See ya later👋

What an emotional day it has been! I’ve never felt so many different emotions, nor so intensely. As I write this I’m sitting in seat number 59G on Air New Zealand 30 and I’m about 100m off the ground above Auckland. Bye N.Z see ya in 9 months!

Today, despite the tears, and there has been A LOT of them, has really shown me how lucky I am to have the people I do in my life. In fact it is the tears that has really shown just how much my family and friends mean to me. And importantly, it’s made me realise how much I mean to them too. Goodbyes are always the hardest thing, they leave you empty and drained mentally but your heart even more full as you realise the love and support that surrounds you. I just want each and everyone of you to know just how much I love you and how happy I am to have you in my life, because despite the tears and the sadness and leaving, I know that you’ll be there for me whenever I need it. It’s a big big world but really everyone is only a phone call, or a Facebook message, or a Snapchat, or a Skype call away. Yes, I know that’s not quite the same thing but there’s always someone there to talk to if needed. Also despite the Km’s, with the ingenious invention of air travel Aregntina is only 12 hours away from home.

*ahhh there’s a bump! A lot of bumps! I don’t like turbulence hahaha*

A few hours ago, just after going through Auckland customs I was hit with such an overwhelming feeling of wanting to go home. It’s such a brutal cycle because you’re emotional about leaving home, friends and family and absolutely exhausted from those feelings and when you’re tired all you want to do is go home, but obviously that’s not going to happen. However, just as any other feeling does, it passed. I put down my phone, played a game of cards, walked to the gate and talked to the others and now I’m feeling so much better. So much more excited to go and explore. I know this feeling will come again at some point, and when it does it’s so overwhelming but you just gotta take a deep breath and realise that this isn’t the end of the world. Worse comes to worse, tell yourself that you can in fact go home whenever you want. The beauty is that every decision is your own and you have the freedom to shape your future and your life.

*omg I hate turbulence so much and I just fastened my seatbelt way too tight and can’t loosen it hahaha*

Talk to you soon, because the adventure is just beginning!

Stella x

Almost time to go!

It’s at that point where I’m counting down in weeks rather than months and that’s when you know the time is getting close!! At the moment I’m mostly excited but the other morning I did wake up, open my eyes my eyes and the first thought that came to my head was ‘What am i doing??’. Every now and then I have these moments when I think too much about the fact that I’m going to Argentina for 9 months. Leaving my family, friends, my house, my bed, my language- really everything I’ve ever known. And that is both scary and incredibly exciting. The more I think about it the more I realise I am ready for this adventure, ready for new challenges and to do some more exploration of the unknown.

Finding out who my host family is and having chatted to them a bit online has really helped ease my mind of any worries about being alone over there because they are THE nicest people and seem so excited for me to arrive. I just know it’s going to make everything so amazing to be surrounded with such lovely people.

Logistically I’m yet to have sorted my visa because I’m waiting on the apostille and translation of my police check, that with any luck, should arrive within the next few days. Once I’ve done that and once I’ve paid my final lattitude fees I should be all good to go. However there is also a bunch of random little things I need to a) Think of and B) Do before i go. Things like sorting out a card that I can use to pay for things overseas. If anyone has any tips on good things to have while travelling please let me know because I know I’ll struggle to think of everything!

This post is a bit shorter than usual but it’s because I’m in that in between state where most of the organisation has been completed but I haven’t actually left on the trip yet!

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Update: It’s a couple weeks later and I’ve sent off visa application finally! Yay!

 

Stella

What I’m doing and Where I’m going!

Hola chicos!

Long time no write…

I meant to make this a regular thing but I didn’t really have much to write for a while and as soon as I did things got HECTIC! I mean, I should be studying right now but sometimes it’s just super hard to be motivated so I thought instead of jumping on my phone I’d write a little update!

Right now everything is a bit stressful. Flight payments are due today and, as I always do, I left it to the last minute, and kind of on purpose…I don’t know why! It’s not like I forgot about it or anything and now I’m stressed. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF???? On top of that, I have 3 exams in 2 days and all this other random paper work and medical checks. It’s weird how much more paperwork you have to do as you get older. It’s like BAM, you’re 18, now fill out these forms please.

