Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dreaming of America

I have been meeting with a few high school students in town to chat in English and give them a better idea of what life in America is like. They all want to go to America if possible either in high school as exchange students or to an American university.

There is a fantastic program here organized by American Council, the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, that gives talented youth, from countries with significant Muslim populations, the opportunity to win scholarships to study at an American high school for a year. The process to win the scholarships is lengthy (September-May) and very selective. Yesterday, I went with three students from Kamenica to Shtip to start the process.

The kids have quite the process before they are accepted and the first two steps were yesterday with a full day of English language testing. In the first stage, the kids are given a 16 question multiple choice English usage test. While the kids were testing, I hung out with the other volunteer who brought kids, Anna.

Our kids came out saying the test was really easy and lucky for us, most of our kids passed the first test! While the administrators were correcting the tests, we went down to a restaurant with one of my students and a girl who had participated in Camp GLOW this year. It was great to catch up with her and to talk with two fantastic English speakers!

I had 2 of my 3 students pass. Anna had 10 of her 14 pass. We were so proud of them! There were around 200 total kids at the test and just over 50 passed. Those who passed, had a second test in the afternoon where they were asked to write three short essays. The kids now have a month of anxiety ahead of them waiting to hear if they passed the second round and move onto the final stage- interviews. I know Anna and I are going to cross our fingers hoping for the best from our kids and this fantastic opportunity they have.
Oliver (my student and YMLP alum) and Anna
Hristina (GLOW alumna) and me
Anna and Hristina
My two students who passed Round 1- Karolina and Oliver
Anna and I both walked out of there feeling like proud mothers because our kids did such a great job! 

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