Studying abroad: The opportunity of a lifetime

Welcome back to my blog! In my last post, I talked about my experience with the Track and Field Team at Penndale Middle School and how awesome the two coaches, Coach Brick and Coach Connors, were. This week, we’re going to transition from middle school to high school, and focus on a story that relates to an incredible opportunity at North Penn High School.

With that said, it’s time for my story about studying abroad. As a sophomore in high school, I was taking honors Spanish 3, and I really enjoyed the class. I came from having an incredible Spanish teacher, Señora Hanes, in middle school to having an equally amazing teacher, Señora Kriebel, in tenth grade. A few weeks into school, Señora Kriebel started telling the class about an organization called The International Friendship Committee, which is an exchange program that grants scholarships to a certain number of students each year to study abroad in countries like Germany, France, and Spain. This caught my attention; I absolutely loved Spanish, and studying abroad seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime.

There was one problem: my friend Nolan, who was also in Señora Kriebel’s class, wanted to apply to study abroad in Spain. This was a pretty conflicting situation for me, because since Nolan was my friend, I didn’t want to take the opportunity from him. After much thought, I decided to apply anyways. Nolan and I promised each other that we would be happy for the person who was selected no matter what.

As we attended informational sessions, completed the application, and interviewed for the one spot, my friendship with Nolan grew exponentially. We sat next to each other in Spanish and refused to be separated. Luckily, Señora Kriebel was okay with this seating arrangement. Every day we could be heard talking about Spain, who was going to be selected, what it would be like to live abroad, learn a new language and culture, and explore the unknown, and more.

Then, the day came. Decisions were being announced slowly throughout the day. When I was notified, I couldn’t believe it. I was going to Spain! I felt so grateful to have been selected to study abroad in Spain for an entire academic school year on a full scholarship, but then it hit me. What about Nolan? Shortly after, I was called down to guidance counselor’s office, where I found Nolan. I knew what it meant, but he didn’t. He smiled slightly and said, “I got it.” I basically jumped on him and yelled, “Me too!”

We left the office and did some laps around the building trying to wrap our heads around the fact that The International Friendship Committee had selected two people to go to Spain. Throughout the rest of the school year, Nolan and I couldn’t contain our excitement for Spain. We talked endlessly about the experience and were even fortunate enough to sit in on the AP Spanish class with another incredible Spanish teacher, Señor Vidal, to practice our skills.

Looking back, deciding to apply to study abroad was the best decision I ever made. I’ll never be able to fully express my gratitude to the International Friendship Committee for giving Nolan and I the opportunity of a lifetime. Thank you, IFC!