I think last time I wrote I had yet to have my interview with Mili, from Argentina. Well that’s done and dusted, like far done and dusted, so done and dusted I actually barely remember what it was about. I think it was more of her just getting to know me and similar questions to what I had in the first interview.

Well, long story short team,

  1. I am definitely going to Argentina, it’s feeling more real and yet I still can’t actually envision myself there!
  2.  I still haven’t got my police checks back that I sent in 4 months ago…so I sent another form through yesterday
  3. I have a tentative, not confirmed placement in Los Lobos.
  4. I’ve had the opportunity to meet all the others who are going to Argentina too!

 

Update:

So I started writing this post about a week ago and once again got side tracked but ALOT has happened in this last week so it’s good that I didn’t get around to finishing it.

I’ve payed for my flights!!! We’re leaving for Argentina on the 7th of March, which is just  over 3 months away! How?!? It was so hard to pay that amount of money because I am someone who saves money and hates to spend it but I think this is one of the most worthwhile things you could spend your money on. Buy experiences not things kids!

I also had to go to yet another doctors consultation, this time about vaccinations. It’s a tricky decision deciding which ones to get because they’re not compulsory and the actual likelihood of getting any of the diseases is so low that sometimes the potential side effects seem more likely than the disease itself. However, what if I am the one in a million person to get yellow fever or something, that would suck… At the moment I’m going to get vaccinations for Hep A/ Typhoid and Meningitis. Not that this is really interesting or anything but it would’ve been good if I had something like this to read to help me make my decisions. My reasoning for not getting the Yellow Fever vaccination right now is that where I am going to be based does not have a risk for it, it’s only in the far north of Argentina and,if I do decide that I want to go there I can always get it done in Argentina (I hope).  The only problem is to travel to Paraguay and Bolivia you need to have had the vaccine if you are travelling to those risk zones. However I don’t know if I even want to travel there.

Potentially the most exciting thing is that yesterday I had my placement in Lobos confirmed!!! From what I’ve read it looks like a really cool place. It’s a town of 40,000 people located 100km away from Buenos Aires.  My position for the first 4 months is to work in this really cute little school and help the teachers and teach the students English. The school is for all ages, from the littlest ones to students my age which is going to be a bit strange but I’ll get used to it! Honestly Lobos seems like the perfect place for me. It has a lagoon where you can swim, lots of sport teams and they have their own website which I thought was really cool. I love the fact that I’m not going to be living in the big city yet I’m still close enough to visit on the weekend and buses travel there regularly (as in every hour). Many of the other volunteers are based in Buenos Aires so I can go visit them on the weekend too.

Photos of Lobos:

Image result for lobos Argentina

Image result for lobos Argentina

Image result for lobos Argentina

I’m honestly so excited right now and it’s starting to feel more and more real! I just realized that I will be in Argentina in less time that it took me to put up my second post…

Also if anyone has traveled to Argentina before or knows much about it, please let me know of any cool places I should check out, or just general advise!

Hope you enjoyed reading,

Stella xx

 

 

 

I’m going to live in Argentina!

Hi!!!

My name is Stella and I’m currently in my final year of high school. After nearly 13 years of school it’s safe to say I’m a bit sick of it therefore i’ve decided to have a gap year in 2018! So, I’m going to live in Argentina!!! Through a programme called Lattitude i’m going to travel there and do volunteer work for 9 months. I thought it would be cool to have this little blog detailing my adventures, for my friends, family, and other travelers or people who just want to read about my adventures but also for myself, as a record of what i’m sure is going to be a huge and exciting part of my life.

This post is about the process I’ve gone through so far, my experiences, advice and just all the ins and outs of the application process that you might not usually hear about!

Deciding where to go:

I knew that I wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country. I’ve studied Spanish for almost 5 years now and the thought of losing the skill that i’ve spent hours in class studying was quite sad. Lattitude offers 3 different country placements in Spanish speaking countries- Argentina, Ecuador and Spain.The South American countries appealed to me a lot more than Spain. For one, I knew about those placements first but also I have visited South America before and absolutely loved it, so I wasn’t going in blind. Initially I was very keen to go to Ecuador as they had a unique placement in an Andean cloud forest community which looked absolutely amazing- Just look at it!!!

