Only you yourself know what’s best for you.
Being an exchange student made me realize that I had to make a lot of decisions on my own. After being here for nearly two months, I have come to realize that a lot of people like to ‘give advises’, such as ‘you should have done this’, or ‘you shouldn’t have done that’. However, as much as people like to and often do it, only we, exchange students ourselves truly know what’s best for us. The circumstances and situations that we are in is often really hard to explain, and only we ourselves understand how it feels. I am truly grateful for the advises people have been giving me, but if you were in my situation, you would have probably done the same.
Only you can help yourself .
I’m not saying that being an exchange student, you won’t get any help at all and will be stranded in a foreign country all by yourself. What I am saying is, we are in a situation whereby only we can decide how we want to live our exchange year. Being in a totally new environment is not easy, trust me, and talking to a friend of someone who understands your situation is really helpful too. However, only you can make a change, whether to take the first step out of your comfort zone or to continue being shy and avoiding everybody. If you don’t take the initiative to take the first step or make a change, it will forever stay the same and you will be stuck in the same awkward situation forever, despite everybody else trying to help you.
You never truly know who you are.
I always thought that I knew who exactly I was, which kind of friends suit me, what type of food I like and what not, but after being here for two months, I do not really know anymore. It is not that I am losing my identity and freaking out or anything, it is just that I am seeing a new side of me everyday. I used to hate wholemeal bread with nuts and so,but after being here in Germany for two months, I am starting to like it. Things change, and so do you. Of course it has something to do with having more possibilities and choices, but I know deep down, I’ve changed and I am still changing.
Being an exchange student is not easy.
I am sure you have seen a lot of exchange students saying or posting posts about this, because it is the truth. What people see is what we choose to show, simply because we don’t want people to worry. It’s not that we’re getting suicidal or anything, but we just need some time to settle down and fit in. Being in a whole new environment, we need time to digest the new culture, the new language. The language barrier too makes it harder for us to understand people and to be understood. People may think we’re living the life without stress what-so-ever, but that really isn’t the case.
I’m more independent.
People often say you don’t have to go abroad to learn to be independent, but is that really true? Being independent to me, does not mean going to school by yourself, or buying food for yourself. In my opinion, being independent means being responsible for your own actions. After coming to Germany, I start to plan how I spend my money, what can and what can I not do. Being in another country with time difference, you can’t always ask for help over small matters, that’s when you have to decide for yourself and take full responsibility of the consequences of the decisions you make.
People come and go.
Since the start of my exchange journey, I have met countless people, let it be from a dinner or even spending a day together. However, we can’t always keep in contact with everybody we’ve met. People come into our lives, some stay, some leave, but ultimately they will leave an impression and in one way or another, they have shaped us into who we are today. It might be that one word or that one look on that person’s face. After this program or even after meeting for that one time, we might never meet each other again, but I’m grateful to have met you and thank you for coming into my life even for that short instant.
These are just a few things that I would like to point out after being away from home for almost 2 months.