Merhaba! I applied for a State Department-run scholarship to study abroad called the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (http://www.nsliforyouth.org/), and I am going to Turkey to learn the language for six weeks of the coming summer. NSLI-Y selectively sends students for summers, semesters and academic years to various countries to learn Arabic, Korean, Hindi, Chinese, Russian, Persian and, in my case, Turkish (that's Türkçe to those who speak it). So, yes, it's basically a programme for training future US spies. But I am so excited. I don't yet know where in Turkey I will be, but I will stay with a Turkish family, attend language school four hours per week and have a LOT of fun. I can't decide if I'm more excited about the food or the language. Baklava! Kebabs! So many things I've never heard of... It will be wonderful. I hope to post fairly frequently leading up to my departure and while I'm there, with pictures if possible.
This weekend, I attended an AFS orientation. There were Americans who'll be spending time in places such as Germany, Panama, Belgium, Ghana, South Africa and Chile, and foreign students who will soon be going home to Thailand, China, Indonesia, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Norway and a million other places I can't remember. There was one guy there from Turkey, and I talked to him a little. He comes from Istanbul, where he sleeps in Asia and goes to school in Europe. Honestly, is there anything cooler? And the orientation was just plain fun: along with all the rules and warnings that were expected, there was a talent show (I played my ukulele), a bonfire, a lake shore to hang around on and a lot of chatting. In short, I was excited before the orientation, but now I really can't wait.
So, I'll be in touch! Güle güle for now.