Dear baby exchange students,
Yeah you, the ones who are so excited to fly away in just a few months or weeks. Take a deep breath, this is really exciting - I know! Here’s a few tips from a girl who is not ready to leave her host country, hopefully they are a bit different from the “don’t hide in your room” tips you always hear:
1. Take photos. Of everything. A good meal, your friends, a dog you see on the street. Do not be embarrassed to take selfies in front of random things. The locals won’t get it, but they don’t have to.
2. Eat the scary thing. It might be nasty, it might be amazing - either way you have a story.
3. Don’t take a single moment de granted. Because one day you won’t see that view of the town on your long, rainy walk home. You will miss it.
4. Exchange weight is whatever. Eat all the things. Eat Japanese sweets and Italian pasta with your friends until your stomach hurts from good food and laughing.
5. A good way to make friends is just tagging along. My best friends here, I made by pretty much following them around for weeks until I became a part of the friend-clique. It works!
6. Take a deep breath. Some days, everything will suck. Remember how lucky you are to explore the world.
7. Go to school. But also skip class. Be lagom, as the Swedes say. It doesn’t translate to English properly, but it means not too much, not too little - just right.
8. Remember that you go through 5 years worth of growth in exchange. That comes with five years of emotions in one year. Feel these intense feelings, and roll with them. Let them come. It will make you better.
Good luck, my little exchangers! You’ve got the world ahead of you - go take it all in!