4 months have passed, since I came on an exchange program. For the past two weeks, I was in a city called Konstanz in the south of Germany. We rode around a lake, Bodensee which was the largest lake in Germany. We rode for around 30 to 40 kilometers everyday and in total we rode for around 180 kilometers. I reflected a lot throughout the trip, thinking of how coming on an exchange has changed me as a person. One thing that occurred to me was how I was more of myself now.
We live in a society where we are constantly required to blend in, to fit in. Even after coming on an exchange program, people tell me ‘just try to fit in’. What if some people just don’t want to fit in? What if some people just prefer to be different? If I learnt anything from Berlin, it would be how to be tolerant and accepting of everybody. Walking the streets of Berlin, I see people expressing themselves however they like everyday.
Coming on an exchange program is sometimes a huge responsibility, not for our home countries, nor for our families, but for ourselves. Why? Because we are given a chance, to start anew, to create our own first impression for others. How and what we do is completely our own decision, whether we want to become an introvert or an extrovert, whether we want to be a person that is always out in the limelight, or someone that lingers in the shadows. We are shaping our own personality, our own image that will be with us for the next entire year.
This chance given to us is very significant, because it gives us the opportunity to finally live our lives the way we want it away from expectations. However, at the same time, it’s very dangerous, because we might be straying away from the right path without even realizing it. This is the exact reason why it is a huge responsibility, not for anybody else, but for ourselves. This process, where we change our lifestyle to find what fits us best is a ‘try and error’ process. There is no definite answer how long it will take, but we are definitely in the process.
I have met a lot of people throughout my exchange program and observed a lot. To me, life is about enjoying ourselves, doing things that make us happy. I do not see point in forcing oneself to change in order to fit in. Life is way too short to try to please everybody. Along the road, there will definitely be people who end up being against you, and to be honest, there is actually not much we can do about it. I used to be someone who tried to please everybody, but soon realized it was simply impossible, so I gave up and have never been happier.
Finding the people whom you enjoy being around, the things that you love doing, that is to me, the point of living. Which is why I think it is very important to find ourselves and stop trying to be somebody else. This is the exact reason why I enjoy myself so much on an exchange program now, because I have this opportunity to find out who I am, who I want to be and this is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. I cannot say that I have already completely found myself but I am definitely in the process. Coming on an exchange opened my eyes to the world, the endless possibilities, and the fact that the only thing standing between our dreams and us now is ourselves.