Sponsored by:
Saalburg-Taunus Rotary Club
Anchorage East Rotary Club

THANK YOU! Without my financial sponsors this would not be possible!

Platinum Level Aid (Non Financial) Provided by:
The Shilha Family

Gold Level Financial Aid ($250 and above) Provided by:
Pete and Sylvia Biondich
Pam Ventgen
Michelle Drew
The Pabon Family
The Balensiefer Family
Syd and Anna Traylor

Silver Level Financial Aid ($100-$249) Provided by:
Construction Machinery, Inc., Anchorage, AK
Roger Hickle Contracting, Inc., Anchorage, AK
Dean Reaves, Raven Electric
Don Lederhos, Arcticom
Angie Blue
Kristie Deacon
Gayle Heywood
George Heywood
Marianne Kerr
Gary Cox

Bronze Level Financial Aid ($20-$99) Provided by:
Tracy Green
Tiffany Bandle, Begich Middle School
Andranel Brown, Begich Middle School
Addy Lozano, Begich Middle School
Bill Bajczyk, Begish Middle School
Whitney D'Atri, Begich Middle School
Preston McKey, Raven Electric
Paige Blake, Northern Lights ABC
Rob and Gretchen Malone
Gale Moore, Begich Middle School
Dr. Greg Grubba, DDS
Mary Lamb
MaryBeth Verhelst

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Introduction Letter to Host Families

It was as I sat atop the frozen cliffs of St. Paul Island in my make-shift chair of grass and dirt mounds, the wind whipping through my hair, and the birds whistling in my ears that I learned who I am. My name is Karen Biondich. I have had many amazing opportunities in my 16 years, and I am very excited to be sharing this new experience with you.

I spend a lot of my time at school. I am on my high school's riflery and robotics teams, and I help out with a lot of community service and fundraising activities for school. I also take piano lessons once a week. I started playing piano when I was three years old, and I totally and completely love it. I also like going on adventure with my friends.

I currently take six classes at school. I am in Honors English 10, Honors United States History, Chemistry, Algebra 2, German 2, and Jewelry. My favorite of these are Chemistry and Jewelry. I was able to choose all of the classes that I take, and I chose them to challenge myself and to have fun in school.

My family consists of my mom, Sylvia, my dad, Pete, and my 13 year old brother, Joe. We have two dogs, three cats, and two birds. The dogs names are Julia and Aslan, the cats are Ninja, Ares, and Foo-Two, and the birds are Icy and Quetzel. Aslan and the two birds are mine. We live in a 4 bed room, two story house. It's about 3 miles away from my school, and my mom drives me every morning. In the afternoons she sometimes picks me up, and I sometimes ride the city bus to her.

My mom works as a Library Media Assistant at Begich Middle School, and my dad is an electrician at Raven Electric Inc. My brother is in 7th grade at Begich Middle School. This past summer, I worked as a camp counselor at Trailside Discovery Camp. I worked as staff for the weekly day programs. We taught kids about the world around them and how to treat nature. I had wonderful experiences teaching and learning from the kids. The summer before, I worked as an Intern of Biological Studies in a rural village on a remote island off the western coast of Alaska. I counted eggs in bird nests, surveyed seals, looked for tagged animals, and assisted in necropsies. It was the single most amazing experience I have ever had, and I learned so much about myself from that trip.

I have never left the United States. I have only left Alaska to visit my grandparents in Virginia, for an ambassadorship in Washington D.C., and a trip to Seattle that I was too young to remember. I participated in the Rose Urban Rural Exchange in 8th grade. I experienced life in a rural village for a week, and it opened my eyes to the differences of the communities outside of my own. I learned how to take off my cultural lenses and perceive things in a way that is totally unaffected by my way of life, beliefs, and culture so that I can truly understand the other points of views and ways of life in a totally unbiased way. After that exchange, I was chosen as one of six Top Cross Cultural Ambassadors from Alaska. I got to travel to Washington D.C. to further investigate the role of an ambassador and to meet some of the people that help run my state and my country.

My absolute favorite things are music and nature. I love being outside, playing piano, and listening to music. I mostly listen to classic rock and dubstep. There is not anything that I strongly dislike. I will try pretty much anything once or twice. I've even peeled and cleaned seal esophagi on my first day of my Rose Urban Rural exchange. That was surprisingly fun.

I think my strongest characteristic is my independence. I am not swayed by public opinion. I do not let others decide my likes and dislikes, what I want, and what I do no want. My weakest characteristic is my inability to make up my mind on simple unimportant matters such as what I want for dinner or what movie I want to see. This really annoys my mom.

When I grow up, I want to be a large game biologist. I plan to go to either the University of Alaska Fairbanks, or another college that has a good biology program. I have previously worked with several biologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrator on St. Paul Island, and I had the greatest time learning about the roles of the different scientists and how they work together. My dream is to be like one of them.

As an exchange student, I want to learn about new languages and cultures, and see a new way of life. I want to experience the world outside of the one that I am so used to. Upon my return, I want to be able to tell my friends and family about my wonderful experiences. I hope to encourage everyone to go out and learn about the world, and make a impact on the world in a way that will touch somebody's life in a positive way.

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