Donnerstag, 13. November 2014

Life as an Exchange Student / Thoughts / Time

Hey guys!
First Post in English :D
Sorry, I really don't have time to post more, but I will try to. Yesterday, I wrote my thoughts down, so, it's not really an update...

I asked several exchange students from all over the world which thing changed the most for them since they’re in their host countries. The most common answers were “Myself”, and “Time”. Time is something, you can hardly define (Wow, first rhyme in English). Time is something that’s always around us. Time is also for me one of the things that changed the most since I’m in my host country. Time has become the most precious thing for me. The time with my friends at school, the time at church, the time with my host family, because my time here is limited. I won’t have a “next week” to go to Dillons with my ‘new’ mom. I won’t have a “next day” to watch a movie with my ‘new’ dad. I won’t have a “next month” to spend time with my ‘new’ sister. I won’t have time for all these things after I’m back in Austria. Before I came here, I didn’t really care about time. I played video games, sometimes for hours. I spent so many hours sleeping or just lying in my room. Or watching stupid TV shows, or movies. I missed so many things, so many memories, because I didn’t realize how valuable, how precious time is. Time has become a whole different thing. If you learn something during exchange, it’s to live your life now, to live in the here and now. That you probably won’t have a second chance to make that one special experience.
Everyone says, the best thing to split our time is to trisect between friends, host family, and school (with homework and studying), which isn’t possible at all. You have to split between a whole bunch of things. You have to cover class, family, homework, friends, sleep, hobbies, time for yourself (which you absolutely need, even if it’s just to read a book, or listen to music), and sports (if you play something), while you need more sleep than usually, because everything is much harder for your brain. It takes a lot more energy to translate everything like I did in the beginning. It’s getting better, but it takes time. Time, you don’t have. So I tried to push myself through the days without enough sleep. It works for a very short time, then you have to choose another thing is the most neglectable. Hard decision, but I had to make it, more than once, when you’re like me, because I tried to come back to less sleep whenever I could (It doesn’t work, it really doesn’t).
I’m already afraid of the last day I will spend here. I’m afraid of the things I wouldn’t have done on this day. That’s why I try to make every second countable. I’m grateful for every second I can spend with my classmates, my friends, and my host family. It makes me so sad to think of the time after my exchange. On one hand I will have the best experience a person can make, on the other hand I have two homes, and I will be homesick. I can’t imagine how to wake up in the morning, and not looking forward to go to school, because of the teachers, because of the classes, because of the classmates. I can’t imagine how to come home from school, and not looking forward to a hug from my host sister, and to respond to “I’m sure, school was really exciting today?”, with a sarcastic “Yeah, what else?” I don’t know how to do homework without expecting a movie after (or during) we have dinner together. I can’t believe how much I will miss this family. No one can imagine how much you can love people who open their home for you after just a couple of weeks, even if you don’t speak the same language. I’m so thankful for being here. Every second I can spend with them is a gift. Every second I’m with them, I’m happy. Every second I’m not with them, I will regret. I enjoy every second of being with them. Even if we’re not doing anything, even if we’re just sitting in the same room. We don’t even have to tal. Even their presence makes me grateful. I love to play a game with my mom. I love the way my dad explains history. I love how my host grandpa says Daniela instead of Dani. And I love to discuss and compare politics with my host sister. I love being with her, it’s just like I’ve found my lost twin in most things, that’s awesome.
I’m afraid of the day I have to say goodbye to the people I got to know. I’m afraid of the reaction of my friends and family at home. It’s like I’m not the same person anymore. I’m afraid, they don’t except me. I’m afraid, they expect the same person then before this year. But I’m not the same person anymore. I’ve changed like never before. Nothing will change you and your personality more than an exchange year, but only exchange students will understand it.
I can’t believe how long I’m here already. Almost 3 months. I have just 7 months left. The time flies way to fast. Every time I think of how fast the farewell comes closer I get sad. But then I try to think of all the experiences I will make until then. It mostly works. But sometimes it makes me even sadder (and I didn’t know that this word exists, a cheer for the spelling check in Word!). But as soon as someone begins to talk to me, I’m happy again. I can’t say why, I can’t describe it. I just know, I have to speak with someone to get happy again.
At the beginning I was afraid of making mistakes. I didn’t speak much, and I’m so glad for the people who made me speak. Without them I wouldn’t have spoken at all. And without trying you can’t improve your language. You can improve your language only in one way, and that’s speaking. I know now, that no one cares how much mistakes you make, the most important thing is to laugh about your mistakes. I’ve made so many mistakes since I’m here, I can’t count them, and the most of them are in school. I think, US people are the most open minded people of the whole world. That’s probably, because the already have like every culture in their country, but no one will laugh at you. No one will say “Haha, that’s wrong.”, or something like that. That’s another big difference about Europe and the US.
As I wrote this text, I realized, I have 8 siblings. And I realized I’m in the middle. I’m the oldest one in Austria, but I’m the youngest in the US. And I love both. I hope I can spend many more hours as the youngest sister. Now, I’m fighting with tears. Again. I just realized how much I will miss them, I won’t miss them like I miss my sisters in Austria, I will miss them much more. I didn’t expect to get such a great family when I was in Austria. One week before I flew here, I didn’t had a family. I didn’t expect, I will get the best family, I was the last exchange student from Austria who got a family. 5 days before I began this journey. 5 days and 3 emails from my new family later I came here. I knew they’re nice, but this family is just awesome. I’m so glad I got the "last" family. Some of the others got their family a couple of months earlier, and they had already to change them.
I don’t think, exchange is something for everyone, but it was the right thing for me. It was the best decision I’ve ever made so far.

~ Dani

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