AFS Pre-departure at Elko

I spent my weekend with a dozen exchange students, in Elko, Nevada. I also drove us there and back, in a minivan that the Northern Nevada International Center kindly let us borrow… When I returned the van yesterday, it said I had driven for 835 miles in 3 days. Yikes!

Anyway, the orientation was great. We had a lot of fun, with the main event at the TS Ranch, learning about Cowboy life. All the exchange students really liked it, as they got to learn about this very particular lifestyle, and they even got to try some things for themselves.
I also took my camera and took a bunch of pictures. Most of them can be found in the AFS Album.

Of course there was also a serious part to the orientation, and I was in charge of leading it. We talked quite a bit about how one gets ready to go back to their home country after having been here for almost a year. The hot topics were separation anxiety, reverse cultural shock and logistics of how things work, and I think that it all went pretty well. Some things were brought to discussion that I really hope most of them will keep in mind as they spend their last month as an AFSer.

I probably won’t see these kids until “Departure Day”, the day that they get dropped off by their host families, and they go to the airport to catch a plane heading home. I will be there to once again give a little orientation, and to try to make their experience end on a high note. It should be fun, intense, but most of all, rewarding, for this is when I really get them to think about how their year has gone, and it’s usually pretty awesome to hear everyone’s insights on their own experiences. 🙂

Latest toy: Canon Rebel XT

I came across a great deal for a camera I’d been wanting for a while: a Canon Rebel XT, with a much better price than any retail store, be it brick and mortar or online, so I decided to go for it, and get the camera that I’d wanted for a while now. I also caught onto a great deal at CircuitCity for a 2Gb CompactFlash card for $30, when everywhere else they wanted at leat $70 for one. Last thing I needed was a nice bag to carry it all around, and I found a great one at Gordon’s Photo Service, that fits like a glove and was a great deal.

Since then (last week), I’ve been reading and playing a little bit with the camera, but it has so many options and settings that I still have a lot to learn. In the meantime, however, I’ve posted a few of the pictures I’ve taken so far, and they can be found in the Photos section of the website. Tell me what you think!