Dear Readers,

This will be my last post on my "Rotary Youth Exchange" blog.

I have decided to open up a new blog called, "American in Thailand"

You can find this link at:

Thank you for reading this life-changing experience I had, and hopefully you will follow me on my next!

-Ben Mau
I thought that after a year on exchange I wouldn't be the least bit surprised when I received my 2nd country selection call. The first time it wasn't so bad... I mean I wanted to go to France, but they just put me in the country right next to it... no biggy.

This time I KNEW in my mind that I would be going to South America. I had absolutely NO DOUBT. Everyone I knew who wanted to go to a South American country got it like THAT... When they called and announced that I was going to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONTINENT THAN SOUTH AMERICA... ASIA... I WAS FLORED! South america is completely foreign to me... but ASIA... ASIA is a DIFFERENT planet.

This is SO exciting... I was worried that next year would be just a nice fun year.. but after hearing that I'm going to THAILAND... and I know that it will be quite an eye-opening experience. I can't begin to imagine all that I will absorb while I am living there. All of the the culture, and art, and food, and tradition, and religion, and way of LIFE! This is such an enormous challenge and I am more than happy to accept.

I know that this kind of challenge is what I want my future to be like. I want to be in constant motion, traveling and experiencing from one place to the next. I want to push myself to my limit, break down cultural barriers, observe humanity through completely new perspectives, and adapt to anything on the surface of this Earth! I'm ready for a new life!

Winter Break 2010 has been absolutely amazing thus far! It has been an awesome time to chill, have fun, see friends, and just enjoy my last few weeks as a minor. (I turn 18 on January 8th) I'm enjoying senior year so much. LIFE IS GREAT! I am 100% re-submerged into my American life and it feels wunderbar!

quick update:

- Accepted as a 11-12 RYE student
- Received my first college acceptance letter- Minnesota- Twin Cities
- Cast as a lead in the school musical Cabaret (Emcee)
- Have maintained my 3.9
- Low stress
- Relationship with my parents and family is better than it EVER has been
- Close knit group of friends has opened up to a bunch of awesome people
- Enjoy my job and have a steady income.

... life is good ;)

Happy Holidays!
Your application will be submitted on Monday with a Primary designation.
Good luck.

I'm pretty pumped :)

Also- expect a new layout coming soon ;)
If you are going to be a Rotary Exchange Student for the 2011-2012 academic year, please join the Rotary Youth Exchange 2011-2012 facebook group.
invite your friends, and start an exchange community with people from all over the world.

It has been quite a while since I have last written.
Here's a recap on what has been going on...

Two weeks ago I attended the Rotary Interviews in Wisconsin Dells.
I, along with some other rebounds, were asked to help answer questions before the outbounds went to be interviewed, and we also were on a panel interviewing students and parents. It was a very nice time, I enjoyed the company of all of the rebounds and it was nice to talk with all of the prospective outbounds. They all reminded me of my sophomore self SO MUCH! I'm excited to see what an exchange year will teach them, and how it will make them grow into the amazing young adults. Every district of exchange students is unique in its own way, but this wave of students will be more unusual than normal because all of the outbounds are female, except for one male (and me). I have never come across such a district! Teenage guys really have to step it up, I am disappointed!

Before the interviews I had a little chat with the district chair about my gap year and we went over what it would entail. I believe it still would be a fantastic time, and a perfect education opportunity before college starts up. It looks like there are 17 open outbound spots, and 19 people who are signed up. As of now, one other rebound and myself are alternates, but I am not too worried about being accepted because there is bound to be someone who drops out after country selections, and even if no one does drop out, I'm sure we could find a way to send two more students abroad.

All of my paperwork is done, my check is sent in, and all I must do now is wait to see what comes out of it. I do not know if they will automatically assign me a country, or if they will wait. It is to me a mystery! I am just along for the ride. It should be quite interesting to see how it turns out. I am very excited at the unique process I am going through. If it were to be exactly the same as last year, It would not have been half as interesting!

In other news, about a month ago I visited two of my best exchange friends in NYC. It was so nice to catch up with them, and actually see living people who share so many memories with me from my year in Berlin. One of those friends in NYC is coming to visit me after Thanksgiving, and it will be SO MUCH FUN! exchange students are awesome! Speaking of... I was just hanging out with three of them last night ;) (Finland, Germany, Holland). Ohhh exchange students!

I am also happy to announce that I have successfully sent in all of my college applications. I applied to Macalester College, UW-Madison, and UM-Twin Cities. Everything on my apps leads me to believe that I should get accepted to those colleges... except my ACT score. I took the ACT last month and studied a lot before taking it, but unfortunately, I did very poorly. I was expecting to do MUCH better, and was quite shocked when I received my scores. Honestly, I have no idea what happened- on all of my timed practice tests I did much better... but when the real test came about- I bombed. I RECOMMEND TO ALL OUTBOUNDS TO TAKE THE ACT BEFORE YOU GO ABROAD, AND ALSO WHEN YOU COME BACK! I regret not taking the test because now I have only one more chance to take the test in December, and if that doesn't go well, I may jeopardize the likelihood of my acceptance into Macalester. (where I reallllly want to study!)

All Applications are done- rotary and college - and it feels fantastic. My hours at work are a bit lower than normal, but that is due in part to the role I just received in the School Musical. This year James Madison Memorial is putting on Cabaret and I got the Emcee part! I am thrilled to get to work on the musical... it will be so exciting to be a part of! Between work, school, cabaret, and forensics (I'm doing 3 events: DI, Duo, SOS), I really do not have much time to think about exchange. This time 2 years ago I was ecstatic and could not focus on ANYTHING except exchange! Doing it a second time definitely is easier because our (rebounds) patience has grown so much!

I will try to post up more updates as they come. Life is so great! Senior year is GREAT! living in the moment is great! I continue to attribute all of my happiness to my exchange year. It really did drastically impact me, and molded me into the passionate person I am today..

Good Luck Outbounds!!!!


Time Zone

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