My name is Anirudh Suresh, and I will be a sophmore next year. I currently live in Houston, Texas. Sorry I haven't been blogging much yet; I've been really busy with school and other matters. Anyways, on April 12, I received an email from YES Abroad that stated that I had been accepted to study in Malaysia for a year. I was so excited when I heard the news: an entire year in a new country in a region of the world I'd only dreamed about visiting. I've always loved traveling and learning about different cultures, and this experience will allow me to learn so much about several cultures and languages.
Basically, I applied for the experience during fall of 2012. I remember choosing the countries that I was interested in and describing myself and my interests. In March, I received the news that I was a semifinalist for the program. On March 22, I traveled to the nation's capital to attend the In-Person Selection Event (IPSE). There, I met some of the coolest people and made so many new friends. I also learned a few card tricks..., but that's another story. On March 24, the event came to a close, and I returned to Houston, nervous but infinitely more excited. Then, on April 12, I received that all-important email. I am glad that so many of my friends from the IPSE are able to go on the trip. Every single one of us at the IPSE definitely has a desire to learn more about the world and become involved in issues outside our communities.
The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State. The program allows U.S. high school students interested in the world and the different cultures in it to spend a year studying abroad in countries with significant Muslim populations.
I'm very excited for my trip. I've read up on Malaysia and its people, and I've started looking at a couple resources to help me pick up on a small part of the language (Malay). I still am not sure which city I'll be living in or who my host family consists of, but I cannot wait until the pre-departure orientation in D.C. starting on June 26. I want to see my friends again and prepare for the journey ahead. I will continue posting as events come and go, and I will make sure to keep everyone up-to-date on everything that happens. Until next time, however, selamat tinngal (goodbye)!