Learning and Growing

Ronja from Norway

Learning and Growing - February Blog

I've learned a lot during my exchange year, and I want to tell you guys a little bit of what you will learn and some advice for future exchange students that is important to know.

1. Language
Before I left I was so scared and insecure about my English. I was so stressed because I kept thinking “what if I'm gonna have hard times understanding and explaining”. But don’t be insecure, everyone here think its cute with an accent, and your English will improve super fast when you first get into the new routines and you actually don't have a choice, you just have to talk English because no one understands for example Norwegian here.

2.Social life
It can be hard to fit in, and sometimes all you want to do is to give up. But keep an positive mind, keep talking to people at school, and NEVER say no to join people to do stuff after school like going to the movies, a park or to just go for a walk, even though you may be exhausted and all you want to do is to go home and take a nap, never ever say no (unless they’re bad influence). The best thing you can do to make friends is to join clubs and sports. Clubs and sports is such a big thing in American high schools, and everyone is a part of something here! And thats like the biggest source where you can make friends.

3. Expectations
We all have certain expectations when it comes to the year in general, host family, placement, etc… And most of us set them to high. So did I, I’m not telling you that you should have negative thoughts about the whole thing, but if you set your expectations to high, you will get the biggest culture shock, and that’s no good. Because everything is gonna be different from your home country and you can’t expect the whole experience to be perfect, because it won’t. We all exchange students are gonna have hard times, and that’s just how life is.

4. Your self
You have no idea how much you are gonna learn about yourself. You will be come more independent and outgoing. Remember you are traveling all alone to a different country and continent without your dearest parents. You will grow so much as a person and get to know your self so much better. I’ve learned so much about myself during my year here in the US so far.

5. Life
I have learned that I have nothing to complain about when it comes to my life in general. I got to go on an exchange which was my biggest dream. And I could not tell how much I appreciate it. A big thanks to my biological family, my host family and my organizations! I would never be able to experience this without them and the thought of people who maybe aren't allowed to go on an exchange hurts my feelings because this is an experience you don't want to live without. So if you have the change to go, I have one word, GO! Do it.

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