How everything started

The first time I thought about spending an exchange year in the U.S. was after seeing a presentation at school. I was fascinated with experiencing an exchange year and I collected lots information. I also questioned friends and relatives about it. After a while, I was sure I wanted to spend an exchange year in another country. I had to do a lot of stuff before my exchange year could be realized. At first, I searched a good exchange organization. I decided on YFU (Youth for Understanding). YFU is one of the world’s largest and most respected international educational exchange organizations. But now I had one more difficult step to overcome: I had to convince my parents to let me go for a year. It took me a few months and I can tell you that it wasn’t easy. I registered myself on YFU’s website as soon my parents agreed. It was already December 2011. In January I was invited for an Interview, located at my school (Kollegium St. Michael). They asked me questions like “Why do you want to spend an exchange year overseas?” or “Do you think you are really able to leave your home for one entire year?” They wanted to find out whether I’m ready for an exchange year and whether I was confident enough to experience one. One week later, I received a letter from YFU and they told me that I had passed the interview. In the same envelop were a lot papers to fill out. The paper work was in English and I had some trouble filling them out alone, so I asked relatives to help me. My English wasn’t that good but I figured it out. My English teacher had to fill out a paper too. They wanted to know how my behavior at school is and how my English skills are. I sent all the completed papers back in February. Also, I had to complete a “SLEP Test”. This is a multiple choice test. The point is to understand English words and sentences. YFU let me know two weeks later that I passed this test. On March 1st, YFU confirmed my exchange year!

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