Student Blogs

The following blog posts are syndicated from recent Speedwell AFS Scholars who are currently studying abroad. These blogs currently include:

christinathepolyglot , GER , 2013
Janae Taft , FRA , 2016
Julia McIntosh , ITA , 2016
Naomi Rohrbaugh , ITA , 2016

I LIVED!!!

July 7, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

      Well, this is it. The day is almost here. In just a few hours, I will say goodbye to my family and best friends in order to return to my family and friends. For the past 309 days, I've had the honor of being an exchange student. During that time period, I've stumbled through my second language every day until I came to master it. I've come to know and appreciate a way of living that in some ways is so very different from my own...and that of my native country's. People from all around the world came to hold a very dear place in my heart in such a short amount of time.

My Last Moments Living My Dream

July 3, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

        A childhood dream: to live something completely different than what I was used to, to see new places, to speak a new language. That's all it took to send me far away from almost everything and everyone I knew on August 31st, 2016.

What NOT to Say When I Get Back

June 23, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

      As I put my finishing touches on my French fluency exams and I can literally put all of the days I have left on a single page in Microsoft Word when making a calendar for my last month (not even) in France, my mind suddenly comes to the realization that it tries so often to ignore...again: Wow, there isn't much time left. My mind can't help but wander to the US every once in a while. I can only imagine how popular I will be when I get back, with people bombarding me to ask what I did during my year abroad, how the flight back was, and all in between.

Enjoy the Present and Be Positive (The Last Two Weeks)

June 23, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

           And here I am....the last two weeks. In September, I told myself that these days would never come. June seemed so far away. In December, I wanted this day to come but it just didn't seem to be coming fast enough. Now, I am here. I think that I will soon be back in my native country, but I remember it as if I never left. Half of me just wants to lay in bed and cry, and it takes all the energy I have to make the most of my last days here. I realize, as I've learned this year, that I am a very small part of this world. Everybody's life around me continues.

My School Year in France: More Than Just Academics

June 8, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

           Tomorrow, I will do it for the last time. My host parents will wake me up in the morning, and I will force myself out of bed to go see my friends. More precisely, I will get up and get ready for school. My host mom will drive me down to the bus stop, where we will sit and chat for a few minutes before giving each other a morning hug. I will then get on the bus, which is not yellow, for the record. It seems like not so long ago I was doing these things for the first time in this town.

ROLAND GARROS!!!

June 2, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

                About three and a half weeks ago, my tennis coach from my old region called me, offering me tickets for the first round of Roland Garros. It was something we were previously planning months ago, but of course I lost hope that it would be possible when I changed regions. My first instinct was to say "Yes!" but I quickly remembered all the other events that were going on at the same time. I had just gotten home from a big weekend in Paris, and I had already planned to go back and see one of my host families in Champagne Ardenne what would be the weekend after Roland Garros.

"Normal" Days in France

May 25, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

             "Janae, you're going back to the United States soon, right? Did you like your time here? Will you be able to tell the Americans that it was cool?" The questions come up more and more frequently. My response is always something like "Yes, I'm going home, I mean, back soon. It was very very very "cool". I don't have the words to describe it."

When You Are an Exchange Student....

May 10, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

         Since I have some friends who are going to be exchange students soon or who are considering taking the jump, I thought I'd give them some pointers on what it's like in our world, particularly mine. I guess this could apply to any period of time, but I, of course, am writing from a ten month point of view. It's all from experience!

PARIS!!!

May 10, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

         Well, that was easy. I knew the title would grab everyone's attention....at least all the Americans. I've been to the Big Apple of New York, and now I've been to the City of Love. I absolutely love it. I love big cities, and I had always wanted to spend some time in Paris with my loved ones before returning to the US.  Up until this weekend, I could say I had been to Paris, but that was only to get off my plane and to change my host families. I know I will get the question countless times upon my return to the US, so now I can say, "Yep, it's been done.

After Eight Months of Exchange

April 30, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

         I don't know how ten months turned into ten weeks, but it happened, and it happened fast. It was a good week. I got to play tennis with a friend on Monday, which was good because the rest of the week was rainy and colder. Thursday, I explored Lyon with my friends, and it was cool to thoroughly cover the town. I had gone before, but this time, I feel like we did more. Friday night I was at a party. I spent the other days at home working and annoying, hugging, joking with, and speaking in English with my host mom.

Five Ways I've Changed Since I Left the US

April 23, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

        I know I've been posting a lot more than I had been other weeks, so first of all, count yourselves blessed. This week I am going to put myself back at work and I already have some plans with friends, so this may be the last post for a while.

Friends, Family, and Birthday Wishes!

April 20, 2017
Author: 
janae taft

            Fulfilling. That's a word I will readily use for these past few days. I've taken a break from studying and have just been relaxing and being out with friends and family.