"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!