Update from NY!

Hello everyone! So quite a lot has happened since I boarded my plane for Phoenix, New York, and then since I’ve been here at orientation. All of my flights went perfectly smoothly and I feel like a very efficient traveler now;). After the bittersweet goodbye at the airport with my sisters and mom I headed off to security and then waited for my Phoenix flight. The flight was quick and easy. As soon as I got off the plane I knew I was going to have a about a 3 1/2 hour layover, so the first thing I did was scout out my terminal so I knew which area I needed to stay within. After I found my terminal I went and grabbed some dinner at a little restaurant in the airport. I did sort of feel like a loner eating and walking around the airport by myself but it was actually pretty nice. It was interesting watching the airport go from a very busy place to a very quiet and almost empty place throughout my layover. I boarded my plane to New York and to my surprise it was a completely booked flight. This shocked me because I figured a red eye flight on a Tuesday night wouldn’t be busy but I was definitely wrong. I had a nice window seat so it was very easy for me to sleep and get rest. I also had a lovely view of the sunrise in Central Park and the city as our plane was starting to land. Once we landed I immediately went to baggage claim and grabbed my bag. After that I found my way to the airtrain and rode that to terminal 5 (jet blue) where the AFS staff was waiting to pick the morning kids up. Let me just say that I have never seen so many Dunkin Donuts in one place. They seriously had one in every single terminal! Anyways I easily spotted the AFS volunteer and we sat and waited for another boy that was supposed to be arriving in the morning as well. Eventually he found us and the AFS volunteer called us a cab to take us to Long Island University where our orientation would be held. We had about a 35 minute drive and then we arrived at the campus around 7:30 am. We were the first ones by far to arrive at orientation. The orientation here was for Turkish and Russian summer scholarship recipients so there would be about 30 of us there once everyone arrived. Some more volunteers took us to breakfast and then we came back to the university for some rest and a much needed nap. By the time lunch came around a few more people had arrived but not a lot. More people filed in and by 4:00 pm (which was the official start of orientation) just about everyone had arrived. We all did some basic introductions and learned some basic stuff about NSLI-Y and learned things about eachother and the program. Today, however, was an extremely busy and packed day. We got up early then we had a series of mini seminar/group talks to get us prepared for Russia. We had a little language lesson(that was very fun and informative), a goals and expectations session, cultural guidance, q&a session, safety tips, rules and regulations, situational role play, and someone from the department of state came and talked to us about the various opportunities that come with being a nsliy scholarship recipient. Tomorrow we have a small evaluation and some last minute advice/orientation info before we board the bus at 12:00 and head to JFK airport to board our flight to Russia! I am very excited to begin my journey! I’m not sure when I will be able to post next but it will definitely be from Kirov, Russia!!! I attached a photo of the beautiful campus I’m at and I was surprised about how green NY actually is!

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