Andean Cloud Forest Community.jpg

However mum wasn’t very comfortable with the idea of me travelling and living in Ecuador as it has a lot of poverty and generally is a lot less developed than Argentina, which is fair enough. It’s hard enough for her to let her daughter leave to an unknown country for almost a year when I’m only 17. So that left Argentina, which I’m so very happy about. I still had to convince my parents that I was prepared and aware of the dangers so I wrote a little report on safety in Argentina, cheezy, I know! But they’re OK with me going now so I think it’s safe to say it worked! Here’s a link to it if you ever need to know the risks of travel over there:     https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QfAP_istjIdYzHfD-YPNuxEb8Z_INTv8TU0qvdyMahk/edit

*The information is not mine, I just interpreted it, copied and pasted and put it all together in one place.

Applying:

Preferential applications had to be in by April and by the time I was certain that I definitely wanted to go it was already June! I was a bit concerned that I’d miss out so I quickly wrote my application and got it in as soon as possible. In the end I didn’t need to rush as applications are actually still open however placements for Argentina are limited. Just a day or so after I had submitted my application and payed the $150 deposit, which was a little scary, it made it feel so real, I got an email from Lattitude in order to line up my first interview time. The whole application process actually worked really well for me because the Lattitude Coordinator for the America’s actually lives in Christchurch so she came into school and we had the interview there. The questions that they asked in the interview were actually very similar to the ones in the application however there were also more questions that were difficult. For example; ‘What would your friends say your strengths and weaknesses are?’. I had to pause for a moment and think about that one. It would’ve been easier if I actually had my friends with me. The biggest piece of advice I would give for this part of the process would be to just relax, and be yourself. The coordinator was super nice and easy to talk to, for the written application definitely get someone to check it over because they aren’t the most riveting things to write. Following the written application and interview I was accepted into the Lattitude programme!

Medical and police checks:

This is the part of the process that I’m currently completing. Once i was accepted into the programme i was sent an email with 7 different attachments with all these things I had to complete. One of them included a 17 page form to be filled out by a doctor with all my medical info. 17 PAGES!!! Let me tell you, full medical exams are NOT cheap! A part of it was to get a series of blood tests done which i just did a couple days ago. It was not a good time. I’m sure it would’ve been fine if I hadn’t fainted! If you ever have to get a blood test done make sure you eat and drink heaps before you go because I made the mistake of not doing that which lead to me waking up in a room with no idea where I was. I also sent off an application for my police records which i still haven’t got back, maybe i’ve got some criminal convictions that I never knew about or something…kidding(I hope)!!

Second interview with person in Argentina for placement:

I haven’t completed this part yet but I’ve signed up to have my interview next Sunday!!! Que emoción! I think this determines where in Argentina they’re going to put you. Either Buenos Aires, Córdoba or Neuquén. After a quick google search and my own knowledge of Buenos Aires I think I’d be most keen to go to Neuquen because it’s a smaller city, about the same size as Christchurch, looks absolutely beautiful and is in Patagonia!! I’ve wanted to go there since we saw this ‘Red Bull’ climbing video about it in Outdoor Education last year. It’s near the mountains and lakes so it’s very much my kind of place. Obviously, I’m not actually sure where the placements are but this is one image that came up when i googled it!

Neuquen.jpg

Also there are a few different things you can do for your placement; English teacher, Schools Assistant or Community Worker. The Community Worker placement appeals the most to me as you work with Children in children’s homes and help them with homework and sport however your accommodation is on site, that is to say, not with a host family. I would really love to be able to stay with a host family so that kind of puts me off that placement. So I might be an English Teacher…? I guess I’ll talk with the woman next week and see. Many of the English Teacher or School’s Assistant placements seem to be in private schools and I feel that if i’m volunteering my time I probably should give it to kids who really need it, those who are disadvantaged. But that’s just my opinion.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. I’m starting to feel very excited again, before I was kind of nervous and unsure about my decision after the initial certainty, however it’s back and I’m more pumped to go and explore than ever!

Does anyone have any advice for me that might come in handy?

Talk to you later!

Stella.