One of our fall semester students, Svetlana from Spain, sent touching reflections about her exchange. We liked them so much that we wanted to share them with all of you. Most of you are now entering the last four or five months of your exchange programs and might be feeling some of the same things that Svetlana felt. What have been some of your best memories of your exchange so far? What have been some of your biggest challenges? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are two of the biggest challenges you faced during your program and how did you handle them?
"The first and the hardest one: understanding people talking. My English was not that bad before coming to the United States, but after being here, I realized that I needed so much more improvement. Taking my time, I learned to pay attention to every single word to be able to improve my understanding of the English language I think now I've got this! (at least it feels easier than in the beginning , haha.) The second challenge was the different school system. Every single aspect related to the school was totally different to what I was used to in Spain (schedule, types of classes, etc.). One thing that surprised me a little bit was that I had to call teachers by their second name (in Spain we always call them by their first name)."
What is your best memory of your program?
"I think the time I spent with some of my best friends here. All together at church, doing some trips, and hanging out in general... AMAZING!"
What will you miss most?
"The people - those who did anything for me since the first day I was here, those who I had a really good time with, laughed with, and could trust. In general, those who made this experience an even better one."
What advice would you want to pass on to a future exchange student?
"Do not be shy and scared. Even though at first you think it is going to be tough, you just have to know that there are going to be MANY people who will do whatever they can for your well-being. My advice? Enjoy it from the very first day. One day you will long for being in that moment again!!! [Personal experiences haha, I DO NOT WANNA LEAVE :) ]."