STS Pre Departure Oriantation Meeting

Just got home from a very long (11 am-5 pm) meeting with STS at Hvitfeldtska gymnasium in Gothenburg!
The agenda consisted of a presantation, where many important subject was mentioned, such as insurance, communication, rules, social media, sexual abuse, the life in an American family.. things like that. During the presentation many parents asked questions, making us almost an hour late for lunch! We also got to know why STS has been bad at communication lately. We signed some papers, one that stated that we have been present during the meeting (I found out that you are not allowed to go on an exchange if you were not) and one that allowed STS to use the pictures we post on social media as a refrence. A man was representing the American organization PAX, so the meeting was a mix between Swedish and English. There were 4 returnees talking about their experiences. One who went to Great Britain, one who went to Alaska, one who went to Michigan (she lived like 40 minutes from New Haven!) and one who went to Texas. It gave a nice perspective to hear about their experiences. We also had two breaks for lunch and "fika" - snacks. One thing that made me feel very lucky is that only 5 of the students present at the meeting had their placement. How fortunate am I! 
I would also like to add how proud I am of myself for actually talking to the other future exchange students who sat next to me! I must have appeared as a really outgoing person. The connection to other exchange students is really important to me. It feels so nice to know that someone is going through the same experience as me!
We got a T-Shirt, a backpack and a folder with information! The other stuff are from previous trips with the organization.

Why I chose STS

The first thing you need to do once you have decided that you want to become an exchange student is to find an organization. There are plenty, such as STS, EF, YFU.. I chose STS. They were the first organization I found out about, and since I was happy with them I did not see any reason to look up other ones.
When did you first find out about STS?
I saw an advertisement in a magazine, googled the company, read about language schools and booked a trip to Brighton summer 2k15!
How did you decide that STS should be your organization?
STS have been very helpful and informative about the language school trip I will attend. I have read really good reviews, I liked their website and they seem very popular and professional. I believe they will take good care of me!
I have also only met extremly passionate, kind and funny workers when I have been to their meetings. I met a language school trip leader, two former exchange students and several other workers at their office. They seem to know what they are doing! I am not sure if STS is more expensive than the other organizations.. But I feel safe with them, and that is what matters.
Picture belongs to STS.

The Interview

So yesterday, I went to the interview with STS, my organization. I will write more about them in a different post.
After I applied to the exchange student program on their website, STS called me a couple of days after. They told me about the structure of the interview and also where it would be. A former exchange student would come to a town close to me. Since I live outside Gothenburg, the interview was held at their head office. 
When I got there, I met up with a girl named Louisa. I took my mom with me, which they wanted me to. We sat in a room all three of us. Louisa was really nice and informed us very well! The Interview started with a small Q&A, where I asked how the host family matching system worked, and how it works to choose courses. After that, the actual interview started. There was approximatley 25 questions, which I had to answer in English. For me it was not difficult, since I'm pretty good at speaking and understanding English. I was suprised to understand everything she said, but Louisa also spoke very clearly and she looked me in the eye almost the entire time! I'm not the best at making eye contact..
She started off with some easy and obvious questions - what's your name, when were you born, what's your nationality and is any of your parents present? Then we talked a bit about the personal stuff - expectations, what I do in my free time, what I like about my school, some positive qualities about me, how I will handle homesickness, if I have any failing grades, sickness.. Anything you can imagine! She also told me about her own experience and gave advice.
After the interview, I got sent outside the room to write a SHORT essay (really, it's just a page. I love writing so keeping it that short was a struggle). I had 15 minutes, and somehow I ended up being finished after 5, so I just sat there and read my text over and over, correcting mistakes that did not even exist. While I was writing, Louisa talked to my mother. I later found out she asked about my mother's opinion on this, and if she thought I was mature enough (of course she thought, or else I would not be here). My mother herself worked as an aupair in the USA when she was 18, so she can relate to me in some ways.
After the essay, we asked more questions that came up along the way. The entire process took 2,5 hours. I was so tired afterwards, but I think I made a good impression. I even smiled the entire time and I did not even touch my hair! (I think I have some sort of OCD tbh)
And that is it! Now I just have to wait until the end of next week to find out if I'm accepted or not.. SHIT. What did I get myself into?
Photo belongs to STS.
/ E.L