the AFS booklets and others have told me about my new country .
  • Time is different. "Rubber time" is what they call it because it's all flexible and bendy (like rubber ;) ) So if I'll have to be patient and get used to waiting I guess. I don't think I'll mind but who knows. Being late - that I can do.
  • Hugging is not cool. At least with the opposite sex.
  • Students will kiss their teacher's hands to show respect.
  • Traffic is bad. I read this one blog where the lady was whining and practically crying over how bad it was. I hope she was exaggerating.
  • I'll probably have a maid.
  • The food is good. Ella described it as being similar to Indian and Thai food. They have lots of different kind of rice dishes, not just the usual white rice. I'm expecting good things.
Those are some of the things I've heard. I'll be able to tell you how true they are when I get there. Less than two months from now I'll be leaving. I still don't have a departure date or visa and haven't finished my shots. I leave for DC this Tuesday though (my birthday) for 4 days of learning how to be a great open minded exchange student. Also there will be square dancing. I'll be sure to post about it after I come back in July.

I also might have a host family. But I don't know how sure it is so I'm keeping a bit mum. I'll tell you all I know once I know for sure.

Monday, 13 June 2011

What you want to know

So yesterday (and by that I now mean a week ago) I met with Ella. She's an Indonesian girl here in LA on the YES scholarship. That makes us opposite twins of course. She's going to be in Indonesia when I am and we'll also see each other on the plane to DC on the 28th and at the actual conference too.So in honor of having met her (and also because I haven't said much about Indonesia yet) I will give you guys some information (just the official stuff not the random hearings. that'll come later) about the country I have to spend 10 months of my life in.

The Republic of Indonesia

Located in Southeast Asia. Borders Malaysia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea
It's an Archipelago. Made of 17,508 islands
Jakarta is the capital.
I'll be in either Jakarta or Surabaya.

Language: Indonesian (with some local dialects)Has a population of ~245.6 million people. The Island Java is the most populous in the world and Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world. O_O
Religion: 6 religions are offically recognized. Indonesia is 86.1% Islamic (has the world's largest population of Muslims) 5.7% Protestant, 3% Roman Catholic, 1.8% Hindu, and 3.4% other (Buddhist, Confucianism, animist ect.)

History. Really quickly (and horribly) because I don't feel like just repeating stuff
Obviously it is very long.
There was a period of Dutch rule. Then a period of Japanese rule. Then there was complicated times where the Dutch wanted to rule but Indonesia wanted it's independence and there was some wars/battles/rebellion. Anyway the end result was Indonesia was independent with Sukarno as it's president.
The current president is Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

And because I've learned the importance of citing I will tell you I've learned this from the CIA factbook and wikipedia pages on Indonesia. Also I'm reading lonely planet's book on Indonesia. So yes.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

What to do now

I didn't mention this but I'm already out of school. Yup I've been finished with my sophmore year at Archer for about 4 days now, not counting the weekend. I have already read all my yearbook comments (that thing was full as heck let me tell you). I've hugged all my teachers, some of them for the last time. So now I'm sitting at home, sleeping, reading, and eating. I can't do anything. I'm not old enough to drive. My friends can't either. My whole family is still at school/work so they can't take me places. And my school is one of the earliest to get out so it's not like I can hang with non-Archer people either.
But I do have plans/ideas/wishes for this summer so here they are...
  1. Learn some Indonesian. Yeah it's not a language that's really in right now so I have to do some searching for the right place to get all the info. But there's always Live Mocha and BYKI (which I've started, terima kasih (that means thank you))
  2. Find a job. Maybe possibly ... I'm not even 16 until the end of June so this is a real hopeful plan.
  3. Find out everything about Indonesia. I'll need to go to the library, do some more hardcore internet searching, ect.
And for my actual calender here's what I have:
  1. Friend's birthday this weekend.
  2. Hang out with a girl from Indonesia who is actually here on the YES Scholarship. It's great. We'll be at the Pre-departure Orientation (PDO) together (well her farewell one) and then in Indonesia at the same time.
  3. My brother graduates middle school soon.
  4. Father's day. My grandpa is visiting that week too.
  5. Then that last week of June it's my birthday and the PDO.
  6. In July I'll hang out with all the people I won't see next year.
  7. My mom's birthday comes the 17th.
  8. Finish getting the rest of my shots. I was one of the kids who's never had shots before so I'm getting all of them now. I've done 10 shots/ rounds so far and have at least 4 more. So that's fun
  9. August- Time to pack, buy gifts for my host family, and go.
So that is everything on my schedule. Once everyone gets out of school work The Summer of Beautiful Things will start. People that actually want to read about my exchange might not be so interested until I actually leave in August. But for the life of me, I can't stop messing with this blog. Yea I'm really bored. So until the next time. Have a nice exciting day for me.

Monday, 6 June 2011

YES Abroad Love and Explanation

So I'll explain the YES Abroad Program because when I throw those words around nobody actually knows what I'm talking about.
So the Kennedy-Lugar YES Abroad program is a scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Department of State for American high school students to live for a year in a predominantly Muslim country. YES Abroad students are ambassadors of their home communities and become connections between the US and the country they receive. When choosing students to receive this scholarship openness, flexibility, an interest in other countries, and a commitment to sharing the experience and knowledge they've gained abroad are key factors. While the YES Abroad program administers the scholarship, there are specific exchange programs that manage the students within the country. These programs include AFS, American Councils for International Education, iEarn, and Amideast. YES countries include India, Morocco, Thailand, Ghana, Mali (the only semester program available), Oman, Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt (except not this year) and Indonesia. What administering program you get really depends on what country you get. I'm an AFS kid.
Now there is also a YES program which is much the same but reversed; Muslim students come to the US to be hosted. The YES program is also much larger. The inbounds come from so many more places like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, Tanzania, Kenya, the Philippines, and Yemen just to name a few.
To be eligible for the YES Abroad program you have to be between 15 and 19 years old and either be in high school or have just graduated. You have to be open to being placed in any of these countries because there is no guarantee you will get a specific one. If you're interested in applying this website will be your best friend. They also can put much more elegantly what YES Abroad is all about.

Just to give you a picture of what YES has looked like so far. Here are some pictures of the In Person Selection Event (aka interview) in Denver that I talked about last time. Super fun.

This was Group 6's tower. One of our tests was to build a tower without talking. Obviously we were great. Our whole group recieved the scholarship and are going different places. There are 2 Omans, an India, a Malaysia, a Turkey and me to Indonesia. Oh and I'm second to last on the right.

Every semi-finalist for YES Aborad program. 50 of us are going abroad. I wish all 74 of us could have made it.

I'm so glad I applied. I've met so many wonderful people already, both YES and YES Abroaders. Some of the YES Abroaders have blogs too which I have helpfully linked over there -->. You're welcome. The next time I see everyone will be in DC in about 2-3 weeks. We have a Pre-departure Orientation and then Thailand and India students will be traveling to their countries after that. I'm really nervous-excited for them. I leave some time in August so a perfect amount of time to soak in California wonderfulness.
Oh how I will miss thee <3.