Friday, August 12, 2011

Host family!!!!!!

Yesterday I received my host family. It was quite possibly the greatest moment of my life. They live in the city of Montpellier which is right on the coast of the Mediterranean and also exactly where I wanted to be!! It is a beautiful city and not un-like Madison. Actually it is pretty much French Madison. There is a wonderful public transportation system, it is very pedestrian friendly, it is a college town...Of course there are things that Madison could only dream of having, like an freaking aqueduct (not Roman; Montpellier is one of the only non-Roman created cities)! Montpellier is also to site of the first medical school in the world. It is the 8th largest city in the country and the fastest growing. Pretty much the greatest place to be.
I have 2 host sisters and 1 host host brother. The two host sisters are older, though, and I don't think they live at home anymore. At least one of my host parents is a doctor (although both might be, I'm still unclear on that. I also don't know what kind of doctor).
It took forever to get this information but it paid off. I cannot think of a better place to be. I am really, really excited and the next two and 1/2 weeks need to go by at the speed of light!!!! I want to thank everyone who made this possible. I really would not be where I am without your support. I really appreciate all that everyone has done for me. I really can't thank you enough. I am living my dream several years before I ever thought it would be possible. So thank you everyone!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Around 1-2 days ago I got accepted into AFS-France. This is some of the most exciting news I have ever heard. Except when I heard it, I didn't feel very excited. I know that this is not something that I should have done, but I think I just expected to go to France so when they told me I was going I was just kind of like "Cool. I knew this already." But it is absolutely fantastic that I finally know where I am going, and what to prepare for, and what to tell people. I haven't been this happy for a very long time. And it isn't that I have been unhappy recently, it's because I am ECSTATIC!! Now I just have to wait a couple more months for my host family and where I have been placed. And between now and then (and after) get all of my Visa stuff worked out. But I am going to FRANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you everyone who has helped me and supported me. I really appreciate all of the support I have been getting. It is wonderful realizing that everyone wants me to succeed at this. So thank you :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thank you

I would just like to say thank you. Thank you for many reasons. First, thank you to everyone who has donated to help me get to where I am trying to go. It means more to me than I can convey in a blog post. Second, thank you to everyone who has been supporting me. I really, really appreciate everything that people have been saying in way of encouragement. This is scary as hell for me too and I really, really appreciate all the support people have been giving me. So I just wanted to say thank you and it really does mean quite a lot to me. Thank you everyone! <3

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ALSO important

I forgot to mention in my first post that AFS will take any non-parental donations that I get up to $500 and double it. Up to $500 will be matched dollar for dollar by AFS and go towards my fundraising. This is only for donations I get in the month of April. After April is finished this offer is done. Thank you again for contributing if you have!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A couple pictures of me

                                                   Me and my brother at the Indiana dunes
                            My grandpa took a picture of me when I was wearing his hat. It is a nice hat

Who I Am

"Who I am" is a question that I have had to answer a lot for the past couple months. I don't think any teenager really knows who they are and I don't think they are supposed to. I think that really, all we need to know about ourselves is what we enjoy and what we want in the moment. I feel that I have achieved at least this. As for "who I am" I can only tell you who I think I am in this moment. And that is exactly what I plan on doing.

My name is Shara Bassler Mortensen and I am 15 years old. I am a sophomore at Madison East High in Madison, WI. I love art and hope to do something in the artistic field when I grow up. I plan on doing a study abroad program to France my junior year of high school (year of 2011) with the American Field Service (AFS) intercultural student exchange program which is why I have started this blog. I have always been interested in travel and other places and have known for a while that I want to move and live in as many places as I can. For a while I thought that I could only travel abroad when I was older and in college. I had known about kids who did study abroad programs while in high school but I didn't really consider them because I didn't think I would be able to for psychological and financial reasons. Even one of my close friends was going on an exchange program. I didn't really think about looking into it until one of my parent's friends suggested it during a dinner party. They said that they wished their son had decided to go on an exchange program and said that if any part of me wanted to I should look into it. So I did and found that it was very much something that I was capable of doing. The more I read the more I wanted to go. It was exactly what I wanted to do.    

I think it is very important to know a couple different languages, even if you plan on just staying in the same country your whole life. Our world has become incredibly integrated and it has almost become a handicap to not know another language, even a little. I don't know what I will be able to give in return except to try and spread different cultures. There is an incredible amount of stereotyping and resulting prejudice in the world and I hope that by understanding an entirely new culture I hope to eradicate at least a little of it. People generally create stereotypes about things they don't understand and I hope that I can help make people understand, even a little.

Unfortunately, one of the reasons for not looking into highs school study abroad programs was not completely unjustified. Financially my family and I are not able to send me abroad alone. We can pay for about half but we are not able to make the entire tuition. I have applied for and received a scholarship from Global Leaders Financial Aid for which I am very grateful. But it is still not enough so I have been doing other things such as babysitting, selling art that I have created and getting a job. I have also written up letter to send to my family. I am also hoping that this blog will help. For the rest of my tuition I will be relying on donations. Any amount will help get me toward my goal. To sponsor my AFS program now, please click the ChipIn button. It would also be greatly appreciated if you could forward my blog to anyone you think would like to help out. Thank you so much!