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Post-Exchange Life

Post-Exchange Life

When Everything Is Possible After Your Exchange

I don’t know if all of you have the same feeling as me after going back home, but here is my story.

I haven’t been shy since I turned 12 and started to wear braces. I never had problems with my look, with having friends or traveling. I was kinda mature, independent and knew what I wanted to do in my life. So my exchange wasn’t exactly about that. But it changed my life the way I wasn’t expecting – all of us experienced this.

The changes started quick (earlier than magic three months). In my case firstly I started to see the change in my body – obviously I gained weight (again like most of us). Later I saw more interesting changes like having feelings different than happiness or sadness (yeah I was kinda heartless before exchange haha). Later I realized how much I have learned and grew up. How problems are not problems any more. How being sometimes lonely is not the end of the world. How forcing yourself to be a good exchange student by not staying all the time in your room, trying to talk with host families in a free time, helping them in the house, going for Rotary meetings, helping with Rotary programs, being thankful and even going to school every single day is not that bad and you actually like it. Changes  go on and on, because exchange is not only going to other country and someone is comings to yours – it’s also in my opinion (ex)changing yourself into a new person who is mostly better you, who will not be recognized by your family or friends, but it’s ok, it’s good, it’s really good! Remember this!

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Going to the topic of this post. After all these changes happened I returned home. My parents already knew that I had changed, but my friends didn’t. About some things I hadn´t even though. My friends told me – for example I started to wear dresses, I stopped to friend zone boys and actually started to flirt with them. I didn’t care about what people thought about me any more. Then came first day of school and it began – all the things which seemed impossible for some people were pretty easy. I came to my school knowing only few names (because all my friends have graduated when I was on exchange). None of them were my friend and after less than a month I had friends who I could hang out with, in the first week I wasn’t sitting alone in the classes (and it wasn’t because someone had to sit next to me because of no more free spots) or staying alone on the hallway. After four months I started to have a boyfriend (another huge change at me for my friends who remember my ex from the beginning of high school and few random kisses, because as I mentioned earlier I opened my heart for feeling during the year abroad). I count it as a little success after exchange hahaha
Later I had a huge challenge with organizing Rotary meeting in my city for exchange students in Poland. That’s a thing which is organized by Rotaract club every year and as I’m a member and I didn’t know how hard it was I have decided to do it. I supposed to have a lot of help from others members, but like we all know everyone has their own lifes and not everybody can help you and of course I revived some help, but so mostly I had to do everything by myself – luckily one of the guys who was organizing this meeting two years earlier helped me by telling me what I have to do, giving me all the contacts and other stuff, but it was still crazy. It was all did in three weeks, one of the most difficult weeks in my life, trying to get everything done so all the Rotary people will be happy and what is more important make this three days amazing for almost 60 exchange students. After having a huge problem with booking a hotel, because there was also some other event in my city and all the hotels where booked, I had some other issues and finally few days before I was just praying. Finally it all went so good, awesome and exchange students were very satisfied. And from then on I knew that the only way I could have done it is because I “survived” a year on exchange.
During this year I also applied for new in my country Rotary exchange program (New Generation Exchange), which is a program for few weeks (6 weeks to three months) in the other country where You can have an internship. I would never say before my year in US that I will go on next vacation to South America – and I did, I’m here in Colombia. I stay here for a little bit longer than two month and I feel so good. I feel amazing being exchange student again, living in the other country, meeting new people, learning a language (which we all know is sometimes so hard), traveling and loving it so badly that I don’t wanna go home.

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I could go on with things which became possible after coming back home, but I guess this already says enough. I just wanna add; everything is possible during and after your exchange. It’s your life, your new life! Take chances, don’t overthink it, make this year your year, makes your dream come true during rest of your life and when you come back home remember that you are exchange student and that you will always be, not all the people will understand you, for the closest one or just friends (for me it’s my boyfriend) it may be so hard to figure out why are you going abroad again, why do you keep in touch with people who you met few times and who are miles away from you. But I can tell you one thing – do in Your life whatever YOU want to do and not others wants you to do – be independent, be different, crazy, free and You will have a great time! And now go live your life, have fun and remember you can only reagent things that you haven’t done

This post was written by Magda. She is 20-year-old Polish girl who did her exchange in Colorado, USA.

