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Exchange

Time Flies When You’re On Exchange

So, Is that it?

It’s this time of the year. The time you, as an exchange student, realize that something great is coming to the end. You are trying to blend it out, but the thought is always with you. You have to say goodbye soon.

For me it never really was a big deal when I thought about going home. I was sure that I’m going to miss my exchange but I did not expect me to be extremely sad and sensible. And I really was fine! I can remember they told us at the pre orientation seminar that the last three month are going to be the hardest, because you just found your friends and your routine.

No homesickness anymore, no cultural shock, but you start thinking you have to go soon. But they could not prepare us for what was really coming. April and May turned out to be the best month of my exchange experience because of exactly these reasons.

The time was running and I barely could feel it. I still did not think that I could possibly realize my exchange was over before I get to the airport. At the beginning of May I had my prom and I had the time of my life. For my Birthday I got the yearbook of our school from my best friend so I could give it around and get it signed by everybody.

When I read the little note (it was more like a half paged letter) one of my friends left me in there it hit me like a rock. I started crying and I could not stop for hours. I finally realized that it is coming to an end and I have to say goodbye.

I think we all have this moment at one point of our exchange. A moment when you realize that this is going to end soon and you just don’t want it to. But this shows us that our exchange was a great experience and that we had the time of our life.

In between end of the year parties, graduation and other fun things the thought that we have to leave soon stays with us all the time though.

No matter how hard we try to enjoy these last weeks we will always be a little bit melancholic.

Looking back on my exchange year, I can not tell how fast the time was passing. I remember moments where it felt like I was crawling from day to day and thought that it’ll be an eternity until I I’ll be back home. On the other hand time was running and I was just rushing through the month.

The first month you spend abroad you might think that you not going to see your family again that soon, that you will live at this new and strange place for the next period of time and you have so many new experiences you can’t believe would fit in one month, but with the month passing, getting used to everything and getting a routine time flies by.

So far for me my days abroad are over. The last weeks are hard to describe. I tried making the best of the mixed feelings I had. Sometimes I would make jokes of it, sometimes I was sad. But for me it felt important to have these serious moments with my friends and host family and to tell them that I am going to miss them.

I hope that I will see all of them again soon and to keep in touch with them. But I know they will always be there for me, even if we might not have contact in a while.

Because you know your friendships are real as soon as you have to say goodbye. And that this goodbye won’t last forever.

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This guest post was written by Andrea Stützer, a German exchange student who is nearly ending her year in the United States.
Exchange

An Exchange Doesn’t Have To Be The Year Of Your Life

”The exchange doesn’t have to be the year of your life”

Sometimes I can feel like there’s a lot of pressure on you having the time of your life –all the time- during your exchange. Like the experience has to be life changing, eye-opening and completely amazing and that you, when it’s time to go back home, have to feel like you never want to leave. Like you’re supposed to book your plane ticket as late as possible and get all ‘OMG DONT TALK ABOUT I WILL CRYYY” when someone mentions your return.

And sure. Some of you will most likely feel like that, and of course that’s great! But if you don’t, if you (although it’s sad to leave) feel like it’s pretty nice to come home; don’t worry. You’re not an ungrateful, spoiled, negative crybaby. You just like your home. And that is, when you think about it, pretty great too.

You can’t spend a year having fun and being happy every single minute. Doing an exchange is hard. It has its ups and downs, just like the life back home. The only difference is that the ups might be even higher and the downs even deeper.

Doing an exchange is amazing, no doubt. You will learn and experience so much, you will get so many great memories and weird stories to tell and you will get friends all over the world, a second (and maybe a third and forth) family. It is, truly, a great experience.

But. You will get bored sometimes, just like home. You will complain about school, just like home. You will get annoyed at your host parents, just like your real parents. You will have days when all you want to do is to lie in your bed and watch Netflix and eat chocolate. Days when you feel like you’d rather been back home and ask yourself: “why did I go?” (Even if this, hopefully, is just temporary).

And you know what? That’s okay.

It’s okay if you’re not all amazed about your year abroad. If you don’t feel like it changed your life forever. If your friends at home still are your better friends. If you don’t get along super well with your host brother. If you don’t feel like you could spend the rest of your life in your host country. If you count the days that are left until you see your parents again. Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t worry about you not trying hard enough or being ungrateful. All those things don’t have to mean you’re not happy about your exchange. That you don’t like your host country or the people or the food or your city. It just means you like your life at home too. And the exchange will always be, even if you didn’t have the time of your life all the time, a great experience and something you should never regret that you did.

