My name is Katie Riley, and I live in a small town in Alaska called Sitka. Sitka is on an island, we have 17 miles of road, 8500 people, and the only way to get here is by air or sea. Needless to say, I am a bit of a travel addict. I want to go on AFS because I love experiencing new cultures and ideas and learning new languages. I am very excited about learning a new language, and I hope to travel to Italy this fall. From this experience, I hope to gain a higher appreciation and understanding of a new culture, and also to have the time of my life. I don't think anything would be more refreshing than leaving home for a year and traveling abroad, and thus returning a more educated and valuable person. In return to AFS, I will keep this blog going to inform everyone of my adventures while I am away, and I also hope to present some of the things I learned while away when I return.
My family and friends have been very supportive of my descion to become an AFSer... I must say that my family has been a little more supportive, while my friends kind of want me to stay. I will keep in touch with everyone hopefully, and see how school goes when I am gone. I can't wait to share my experiences overseas with my friends back home :).
My biggest challenge on my way to becoming an AFSer was PROCRASTINATION! I had so much paperwork to do if I wanted to be accepted and I would procrastinate getting it done like no other, but I really wanted this so I got all of it done as quickly as I could in hopes that I would get the country I dreamed of. Another barrier I have yet to over come is how to pay for my trip... I got a great scholarship ($800) from a donor that I would like to just say; thank you immensely! This was such a help. I will also be working all summer to help pay for my trip, but I know that it will be worth it. The only other challenge I can think of is not getting to see my friends, some of my closest pals are seniors and I will be missing their graduations; but I know I will make new friends and keep contact with the old :).
To contribute to my fundraising efforts I have applied (and recieved!) a scholarship, and I will be working this summer to contribute to my funds also. I hope to have some sort of fundraiser at sme point, but there is another couple girls in my town going on AFS and we might do a conjoining fundraiser! I think that it would be really beneficial and a lot of fun. Beyond that, thaks for reading my blog and I hope you continue to as I venture on the experience of my life! Peace!