My American dream 1 Crossing the big pond and why it’s sometimes hard not to swim back
November 5, 2015
Making the decision to be an exchange student, first sounds nothing but good. It sounds like an adventure, like the ultimate chance to make experiences you can learn from and grow from and like having a whole new life for one year. Maybe even to change, be a new person, the one you want to be. The half year before you leave it’s all about that. It’s about daydreaming about little adventures, having camps and meetings with other exchange kids, talk about all that what is going to happen and how amazing it’s going to be. And it is amazing.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s not different than you thought it’s going to be. Than in your daydreams.
Daydreaming is always a little bit dangerous. You have wishful thinking and expectations which are all good, at least in your head. But when it actually comes to reality, your daydreaming is nothing but pressure and the thoughts about what if it’s not going to be like that. And with pressure, it actually is not going to be like that.
Before you leave a lot of people are telling you that besides of all the good things it is also going to be hard. Some nod, some say “yes, of course” and some actually understand that. I knew that it’s going to be hard, and I even think that it should be hard. That you should struggle and be insecure and fight and sweat and learn and grow and after all be secure like you’ve never been before. But even though I knew that too, you never really know something unless you experienced it. People can tell you about something and give you an idea and it is even a hard thing to understand what people are talking about, but you need to have your own feelings about it, and go through crap on your own.
When other people have problems you can be there for them and think of solutions for their problems but there is no such thing like true compassion. Because when you don’t feel the problem like the other person does, it’s never going to be so important for you. The same thing are the experiences. You need to life through them on your own.
So it’s hard. It is hard to walk alone through school and think if the girl/boy you’re looking at just seems to doesn’t want to be talked at or if you could find a really good friend if you’re just brave enough to say something. It’s hard to know that you could say so much more when you wouldn’t talk English. It’s hard to have the feeling you don’t know what to talk about because you have this pressure inside of your head to have to make friends. It’s hard to see groups develop with people who just know them as long as you know them and you still searching for something like that. And sometimes you wish people would integrate more, use their brain to see “oh, there’s an exchange student sitting next to our group, we could integrate her”. You also have to be able to always enjoy the moment and everything when novelty begins to wear off.
Yes, it is hard to be brave and strong.
But at the end of the year when you’ve finally found your friends, your group you laugh about why you didn’t just talk. But that’s exactly the way it has to be.
The good thing about it is, that when you’re going through this hard moments and having this amazing moments after that, you will appreciate like you never thought you would. You’ll have the feeling you earned it.
That is the character of this year. You’re having a lot of great and a lot of hard moments. Because truly this exchange year is really nothing but good even when it’s hard it’s nothing but amazing. I love to extend my family, I love meeting new people and getting out of this group thinking you get in when you never get out of your daily life and the group of friends you left behind. I love getting other ideas and opinions and I hope I’ll have a lot more of that. I love seeing new things, getting surprised, having a new daily life. One famous guy said once something like “the biggest challenge of human being is dealing with the pain of a daily life”. And that’s exactly what I like about it. Having a daily life for one year so you can build something, so you can work on things but knowing that it’s not for forever and you’re not getting bored. I love seeing a new country with a different culture, I love being challenged, social just as mental. I love speaking in a different language and having the feeling to achieve something, to do something different from what you’ve done before. I love the taste of new.
So being an exchange students is one of the greatest, hardest and most challenging, most amazing adventures happened so far in my life. And whatever will happen during this year, I will never regret it.