WE ARE EXCHANGE STUDENTS So much is said about being an exchange student, but only when you experience it. Things make sense. It is definitely not easy and whether you want it or not, you´ll end up changing and growing. Once your exchange is done YOU finally realize that you can handle way more than you could and would ever imagine. You need to appreciate things you have because they might be gone sooner than you think. Life is not easy. True friendships are really forever. The best part about being an exchange student is not about the parties or places you get to go. Not the independence and life experience, but the friendships.
I’m not talking about the friends you made from your host country but about the other exchange-student friends. For most of us, they were the very first “friends” we had in this new experience. We met them in orientation meetings or trips, etc. They were the first people we actually talk to without having the fear of speaking in a different language. No matter what, there’s a big difference between “host country friends” and “exchange student friends”. Exchange students have a special bond. Despite language and cultural differences, you’ll understand one another because you experience similar situations. The hardest part of facing the end of your exchange year is to accept the fact that it’s gonna take a while until you have the chance to travel the world to see your exchange friends again. Because once you leave your host country, deep down inside, you know that sooner or later you´ll be back, but when are you going to have enough money and time to travel the world again??? Some of us became friends because we were placed in the same schools, lived in the town nearby each other. Others we met along the year, during trips and meetings… The trips… first day nobody knows each other, everyone is shy… By the end of the trip everybody knows everybody and says good bye in the last day is as sad as when we left our friends and family in our home countries… How many lifetime friendships and romances started with. “How can I say this in your language?” It´s hard to believe that so much can start from such a simple sentence! Does this story sound familiar to you??? Just wait, it gets worse… The very first trip, when it is time to leave is not so terrible because you have the whole year ahead of you, so the chances of meeting everyone again are very big. Time goes by and your year is slowly getting to an end. You have your last trip… Probably it will be the very last time you’ll see most of your exchange friends for “God-knows-how-many-years”… this feeling is just horrible!!! It’s when you wish things would never end. When you wish you could turn back time and do everything again, and maybe do what you want but never had the guts to, like kissing that girl/boy or spending more time with A, B and C… And there you are, saying good-bye, fighting the tears and making promises to people that you could never imagine you would meet in your life… Unfortunately, things don´t always work as we want and not that everything is possible… Once your year is done, it is when you realize who you will ALWAYS miss the most. Your exchange friends spread all over the world. And one day you’re gonna be at a Geography or history class and as some countries are mentioned, you’ll think about your friends that are half way around the world away from you, and you´ll have to fight the tears again… Their occasional letters, phone calls and emails are going to be of unbelievable value and will bring joy to your bad day/week. And this is what this email is about. Most of us never thanked these friends, and never said how much they mean to us. So here it is: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU? You are all wonderful, special and unique, and I´ve been made a better person just by knowing you. You’ve made my year unforgettable. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget the time we spent together! Hopefully we will meet again someday! Doesn´t matter how many miles keep us apart. I’ll always be here for you. The end of our exchange year doesn’t mean the end of friendships. As said before true friendships are forever. “As we go on, we remember all the times we had together. And as our lives change, come whatever. We will still be friends forever”.