lilianaBeing an exchange student is exciting. It is the best year of my life so far. No doubt. And it’s also the worst. No doubt. Leaving everything you have acquired during all of these years for the unknown. You go from euphoria to being sad; you have this wide range of emotions you experience only as an exchange student. It’s enlightening, your eyes will be opened to a new perspective and your life will be changed forever. Understanding how small you are, nevertheless knowing that you can make a difference.  You can find a new home in a place that you didn’t even know existed. You create unbreakable bonds with your family there and with your friends that you’ve found during your adventure. And the need for adventure and travel is nurturing inside you. And you begin to wonder what else is there to find out about and explore. You’ve dined and seen things you never even thought could possibly be, got better at a foreign language, felt alone, struggled with the burden and made it out alive and better than ever! For the future exchange students: try new things and make use of every possibility you encounter, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, keep calm and make the best use of your year. Heck, it’s a once in a lifetime experience don’t let it go past unnoticed! For exchange students that returned home, a.k.a alumni, a.k.a. our bright future and stars: now that you’ve had this experience, make use of it. Think about things you can make better in your country, stuff you can get involved in. Don’t keep your experience just to yourselves, help others benefit from it too! I want to end my story with a quote from J.R.R.Tolkien “Not all those who wander are lost”. So keep wondering and you might never know what you can find.

Written by: Liliana Simco, FLEX alumna 2014