This Saturday, I went to a local pre-departure orientation at NC State in Raleigh. It was for AFS participants of any program, so there was people going to Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Argentina, France, Belgium, China, and Turkey. I think there were three NSLI-Y scholarship participants at the orientation. We basically covered safety, what to expect, what to pack, and answered general questions. It also gave us a chance to talk to other students going abroad. Everyone was very nice and friendly; it was really great to meet them!
The orientation also was for students who had spent the year in the US and were returning home in the next month. There was about 20 of them in the Triangle area that attended the meeting, including two kids from Russia! I got to talk to them about Russia, where they lived there, what to expect when I went, and what I should bring. This was one of the most helpful parts of the meeting. It gave a really accurate and informative perspective on Russia and helped me prepare for my trip a lot!