Saturday, 13 September 2014

AFS Returnee Camp

On the weekend of the 30/31st August I travelled to Wellington along with around 30 other recent returnees to attend the AFS Returnee Camp. The group of us had all met the year before at our pre-departure camp and were super excited to see each other again so that we could share the experiences that we’d had the past year.
Tayla (went to Chile), Lilly, Emily, Rose (went to Belgium)

Going to the camp I’d expected that we would be talking about our exchanges, sharing stories and learning about which things we could have done differently during the year but the camp turned out very differently. The first day we did talk about our exchanges and share stories as we had all expected but the following days were very focused on our futures. In our free time and in the evenings we shared stories and learnt new things about other cultures and countries most of us could only dream of visiting, however the organised activities were focused around university, career, voluntary and leadership options that we were all now going to be faced with. I thought this was extremely useful because after returning home from a year away I think many of us had changed the ideas that we had for our futures and needed some guidance.

Lilly, Emily, Hamish (went to Venezuela) 

During our last evening in Wellington we had a bonfire complete with marshmallows and smores. For me this was one of the highlights because we had time to spend together as a group who although in reality didn’t spend the year together as such, shared many experiences and learnt similar lessons alongside each other.

- Emily

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

28 days left!! It is so crazy to think that next month we will be in Italy! 

Since our last blog post we have been very busy getting our visas sorted, practicing Italian, sorting out travel cards and getting things ready to take. We also had a chapter meeting at the end of last month which was a mid Christmas dinner! This is a photo of some of us students who were there at the meeting. We took the photo just before we left so many students were not there when the photo was being taken. It was our last chapter meeting before we leave! 

From Left: Charlotte (going to Norway), Belén (from Spain), Felix (from Germany), Lilly (Me), Marc (from Spain), Emily and Roman (Felix's host brother).

Emily and I also decided to create our own separate blog. We thought this will be easier for people to keep up to date with each of us. We will both have different experiences and it will be interesting to see how it will differ. Emily will be in the north and I will be in the south of Italy. 

We will still be using this collab blog of ours too so if we post on our separate blogs we can make sure to update you that we did on here! 

Time is passing by so quickly, can't keep up!! Our host families are waiting for us and it is just so exciting! 

Until next time!!! 28 days to go!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Pre-Departure Orientation Camp

On Queens's Birthday weekend (31st May-3rd June) we travelled to Wellington for the AFS orientation camp. We went on the plane with two other boys from our chapter, but there was around 60 of us in total at the camp. This was the first year they did the nationwide camp so we were really lucky to get to go to it. It was great because not only did we get to meet everyone going to Italy with us (about 8), we got to meet everyone going to other countries around the same time! 

At the camp we did team building activities, games and learnt heaps about our exchanges. They taught us about things like culture shock and communication styles, some of that stuff was kind of boring but we knew it would be useful in the long run. We also did a lot of activities in our host country groups which meant we got to know everyone going to Italy better and talk to a volunteer who came back from Italy a couple of years ago. It was awesome talking to her because she had so much useful advice and interesting stories to tell us about her exchange in Italy.

All in all it was such a fun camp and we met so many amazing people! Watch the video for more about it -->

We're hopefully going to be doing another post soon about visas and everything else that we're doing now in preparation for the exchange, so keep your eye out for that :) 67 days!!!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

We have flight details!

Today we got an email with our flight details! We leave Auckland on the 5th of September with Emirates flying to Dubai where we stay for about 4 hours and then fly on to...ROME!! YAY! We come home on the 6th of July 2014.

Now that we have our host families and flight details this is so so real!! Soon we should get a list of all of the other students going to Italy and then we'll meet them at the orientation camp in Wellington which we're going to at the end of May. We're planing on making a YouTube video at this camp so stay tuned! :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

I have a host family! :D - Emily

So today I was at school when I got an email from AFS to say I HAVE A HOST FAMILY!! :D They sound so amazing and I'm so happy they're going to be my family. I can't wait to talk to them! They live in Cesena which is in the north of Italy in the region Emilia-Romagna which is one of the places I really wanted to go to in Italy!! I have two sisters one who's about 6 months older than me and one about 6 months younger, a Mum and a Dad... oh and a pet hamster which is so cool because we don't have hamsters in NZ!! They honestly sound so perfect!! SO HAPPPPPPYYYY!! :D

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

In the newspaper again!

Some of our friends at school told us the other day they had seen us in the newspaper again! This time it's about the donation that the Lion's Club kindly gave us.

Time's going so fast and soon even we'll be in Italia :D We've been told we should get flight details this month which will make the whole thing seem so much more real! 149 days until September!! BRING IT ON! :)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Generous donation from the Lion's Club!

At the end of last year we wrote a letter to the local Lion's Club telling them about our exchanges and asking if they could help in any way. A couple of weeks ago they phoned us with AMAZING news!! They said they would give us $500 each towards our exchanges! :D Today we went along to one of their meetings and were presented with the cheques! The Lion's Club is such a great charity who help so many great causes. We are so, so thankful they chose to help us out, it's going to make such a huge difference! :)