Hey guys! This is just a cover story published by our Timaru Newspaper about me and my experiences so far, before my exchange. You may have seen this in the newspaper 09/08/13
CULTURE: Victoria-Rose Tucker, 17, heads to Barcelona next month on an AFS exchange.
The countdown is on for Timaru girl Victoria-Rose Tucker, who heads to Spain next month.
The Mountainview High School student will spend a year with a host family in Barcelona as part of an AFS exchange.
Victoria had to raise $16,000 for the trip and has spent close to 12 months working two part-time jobs and co-ordinating fundraising efforts, including car washes, sausage sizzles, firewood and cake sales.
The efforts culminate in a fundraising concert tomorrow when Christchurch songstress Annmarie Nelson takes the stage at Elim Church for a night of entertainment and cuisine.
But deadlines loom as Victoria races to complete year 13 before heading off on September 5.
"Spain was my choice; the first thing that came to mind was family culture; I did quite a bit of research . . . Spain always interested me," she says.
There will be hugs and emotional farewells with her four older sisters and two younger brothers.
Mum Dorothy Tucker says the costs were quite staggering with legal bills, visa and translation charges all mounting up.
"Victoria always dreamed about going overseas since when she was young," she says.
"The family went to visit another daughter who was working as a teacher in a children's home in Thailand; I think she was inspired by that. I wouldn't be brave enough to do it."
Victoria says she plans to immerse herself in the culture and has been learning Spanish.
"My Spanish is pretty basic and I'm up for the challenge.
"It will be a contrast to New Zealand, especially coming from Timaru, [as] 4 million people live in Barcelona; that's a bit scary.
"I have been wanting to do an exchange since I was little; I talked to my parents about it and they understood. I have spoken to lots of people who have done AFS and other experiences, it will be a step out of my comfort zone."
Spanish dancing and bullfights?
"I've never tried Spanish dancing but I would try it. I would be interested in going to a bullfight. It's always been one of those traditional things in Spain so I would like to try it once."
With 19 days left to complete year 13, it's all go.
"The week I leave is tournament week so everyone else will be off doing other activities; I've got four subjects to complete including junior Spanish.
"I've got two classes that are internals and two externals."
The generosity of people in the community has surprised her.
"It's one of those things when, once you've started, you have to look forward to."
AFS is an international organisation that offers exchange programmes.
Communications manager Susan Fogarty said two other South Canterbury students were in the next intake. One is off to Belgium, the other to France.