 

 

Exchange Example Stories, Post-Exchange Life

I Never Left The Plane

This August marks the 8th anniversary of the beginning of my exchange year, when I was only a 16 years old kid who was trying to survive high school like everybody. That day I left the comfort of my reality in Chile with this program called AFS (American Field Service) and went to this unknown country named Norway, only knowing the name of the capital, the name of my host family, and how to count from 1 to 8 in the local language. Like many former exchange students, I could go for hours about all the stories I have from that year, both good and bad: New Year’s Eve with a blizzard, that time I fell on the snow while walking downhill, the joy and the cultural shocks I had with my host family and school, the russetid, the conversation with a thai friend about the differences of the word «you» in both spanish and thai, etc. However, there is but one thing I always highlight of that period: it redefined my life, my behaviour and ideas. The person I am today was born during that year.

As time went by and I came back to Chile, volunteering with other exchange students was the only place where I felt I connected. At school I didn’t have many friends and having different priorities from my classmates eventually drove us apart. My mom hasn’t gone on exchange at any point of her life, but she somehow understood what I was going through, that my dreams and expectations were different from the people around me, and that the exchange students’ community was my place. When I finished high school and decided to move to the capital for university, she gave me this smile and told me «I knew you would leave and do your own thing, because you never really got off the plane».

I didn’t have any idea of what she meant at that point, but I had a new year ahead so I just went with it. New city, new people, new life. And of course, I kept being a volunteer with AFS. I eventually became the contact person to a Finnish student and the applicants I did the personal interview became returnees, and then volunteers themselves. I was in my zone, with all the stories of cultural shocks and learning how to deal with them, understanding our own national identity through the stories of internationals, meeting different cultures from all over the place, languages, other ways of thinking, and so and so on.

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One day, some people went to my Faculty to promote the Exchange Program between my home university and several institutions around the world. The University of Oslo was among the names, I checked the programs, some classes and I called my mom telling her that I wanted to go on exchange to Norway again, if she could help me out financially and such. Her answer was «What took you so long?». The application letter was rather easy because I clearly knew the reasons of why I wanted to go back to Norway: I was in love with the country and with being an exchange student, the decision of studying Environmental Engineering was heavily influenced by my year there. I got accepted and while I was doing all the visa procedures I wrote an email to AFS Norway telling them I was going back and wanted to be a volunteer there. «Drop by when you come to Oslo » was their answer.

So in August 2014, I arrived once again to the Oslo airport. Walking in front of me was this woman whose passport fell to the ground, I grabbed it and told her «Unnskyld, det er din» («Sorry, it’s yours»), to which she told me thanks in Norwegian. My first conversation in Norwegian in almost four years. It felt like home.

Sometimes, it was quite overwhelming to be a volunteer in Norway since many of the doubts the exchange students had were the same I personally had during my own exchange: how to interact with norwegians, how to speak to that person, how to behave with my host family. I was reviving my own exchange through the experiences of these kids. Besides AFS, I also joined the Erasmus community within the University (even though I wasn’t an Erasmus myself), and with my own itchy feet I filled my schedule with all sort of international-related activities. Damn, I even joined the norwegian student parlament representing the international students.


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In the AFS preorientation for the norwegian students who would go on exchange soon, I met this girl who was going to Chile, so we of course, ended up talking about this strange and thin piece of land. She began her exchange at the beginning of August 2015, almost at the same time I finished mine in Norway. It was yet another side on the exchange experience, as some of the cultural shocks and experiences she was going through in Chile, I lived them on reverse in the other hemisphere.

It seemed that the intercultural learning would follow me everywhere I went, and I think I now understand what my mom meant with the «you never got off the plane». I have been conciously and unconciously tied with internationaly-minded people since I first went on exchange, with the vast amount of humans that live here. I have taken a bunch of planes here and there, but the dream of making the world a better place through mutual understanding among different cultures remains the same regardless of what’s the closest airport I have at the given moment. Some say «Exchange is not a year in your life, but a life in a year», for me exchange has been a life within itself, this story of exchange is my story and the story of many other fellow people who have embraced the same life. The moral of this long post? Those of you have got inside the plane, don’t get off, the exchange will last as much as you want it. If that means forever, so be it!