This post was written by Elma Pålsson born 1996, from a small village in the south of Sweden, doing an exchange in a small town in the middle of the pampas in Argentina, named Coronel Suarez. (14-15) with Rotary.

Language

What Language Should You Learn Next?

This article was originally posted on EuropeLanguageJobs.com

The world is becoming increasingly multilingual. The future belongs to polyglots! Monolinguals are a dying breed. In my home country of the UK we are experiencing a surge in language learning – maybe the word surge is a little strong, but something is happening.

But why do people learn languages? Is it to make themselves more employable? Is it because they particularly like the sound or just to make travel easier and more enjoyable?

These are all questions you should ask yourself before you set out on the titanic quest of learning another language. You should know how difficult it is and how much the language(s) you speak already will help you with conquering the next one.

It’s a widely accepted fact that speaking more than one language increases your employability, as well as being a very rewarding experience for the individual. If you are one such polyglot, then take a look at our language profiles below to help you make that important decision.

The six categories we include are:

  • Employability: using the percentage of job offers with a specific language and measuring it against the percentage of our candidates who speak that language, we can arrive at an employability status.
  • Attractiveness: using a survey from the website thetoptens.com we have given the languages ratings of attractiveness.
  • Difficulty: with information from infographics created by thecultureist.com we have given rough indications of the ease with which each language can be learnt.
  • European ranking: this is the number of native speakers of the language in Europe.
  • Number of countries: the number of countries where the language is an official  language in Europe.
  • Offers on ELJ: this is the number of active offers we currently have listed on the Europe Language Jobs website.      



Which is the one for you?

Are you looking to increase your employability? Or are you trying to make yourself a more attractive person – as if that was possible! Or maybe you just fancy being able to say that you are multilingual without too much effort and are therefore looking for an easy option. Whatever your motivation, these awesome infographics should help you decide…

Some big names may be missing from the selection but we wanted to choose an accurate cross-section of the main languages of Europe, covering the main strands of Slavic, Germanic and Romantic.

The great thing about the world we live in is that we have access to quality content of all types for free to help us learn new skills from the comfort of our own home. Sites like YouTube and apps such as Duolingo have totally rewritten the self-teaching rulebook.

So if you’ve been inspired to learn Swedish, because it’s actually much easier than you thought and they have pretty people there, why not get started today?

Exchange

Is An Exchange Really Worth It?

A few days ago someone told me “My family would never accept you. I mean, you took a year off to go party in France, you’re 19, and just barely started college”.

Good thing it was over the phone cause I swear I would’ve slapped the heck out of this person without thinking it twice. My mind was clouded in anger, I felt insulted, as if this individual had said something about my mother.

When this happened, I did nothing, I just decided to ignore itand continue the conversation at pure ease, as if nothing ever happened. Days later, here I am, writing this essay or article or whatever I decide for it to be.

Trust me, it’s not the first time I ask myself this. Most of my friends graduated at 17, already have 2 years of college, half of their careers, or almost ready to graduate and continue on with their masters. Then there’s me.

I also graduated at 17, but I decided to do a year abroad in France, learn my third language, and start college at 18. I started college at 19, turns out life does not always end up as expected. Anyway, as I mentioned before, I have thought about this several times before.

Was it worth it? I’m 2 years behind, still not sure about life, and seeing how everyone around me is at least halfway through their career or one year away from graduating. Was it really worth it?

The answer is yes. Hell yes. Hell yeah. In any way you want to see it, the answer is yes. Am I graduating 2 years later than most of my friends? Yes. Does that mean I’m a failure? No. Going on exchange made me understand a lot of things.

Things that people are not able to learn inside a classroom. It taught me tolerance towards others. It taught me to be curious towards other cultures, and not only cultures, but towards every aspect of life. I learned how to investigate, ask, learn, comprehend. It taught me that being lost is not a bad thing. Sooner or later you will find yourself.

It taught me that family could extend to places you never thought it could. It taught me that the world is not as big as we think it is. And let me just ask you, could I learn that during the first two years of college?

Exchange is hard. Living abroad is hard. Not understanding a word is hard. Not knowing what is happening is hard. It’s a shit show, trust me, but it’s a shit show that is worth going through. It’s worth living it every second of every day.

So, to the person that said that to me, I do not care what your family or really what anyone thinks of me and the fact that I took a year off to “party”, Sure, I had a great time abroad, but it was full of obstacles I had to overcome. Obstacles that made me who I am today, and I could not be any happier with the person I became.

 

This guest post was submitted by Ana Vásquez