Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why an exchange year?

South Africa this summer

Hi everyone,
In this post I want to tell you some of the reasons why I chose to be an exchange student. It's a big decision because I'm leaving my family, friends and country for 10 months, to live in a new place with people I don't know yet. I'll have to start over again and make new friends. But I think the advantages are bigger than the disadvantages. This are some reasons I'm going to do an exchange year:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How it all started

Hi everyone,
A few years ago I accidentally visited the EF website and I read something about the High School exchange year. It seemed like a really nice and adventurous thing to do, but I was a lot younger back then so I didn't think about really doing it.

Then, in september 2014, I saw an EF ad on Facebook. I visited the EF Facebook page and saw that there would be an information meeting about the High School year in my city the next day. I thought: 'why not?' so I applied and went there with my mother and sister. I really liked the meeting and an High School year seemed like something perfect for me. I had been on two exchanges before that were organized by my school and those where amazing experiences. 

So I decided I wanted to do an exchange year, but first I wanted to go the the USA after I graduated from High School in the Netherlands. There only was a small problem: I would be already 18 years old and because of that, there would only be few host families available. I would also be older than almost all the people in the High School. After thinking a lot about it, I decided to go to the USA next year, and finish my last year of school in the Netherlands when I'm back.

There are many organizations that offer an exchange year, so I did some research and I also searched for opportunities to go to university in the USA. But I found out that I liked the idea of going to an High School the most and that EF was the best organization for me, because they have offices in all the countries so you don't have to rely on another organization when you're abroad.

After my decision I applied for an interview. The interview is mandatory for all EF students because they can make sure you are motivated and your level of English is good enough. Firstly, the interview leader told many things about her own exchange year which was very nice to hear! After that, I had to write a letter to my future host family and there was an interview in English, where I had to answer questions about me, why I wanted to go on an exchange year and what I wanted to learn from it. After a few days I got a phone call that I was accepted into the program!

When I was accepted, I had to finish my application, go to the doctor for a Certificate of Health, let a teacher write a Letter of Recommendation for me, fill in my grades and so on.

And that's where we are now! All the paperwork is finished and I just have to wait for the state I'm going to live in and the host family I'll stay with. I hope you will follow me on my blog this year :) 

Monday, January 19, 2015

About me

Hi everyone,
In this post I'll tell you something about me and the things I like to do. My name is Sarah Gulien and I'm 16 years old. I'm turning 17 on may 30th. My family consists of me, my sister Nina (15 years old) and my parents Justin and Nienke (42 and 43 years old). We've got 2 cats and a rabbit. I really like to travel and to experience different cultures. I also love music and playing guitar, acting and reading! If I'm not doing one of those things, you'll probably find me with my friends or family. I think that the hardest thing about my exchange year will be that I'm going to miss my friends and family so much. But luckily there's Skype!

Now I'll tell you something about the collage above. From left to right:
On the Great Wall during my exchange to China - With my grandparents and cousins - Playing guitar
My job at a restaurant - With my parents and sister - Interviewing Tess Milne 
In Oman with some local people - An old picture with my sister - During a theatre play

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Hi everyone,
Welcome to my blog! Next year I'm going to do a High School exchange year in the USA with the organization EF. With this blog I want to keep everyone up to date about the preparations and my exchange year itself. I'll post pictures and compare the USA to the Netherlands. If you have any questions or want to read something special, please leave a comment! And if you want to receive an email when I post something on my blog you can subscribe on the right.

I hope you will enjoy my blog and be a part of my year!