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This guest post was written by Javier Æøå, originally from Chile and an AFS exchange student in Norway.

Post-Exchange Life

How To Stay After Your Exchange

I´m sure that 99% of the students going on exchange asked themselves at one point or another this question – what if I stay here?

I would be lying if I say I didn´t spend a lot of time thinking about this dilemma, although is an easy question, we think about this as a very utopian situation. We see ourselves as only guests for one year and the idea of staying longer seems simply not right.

My exchange was as simple and fun as yours was. I had a normal host family, attended school as usual and had a good mixed of exchange students and local friends. However, a question started ticking my head from the moment I arrived in Germany. What if I stay longer?

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This question was something I wanted, but I simply wasn´t sure about if is right or not. I started asking my family at home what they think about, asked my host family if they heard about a situation like this before and asked other exchange students if this idea stops being just an “if”.

The situation at home wasn´t better. As many American countries, Colombia is in a situation where higher education is extremely expensive and if you are not able to pay for this, you will have to have some luck at one point or another to succeed. By the other side, Germany sounded like paradise: Education was free, the social security services in Europe are great and Germany´s life is not as expensive as in United States, Australia or United Kingdom. Germany was like a small paradise where I only had to take a risk.

While I was doing my exchange, I started collecting information about universities, scholarships, recognition of my foreign (Colombian) high school degree and although it wasn´t an easy task, it was something I could do after school, weekends or with the help of my host family.

NOTE: Requirements are different from country to country. The first question you need to ask is if your high school is recognize by the educational system of your host country and if not, what possibilities there are.

Once I knew what universities were expecting from me, and how good my chances are, I started making this idea come true. For a Colombian student, who wants to study in Germany I had to complete a certain level of German, apply into a German university and be redirected to a German Studienkolleg, (a German course for foreign students who want to study in Germany) and pass the admission exam for the Studienkolleg.

In other to complete these goals, I started taking extra German classes, attended extra seminars about integration in Germany and spend my summer holidays not traveling around Spain or Italy, but studying grammar and improving my language skills.

At the end of my exchange year, I had the required level of German to apply to a German university, got an invitation to an admission exam for a Studienkolleg and had an idea where I wanted to study.

All I had left to do was going back home for a couple of months, apply for a student visa and get back on a plane to Europe. Sounds easy, however, it´s a process that takes time and desire.

Steps to get into a foreign university directly after your exchange

Level of language

Learn about the educational system in your host country

You should do all these things during your EXCHANGE YEAR

NOTE: Your host family plays a very important role; they can help you contacting the universities and different organizations.

A1

Check what universities offer the course you are interested in

A2

Check the international office website of these universities and call about information (they know better than anyone what you have to do)

B1

Take into account admission deadlines

B1

Translation of all your documents about your past education (ask first what exactly they need)

B2

Unfortunately you have to return home and with your admission letter apply for a student visa ( Process takes from 1 – 3 months)

B2

Present the admission exam for a preparation course

In matriculate direct as an student

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Something went wrong? – No worries. You can do 1-2 year(s) of language/preparation courses

Apply again

TIPS I WISH I KNEW

The international offices at the universities are very friendly and usually speak English. Call instead of mailing! A call takes only a couple of minutes, while an email can be misunderstood and takes a couple of days to response.

Start doing language courses to improve your written skills and grammar in advance.

This process takes time and dedication. You have to commit 100% and work to make it happen.

Ask for help to your host family.

Make a list of goals and set exact dates to complete these goals.

BEFORE YOU START

I have been being a counselor for many exchange students over the past years and in my opinion dedication and support is 99% of your success. A great support from your parents will keep you motivated; ask their opinion about your idea, explain why you think it´s a good idea and let them know how important is for you their support

You know yourself better than anyone does and a decision like this takes money and time. You have to be sure that this is what you want.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

I went to Germany 7 years ago and now I still think is the best decision I´ve ever had. I met so many different people, learn so much about myself and experience so many adventures that I can´t imagine how my life would be if I didn´t persist with my goal

I invite you to take this risk too and live the life you always wanted.

