Hey, guys. This is my blog for when, starting in January 2011, I become a foreign exchange student. I will be living in Minde, Santarém, Portugal from January to June 2011, as a part of AFS Intercultural Programs. Most of my friends that I tell about going on exchange say something along the lines of "6 months in a foreign country without your parents? That's awesome!" I am surprised when they say this, because that's not what exchange is about. I'm going because I want to discover myself. I want to let go of my misconceptions and stereotypes, and change my mind. I want to know that all humans are the same, and also somewhat connected--whether we live in the U.S. or Portugal. I want to go outside my comfort zone and be uncomfortable for once; something most people have no desire to do. I want to gain independence, but also a realization of how much we rely on one another. I want to understand the human condition, and myself. And I only have six months. Not only that, but it's going to be hard. I will be leaving everything I know in New Mexico, and that is never easy.
Right now I'm working on getting all my visa documents together. I have to get a few things notarized, and a certificate of good conduct from the local police station, which hasn't had a receptionist this week so I haven't been able to get it. I also need a certificate of good health from my doctor. What a pain. But it's all worth it!