How Aliens live- life of an exchange student?
It all starts with a simple preliminary application but it ends with an unimaginable experience which most of the times refers to a good one. Sitting on the couch writing about life of an exchange student reminds me of my whole year. With lots of byes, excitement an exchange student leaves from one world to a different world to different people known as host family. As a tradition they ask you a bunch of questions and you try to answer them. Of course language barrier is one reason that you can only try to give the desired answers. As one of my exchange friends says, “I did not understand the word they said in the first couple of weeks”.
One important part of an exchange year is school, a place to have fun and spread awareness about your culture, where most exchange students go with an introductory paragraph about themselves and to be honest it is found creepy in most cases. First few weeks of the year are always a great deal because you are in the process of settling in a different culture but then things become more exciting as you get settled.
Now comes the part which is called Community Services. It might sound a little nerdy and boring as it did when I was on the other side of the river but now I can tell it’s not. An exchange student has to do certain hours of community services in order to understand the happenings around them and to spread their culture. I remember the first time I entered in that elderly house and the last time I walked out of that door. As my host mother said, “I can see the difference in you; the sense of responsibility you have attained will make you successful in life one day.” An exchange student grooms him/herself through volunteer work as similar to an adult who works for living.
Another turn in the life of an exchange student is the cultural shock/homesickness phase. It’s the phase in which he starts to miss his family and becomes ungrateful for the things around him. This phase usually comes around November. In order to get out of this phase, he/she may use tools such as humor, getting socially involved in stuff etc. I remember one of my friends telling me how he used to laugh at himself in order to avoid homesickness.
In the mean while comes activities and fun stuff that everybody wants to have. I remember how much I was afraid of the roller coaster rides and now I love roller coasters. Life of an exchange student is full of adventures, meeting new people, clearing the stereotypes/misconceptions of their culture and making life long relations. As we are talking about relationships, one thing I learned from my exchange year is; family is not the one which is related to you by blood but it’s the one who loves you and who you love.
In only ten months, an exchange student meets many people, some are good, some bad and some remind them of their beloved ones. People say addiction to alcohol is bad, some say addiction to food is bad but I believe according to an exchange student’s opinion, addiction to people is the worst and when he/she learns to overcome this addiction, they become mature.
The last but not the least comes the easy or so called wrap up zone. This is the time when he/she get so much adjusted in the community that they may not like to leave the home what once was an alien planet. This zone is full of goodbye memories, long life relations acknowledgements and identifying if your year was successful or not. One of my high school teachers said, “If the atmosphere is good then story can end but if it’s sad then it is not ended yet.”
According to me, you can live ten years of life in ten months but what do you think? You cannot say anything unless you live it. Say yes to YES (Youth Exchange and study) program!