“An exchange won´t last forever, but at least you can make it longer if you want”

12799304_10153949779091499_1891852730273482240_nJuan Martinez is a Colombian who left his home country in 2009 at the age of 17 years old. Since then, he has been living in places like Germany, India and Singapore; something that inspired him to travel as many countries as possible with the idea of budget traveling and motivating people to go out and travel more. You can follow him on thetravelersbuddy.com or on Facebook/Instagram

Post-Exchange Life

To All Those People Telling Me To ‘Get Over´ My Exchange

There seems to be a large amount of people who don´t understand what an exchange is all about. People who have yet to discover there is a whole world out there to discover, and don´t understand why anyone would leave the comfort of their own home. Before you leave, they ask you why you would throw away a whole year to go on vacation. They ask you if you won´t miss your friends and family or why of all places you picked the country you picked. (Read; 10 things not to say to or ask exchange students). Then you go on exchange, and it changed your life, maybe even more than you expected. But these people stayed in their own little bubble, and as much they didn´t understand you going on exchange in the first place, they really don´t get you going on and on about it.

It´s okay. In many ways I understand how hard it is to see what an exchange does to you if you haven´t done it yourself. As much as I thought I understood what it was like (which was a reason for me to go), I was completely wrong about almost everything. It changed me in ways I couldn´t imagine, I learned things I never knew I never knew, so if you have never had an experience like it, I can understand why it might be hard for you to see how important this experience is and how, especially when you go as a teenager, this year has a huge influence on someone´s development.

But please, don´t ever ask me to ´get over´ my exchange. This is to everyone who has ever asked me why I was talking about my exchange. Again. To all the people wondering why it´s such a big deal. Why after all these years I am still talking about it, this is what I have to say.

One thing you have to understand is that an exchange is not a year in a life, it´s a life in a year. When you move abroad it´s not only a matter of getting to know new people and finding your way in a new city. It´s about finding a way in a city which street names are in a different language, sometimes in a different alphabet. It´s making new friends without even speaking the language. It´s trying to understand how things work around you, what is culturally appropriate and what not. Every conversation, every supermarket visit is a challenge. Being abroad is dealing with the feeling of being a complete outsider, feeling isolated and alone. It´s getting to know yourself by questioning everything you have ever learned. It´s learning that there is not just one ´right´ way to do things and, most importantly, it´s about learning there is a whole world to explore.

When we talk with our friends and family, we usually try to bring something new to the conversation. Something funny, something interesting. And my whole exchange was funny, and interesting. Don´t get me wrong, I have funny anecdotes from my life at home as well, but in no way do they compare to the craziness of what happens when you are a 16-year-old teenager trying to find their way in a foreign country (I haven´t figured out yet why nobody has copyrighted this idea for a sitcom).

My exchange taught me that people are different, and yet at the same time people are the same. In every country I have been to I have seen people like you. People that love their home, their family and the comfort that comes with it. People that don´t feel the need to explore, to go outside of their comfort zone, and that is fine, but until you have seen what the rest of the world has to offer (and with ´seen´ I don´t mean just to look at foreign things, I mean to actually understand, accept and learn from them) there is no way I could ever explain why I can´t just get over my exchange.

Final months of exchange, Post-Exchange Life

Leaving a life behind

It’s not a year in a life, it’s a life in a year is probably the most cliché saying in the exchange-world. However, it could not be truer. In my opinion, it is close to impossible to be the same person in your home country as in the country of your exchange. During the first months, the language barrier most of us have makes it hard to completely show people who you really are and when you finally reach a level where you can start expressing yourself, you have realized the differences in how people interact as well as understood to some extent how you should act to fit in – which probably differs from the person you was before you left. You might not realize it while still being in your host country but you ought to notice when you come home and everyone you knew expects you to be the same, when in reality the year that passed changed you more than any other year in your life.

