As you might have been able to tell, my name is Liz and I am going Italy! Im 17 and I am going to be a senior in high school. I leave in about 10 days for a little town called Castel Rozzone, about 45minutes outside of Milan. It crazy to think that I will be leaving my little town of Duxbury, Massachusetts and flying across the Atlantic and living with a new family, in a new town, going to a new school, making new friends... its going to be an amazing adventure.

I have known about the organization of AFS for a few years. My freshman year of high school my mom made me join a club at school and I remember looking at the long list of choices and choosing the first one, which was AFS. I ended up loving it, hosting kids my age from places like Germany, Thiland, Greenland, Norway, Indonesia... After many talks with my parents I figuared out that maybe I could go abroad with AFS. I remember looking at the many, many options and narrowed it down to 5 countries. Australia, New Zeland, Italy, Argentina, and Spain. After weighing all my options with the countries, and trying to figuare out which one would work best. I finally picked Italy as my first choice, New Zeland as my second and Australia as my third. With my pre-application I was constantly changing my choices thank goodness for white out!

After a lot of paperwork and time I got an email from my advisor saying "Congratz you have been accepted to Italy!...." I was so excited, finally I knew I was going somewhere. To me there are three parts of becoming an exchange student:

1. Getting accepted to a country

2. Getting a host family

3. Getting a visa and passport

After being accepted to Italy I had to do a lot more waiting to get a host family. The entire time your waiting people will say "oh ive heard your going to Italy, where are you stay?" And you have to sadly tell them "Im not sure yet, I dont have a host family yet..." It makes you feel like a puppy waiting for a nice family to take you to there home. Fortunetly I found out in about 4 or so weeks that I had a family that live near Bergamo, Northern Italy.

I was sooo excited that I would be living in the North, I dont mind the cold weather, being from Boston and my town is near the mountains and Ive always wanted to ski. I got a sweet email from my host family saying welcome, and that they were very excited to have me as a part of their family. I have a mom, a dad, an 18 year old brother named Alessandro and a 14 year old sister named Ottavia. My host brother had spent a year in Michigan with AFS so his english is great and knows how AFS works. He also plays lacrosse like I do. My host sister is the same age as my sister, and she love to dance and travel. My parents both seem very kind, sweet, fun, and hard working people. They love to go to the mountains in the winter to ski and to Venice on their boat to see friends. I am so excited that I have a great family, I couldnt be happier with everything!

The last part in waiting is getting your visa and passort. Luckily I already had my passport so I got to skip a few steps. But getting a visa, is the hardest and most annoying thing I have ever had to deal with. There is so much paper work, phone calls, and signings you think to yourself "is this ever going to end??" I had to call the Boston Consulate for about a month and no call back from them. Thank goodness for AFS they really helped me get an appointment and get all my paperwork. Today I picked up my visa, and the biggest rush of relief came with it. I thought to myself, finally I did it, I have everything I need now. =)

For the next 10 days I will be organizing and dividing up my clothes between my sisters who are going off to college and my sister who is starting high school. We are all the same size so splitting up our clothes wont be easy. My summer job as a junior counslor at a kids camp is over for the summer and school starts in few days. All I want to do is spend time with my friends and family and go to the beach while Im still here. Until next time...