Last year, there were about a million foreign exchange students in the United States alone.
It’s a very popular program among many nations, giving people a chance to experience other cultures and perspectives while they’re young and learning. There’s an aura of romance around it, and adventure. But is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Several exchange students from around the world submitted tidbits on what the experience is really like.
13. Ennui – (Pronounced “on-wee”)
What’s your sad music of choice, though?
Hey, better to realize this and not waste your time.
11. Culture clash
I think this would be deeply stressful.
10. Star-crossed lovers
I really hope this story has a happy ending.
9. Closed doors
Another victim of the cultural differences.
8. Caged up
This is my nightmare.
7. Home sweet home
Imagine how much they must miss you.
6. Chosen family
Just because they’re blood related doesn’t mean they were good to you.
5. Performance art
A good reminder not to exoticize people.
4. Fitting in
I assume from the use of the word “uni” that this person is in the UK.
3. Missing music
As a fellow piano player, that’s hell. Ask around!
2. A semester abroad
It really turns your world upside down.
No matter where you go in the world, there are sure to be people who totally get this.
Traveling to new places and learning new things has got to be exhilarating – but clearly it’s an extremely bittersweet process. Here’s hoping that most who try it will look back in fondness, and have no regrets.
Have you had experiences with/as an exchange student?
Tell us about it in the comments!