By leaving your country, you won’t only leave behind friends and family, but also a part of the person you have become. A person with different views, a different language and a different lifestyle that might not be suitable for the country you called home for the majority your life. The ones of you still being on your exchange might not have reached the point where you realize this, but I have and all of you post-exchange students reading this probably knows what I’m talking about. In the moment I am writing this, sitting in the Argentinian sun, listening to cumbia while the asado is being cooked and all I can think about is, I am leaving soon. I have 107 days left in my magical city, 108 days left until I leave the country and one additional day until I am back on Scandinavian ground…

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My grandmother always tells me how life isn’t fair. How me and my sisters can’t get exactly the same amount of cake or presents for Christmas, but this, this is almost too unfair for me to handle. I have just found my place with my family, with my friends and with the country and then I am just supposed to pack my bags and leave? What sort of sick irony is that? You can forget to try and talk to anyone about it because they will not – cannot – understand. None of your friends understand the connection you get with your host country and all its pros and cons, because they never went on an exchange. My mother told me that I “should think about it as a glass half full instead of half empty”, but mom it’s harder than you think (and here I feel the need to add that neither did she go on an exchange).

Most exchange students count the days connected to their year. First, the days until you are going away which turns into the amount of days you have been in your host-country and then, how many days you have left followed by how many since you’ve been back. I believe the one that makes you feel most divided is the counting of how many days you have left. Of course you are excited to go back, to see your loved ones again after so long, to hug your parents and joke around with your siblings. But at the same time you never want the day to arrive, because it also means you have to leave a completely different life behind.

What most people say when I voice my feelings about leaving is; “But you can always come back and visit!” Yes of course I can and I promise that I will use every penny I have to spare on trying to return, but what they don’t understand is that it will never be the same. If (when) I come back it will be as a visitor, not as a part of society. A visitor that knows the people, the language and the culture but a visitor nonetheless, something temporary. I will never again be a students with my current classmates.

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 I will never again listen to my economy teachers really bad jokes, or experience my English teacher’s mood swings and I will never again celebrate Teacher’s day or Family day or Student’s day because everyone I know will have moved on. Moved on to work, to study and some are even moving out of the country… Never again will it be the same.

So while sitting here in the Argentinian sun, enjoying the music and the smell of the world’s best meat I can’t help but wonder, what will be left of my “life in a year” when I return?

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This post was written by Erika, a 17 year old girl from Sweden who spent her exchange year in Cordoba, Argentina. She comes from a big family of exchange students and if you want to know more about her (and know Swedish) you can check out her blog (there is also a little translation button on the site)

Exchange Student Problems, Post-Exchange Life

The Cost of Having International Friends

Having international friends is one of the most rewarding things in the entire world. I think after my exchange I hardly made any friends who were from my own country, and if they were they were also involved with the international community. There is some thrill about meeting someone from a different place. They can tell you things you never knew you never knew. They can give you a different perspective on certain things, including yourself.

International friendships are rewarding because they make you realize who and what you really are because they are often so completely different from you. They make you realize that the world is bigger. They give room to all the other personalities that are inside of you.

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Yet it is always at a certain cost. Amazing things always are. Having international friends, or friends who like to travel, means that you have to say good bye at some point. Having friends all over the world means that you never get to have ALL of your friends together.

I have been passionate about meeting from all over the world for as long as I can remember, but saying goodbye never gets easier. Every time I have to give someone a final hug for an uncertain amount of time, it tears me apart a little bit. I don’t think there has been a single good bye where I haven’t cried either before, during or after. Every friend I make takes a little piece of my heart when they have to leave.

Meeting people in or from another place makes for the most irreplaceable memories. Leaving those people behind doesn’t only mean you will leave them, but also that you will leave that place at that time and the way it was. It’s something special that makes that it is simultaneously great and sad.

 

 

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I would be lying if I said I it wasn’t worth it. It is worth every single moment of sadness. I think the fact that the sadness is so real, so intense, is only an indication of how valuable those kind of friendships are. I think the fact that a relation with someone can overcome the difference in language, culture and distance means that it’s real. It means that two people are at the same so-called wave length. But I would also be lying if I said it gets easier. That you get used to it at some point.

