No matter where you’re from or where you went on exchange, there’s a lot of moments that exchange students have all experienced. Some of those moments are wonderful, some are a little scary, but they all make up the most amazing year of our life. There are even more amazing moments that happen after your exchange year that continue to make the experience unforgettable.
1. When you arrive back in your home country.
Wow, being home is great, I have so many things to talk about and I want to tell everyone how great my year was and everything was perfect!
2. And everything is different.
When did they replace the movie theatre with a shoe store?
3. When people ask how your "vacation" was.
Excuse you? Vacation is relaxing, exchange is exhausting.
4. When you forget words in your native language.
It's that thing that you lie down in when you're tired and you want to go to sleep...Le lit? La cama? Das Bett?
5. When you realize you've told someone the same story three times.
Did I tell you about the time that I was in Italy and we...oh...I did?
6. When you meet another former exchange student at school/work/etc.
Someone once told me that if you put two exchange students in a room of 1000 people, they'd find each other in less than 10 minutes.
7. When something major happens in your host country.
I need every bit of information available and I need to contact all of my host families right now.
8. When people ask you to speak your host language.
I'm not really saying anything of importance, but it's still pretty impressive, right?
9. When someone in your host family gets married, has a baby, etc.
And you want to be there so bad but you can't!
10. When you have to explain to somebody where you lived for a year.
Especially if you were on exchange in a small and obscure country
11. When somebody mentions your host country.
Did somebody say Belgium?!
12. When you find that one exotic food product that you need to re-create your favorite food from your host country.
Honestly, why is so hard to find Andalouse sauce in the United States?
13. So you try to re-create your favorite meals for your friends.
You've spent years telling them how good it is and now you can finally prove it to them!
14. And it pales in comparison to your host mom's cooking.
It's just not the same, no matter how hard you try.
15. When your host country appears in the Olympics.
Yes, they got a bronze medal in a really obscure sport, but you're just happy that they're getting some recognition.
16. When people ask you for travel advice.
The best way to see Rome is by walking, don't you dare get a Segway, you'll look like a tourist.
17. When your exchange program asks you to come back and speak to future exchange students.
But mostly you just go back so that you can re-live the entire experience vicariously through them.
18. When you go through your photos and start to miss everyone you met on your year abroad.
When scientists develop teleportation, your exchange friends are the first people you're going to go see.
19. When you start planning your trip back.
Only 304 days until I get to go back!