Ann's stay with us was the second part of the teacher exchange that was organised as part of the School Connectivity project. In September 2004 all the participating teachers were invited to apply for a three-week visit to an American school. The applicants underwent a competitive selection process and in the end, 18 teachers, two from each of the nine South East European countries spent three weeks in the US. I just couldn't believe when I was told I was one of the two from Croatia.
Schools from Montana, Virginia, Maryland, N. Carolina, Utah and California offered to host us. It didn't matter to me which school I'd be assigned to, the most important was that I was going to lead a life of an American teacher for a while. Still, I had a secret dream, and when Myra sent me her first email, welcoming me to Los Angeles, I was totally overwhelmed. On a scale from 0-10, my level of excitement was 11. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I was looking forward to it immensely.
In January 2005 we flew to Baltimore where we stayed for a three-day orientation seminar. My new school, Foshay in South Central L.A. was an unforgettable experience. The students helped me overcome my uneasiness of not being a native speaker before my first presentation. They were very friendly and totally supportive and encouraging, absolutely fantastic. They asked many questions and were really interested in what I was talking about. My host teachers, Leslie, Myra and Ann were wonderful. They made NYC lose the lead as my #1 city of dreams. Because it's people that count. When I think of NYC, it's only streets, buildings, monuments, whereas with LA, it's Myra, Leslie, Ann and their families and friends.
The School Connectivity project ended later that year, but the links between our two schools are still strong. In October 2005 our students and teachers visited Foshay, and right now we're all looking forward to hosting Myra and two students who're coming to Croatia on June 7.