But then again, the fact that it is so hard to physically say good bye to new friendships proves the value of it. International friendships are not better than national friendships, but they are different, and it’s the diversity that makes it so wonderful. And a ‘good bye’ should never be a ‘good bye’, it should be a “See you again, some place, some time“.

Post-Exchange Life

The Identity Crisis That Comes After Your Exchange

My exchange affected my life in many ways. So many ways that I am not even aware of most of them, probably. What I do know is that it set my apart from other people, and not in the elitist kind of way. In a way that it makes you weird. You look like a social and open minded person, and people dig that. People admire your sense of adventure and think you are a cool person to hang out with because you have some nice stories.

But the truth is that after a while you realize you just don’t really fit in. Anywhere. And after starting one or two stories with “During my exchange..¨  people have heard enough and start asking if you can talk about anything else. They ask if you are planning to travel anywhere else, as if your exchange was just a trip, or when you are going somewhere they act surprised when you tell them it is “only for one month”, as if I am suddenly going to move to another place.

It makes me feel like I don’t fit in anywhere except with other exchange students. Even expats don’t understand because they have the liberty to stay in their own little community. But as an exchange student you HAD to fit in. You couldn’t just stay in your room all day and cook your own food. You had to go to weird ceremonies that you didn’t understand. You had to struggle with both the language and cultural miscommunications all the time and that is something that people will never understand.

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When I say I want to go somewhere people always say “Oh yeah I want to go there too!” and it made me feel like there are many people like us, that many people are willing to explore. And that is true. Many people are. But it’s actually going for it that sets us apart. I hear so many plans around me and NOBODY goes through with it. People sharing amazing travel quotes. “I would gladly live out of a suitcase if that meant I could see the world”. Well then go for it! Because seeing the world means living out of a suitcase. It means struggling with money, but apparently you would ‘gladly’ do it. So go. But people just want the happy times. They want the parties, the good food, but not the struggle of not being able to express your opinion in the way you’d like to, or having people misunderstand you. Of not having friends and family around. Of feeling lost sometimes.

But then at the same time, I am not doing it either. I am back in my home country and just entered my first year of University, and every single day I wonder what I am doing here. I really enjoy my study, I really enjoy the city I lived in and I have met some people here that I really care about, but this is not it. I find education VERY important and my study offers a semester abroad and this is maybe the only thing keeping me going right now. Because as much as I like it here, it is no challenge. I get good grades easily and even though I am learning a language it is not going nearly as fast as it would go if I were actually living in another place.

I tell myself I need to do this because it’s what everybody else does. Get a degree, get a job, get a family. But I feel that that is not what is going to happen. Not in the traditional way. And I wouldn’t want it to either.

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This blog is called ‘Nationality Unknown’ because I feel like I am stuck between countries, nationalities and personalities. When people ask me where I am from I have to tell them I am Dutch, but it’s not the whole story. I could tell them I am Panamanian but that is not true either. Some friends from other countries joke “No you are not Dutch, you are latina!¨ and I laugh, but I know that it’s not true. I am Dutch, but I am not only Dutch.

The problem is that most people see their options and opportunities within their country. But as someone who has been abroad and who is not afraid of leaving everything behind to start something new I know there is way more out there. When I see job offers in Uruguay, Australia or South Korea, I see those as actual opportunities, actual ideas. But because you open your mind to all these ideas, it makes it more difficult to choose and more difficult to know what you want, because I want it all. Being abroad has awakened the so-called ‘Wanderlust’ inside me that makes it impossible to stop thinking in countries to live. Not even travel, actually live.

I guess that is the price you pay for going abroad. Once you have seen the world of opportunities, ways to do things, you realize there is not just one way and you wonder what is the ‘best’ way, while in reality there is no ‘best way’, which makes it all even more hard and confusing.

Still, if knowing this would happen I would get the choice again, I would do it in a heartbeat.

 

Exchange, Final months of exchange, Post-Exchange Life

7 Songs You Need To Hear When Going Home After Your Exchange

Coming home after your exchange is hard. And songs help deal with hard situations. Here are 7 songs that relate to the feelings that surround the internal conflict that is coming home after your exchange.

