Well, I've pack all my bags and I am ready to get on the plane for LA tomorrow! The travel plans are to fly down to LA tomorrow at noon, stay there overnight for some orientations, fly to Hong Kong, and end up in Kuala Lumpur. Once I am in KL, I will have another day or so of orientations, and then my host family will pick me up on the 16th of July. I am so excited to arrive in Malaysia and meet my family!
Two weeks ago I went to Washington D.C. for the National Pre-Departure Orientation. This orientation was unique because it incorporated both sides of YES; both the international students that had stayed here for a year (over 600!) and the 50 American students that are going abroad. It was a very cool to get to meet the hundreds of students from all over the world, and get to here stories about their year here in the USA. I also got to meet several Malaysians during the orientation, and I learned A LOT about Malaysia! They were all extremely nice,and so much fun to be around.
During our time in DC we got to participate in lots of activities that promote the YES program. First we got into group by which state we were from/were hosted in, and met with our senators to talk about our experiences. Secondly, we went to the Malaysia Embassy to promote student exchange, and have a delicious lunch (that yes, we ate with out bare hands). Next, we headed over to the State Department to talk to an Ameican Ambassador, and then headed to the American Councils for dinner.
We ended the evening with an extremely large talent show. Each country group had to preform a song and a dance native to their host country. The USA group performed 'This Land is Your Land' and square danced. I loved getting to see all the amazing cultural dances and it made me even more excited for my year abroad.
Overall, the PDO was an absolute blast, and I loved getting to meet so many amazing people from all over the country, and all over the world. I miss my new friends already!