What It Feels Like To Be An Exchange Student

Sometimes between August 2007 – August 2008

From August 2007 to 2008 I’m very lucky to participate in an exchange program from Nacel Open Door to Omaha, Nebraska – US. Spending 1 month for holiday abroad is easy but spending 10 months away from your family and friends to spend your senior year in high school is exhilarating yet scary. There’s so many experience you would gain and like to share. Yet, the person who would understand you the most is your fellow exchange student friend. This might look like I’m being a smug; believe me I’m not :). Sometimes there are moments in your exchange program that cannot explain merely by stories. You have to experience it yourself then you would get the Aha moment.

Below just some Aha moment you know you’ve been an exchange student.

  1. You’re first day of school would fill with memorizing your schedule and way to go to class
  2. You spend a lot of time smiling and trying to say Hi to someone sit beside you at class
  3. You would get really happy when someone knows where is your country on a map
  4. You’re first friend are other exchange student
  5. You’ve called every person who says “hi” to you your friend… because you don’t really have any yet.
  6. You would be used to someone asking you “Hello where are you come from” and “what’s your country likes”
  7. Sometimes you walk around the school during breaks to act like you’re doing something
  8. The happy feeling when you first see the snow (I guess this happen only when you live in 2-season country. Like me!)
  9. When you do something wrong and people start to look at you differently, your excuse is “That’s how we do it in my country” even if it isn’t.
  10. You buy clothes matching up with the brand your school friend is using so you don’t look like much foreigner
  11. You start to forget how to speak in your own language
  12. You automatically introduce yourself by saying: “I’m (name) and I’m from (country)
  13. People’s stares don’t bother you anymore
  14. You get frustrated doing your homework in other language
  15. You sign up with as many extra activities in school you can
  16. That happy feeling when your school friend invite you to hangout after school or on a weekend
  17. You’re never sure if someone’s being your friend or just flirting with you
  18. You started to change your meal portion. Matching it up with your host country portion.
  19. When you pack to leave your host country, you don’t know how you would put all your junk in a suitcase.
  20. You kinda get the hype of your host country sports mascot and watch it live
  21. Someone would give you comments like: “So you’re from (country), do you live on trees? Is there running water there?” or just random silly questions
  22. You got confuse where to sit on the first day in the cafeteria during lunch hour
  23. Your dream becomes bilingual
  24. You carry dictionary and camera in your bag
  25. You attend all the local festival or celebration in your host country
  26. You feel awkward in huge family dinner.

The list would keep go on. But, an exchange students would never forget their first day of school feel like 😀


5 thoughts on “What It Feels Like To Be An Exchange Student

  1. Nowthatsahoneymoon says:

    Is #23 real? LOL that’s hilarious! Although I never experienced this, I moved to London to work coming from the Philippines and it surely takes a while to settle in a different environment. Great list you got here.

    • Shabrina Koeswologito says:

      Hai April!

      Yes #23 was real. A bit strange though.hahah. So, you’re in London now? Im going to UK to travel for a month. Recommendation if its worth it to travel to Isle of Sky or Glasgow?

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