1. What you and your fellow exchangers feel at the end of the year
The Final Countdown – Europe

¨We´re leaving together
But still it´s farewell
And maybe we´ll come back
To earth, who can tell

Will life ever be the same again?
It´s the final countdown¨

2. About already wanting to go back
Summer paradise – Simple Plan

¨And I can’t believe I’m leaving, ooh, I don’t kno-kno-know what I’m gonna do
But someday, I will find my way back to where your name, is written in the sand

‘Cause I remember every sunset, I remember every word you said
We were never gonna say goodbye, yeah, singing la-la-ta-ta-ta
Tell me how to get back to, back to summer paradise with you¨

And I’ll be there in a heartbeat

3. About how it will not be the same
Mama, I’m coming home – Ozzy Osbourne

“Here I come, but I ain’t the same”

4. About having a new home
Home again – The Disco Biscuits

“Never had a home like this,
And the prophets said, ‘Be careful what you wish.’
Never had to think twice,
Always knew my home was in paradise”

5. About ending your exchange
I was here  – Beyoncé

¨I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know
I was here¨

6. When you meet someone who knows what you have been through
Keep your head up – Ben Howard

“Now I saw a friend of mine, the other day,
And he told me that my eyes were gleamin’.
Oh I said I’d been away, and he knew…
Oh he knew the depths I was meanin’.
And it felt so good to see his face,
All the comfort invested in my soul,
Oh to feel the warmth, of his smile,
When he said, ‘I’m happy to have you home’.
Oh oh-oh, I’m happy to have you home.”

7. About feeling like a stronger person after your exchange
Coming home – Diddy

“I’m back where I belong,
Yeah I never felt so strong
(I’m back baby)
I feel like there’s nothing that I can’t try

….

I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the world I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the world that I’m coming”

Exchange, Exchange Student Problems, Post-Exchange Life, Study Abroad

10 Reasons Why Studying Abroad Ruins Your Life

1) You’ll never be able to have all of your friends at the same place at the same time because they are spread all over the globe

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2) You are going to want to cook all sorts of delicious foods from the country you studied,

but they never taste the same

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3) You annoy everyone around by starting every story with “When I was abroad…”

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4) You know stereotypes are untrue or incomplete

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5) You will never stop wanting to travel

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6) Everytime someone mentions a country you say

1) “Oh I’ve been there”
2) “I know somebody there!”
3) “I want to go to there!”

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7) You have to send your international friends lots of these

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8) You are always planning to go back

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When you see cheap flights

9) You will feel more nationalistic, yet at the same time also not.

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10) Because studying abroad was the best year of your life and whatever comes after might never live up to the time you spend abroad.

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Post-Exchange Life

20 Signs you are suffering from PES (Post-Exchange Syndrom)

How do you come back from the most amazing time of your life and go back to the ‘normal’ life, realizing that the next 50 so years of your life will not be as awesome and unique as what you experienced in the last semester or year of your life?

1. You start all your stories with “When I was on exchange..” or “In [insert host country] they ..”

2. And it drives people crazy

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3. You will talk to people in a language they don’t speak

Yes really. You will. 

4. You realize you don’t even speak your native language anymore

5. You realize you picked up a few strange habits

Like eating at unusual hours

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6. You start cherishing all the little things from your time abroad – even the bad times

7. You miss the feeling of discovering new things

8. You miss all of your exchange friends

9. .. and you realize that because they live all over the world, you might never get to see them all together in one place again

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10. You keep checking flight tickets to see how much it costs to go back

Dear Airlines,

11. Thinking “if I leave tomorrow at 3 in the morning I could fly there for only 300$, and be back before monday”

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12. At the same time realizing it won’t be the same

13. You drop everything you are doing when you hear the language from your host country, trying to find the source

14. And once you´ve found it you just have to say ‘Hello´
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15. You just don´t fit in anymore in your home country

16. You enjoy talking about other people in a language they don´t understand

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19. Missing the food like crazy

18. Stalking your study abroad town on Google Street View

 19. Thinking you could have done things better

Thinking about past actions like..

20. But at the same time thinking everything was perfect