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Across The World- An Account of an Exchange Student’s Journey.

Elisa Jiménez, Staff Writer

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Being an exchange student is a great and an amazing experience but it is also really hard. I am from Spain but now I am living and studying here in Weatherford. I will talk to you from my point of view.

Going to another country to live is not just packing your stuff and leaving, you have to say goodbye to the people you love the most, your friends and your family, knowing that you will not see them again in almost a year and that maybe some of them will not be there when you get back.

Then you have to pack a year of your life in a 23 kg(50.7 lb)  suitcase and board a plane(in my case for ten hours) to arrive to what will be your new home. In Spain it is seven hours ahead than in Texas.When there is so much time difference, you arrive in your new country totally disorientated.

At first the language is difficult to understand because the English that we study at school in Spain is British English, but it is a matter of days before getting used to it.

The biggest problem is the pronunciation. Each foreign student has his or her own accent from their country and sometimes it is hard for people understand you, especially if you are from Spain because we have a very strong accent. However the pronunciation improves within a couple of months.

Another of the challenges faced by a foreign student is High School. Unless you are a very lucky person, the first day of school of an exchange student is super overwhelming. It is very normal to feel lonely; you are in a foreign country, away from your comfort zone, you do not know anyone and you don’t understand anything in class.But once you get into the routine, everything is much easier and you start to know more people.

The most important thing for a foreign student it is the host family. Maybe things are going very well for you in the High School, but if not you need someone to trust and that makes you feel comfortable when you arrive home each day. So having a good relation with your hosts is essential, because they will be like your real family for a year.

People usually tell us that we are very brave for doing this: leaving all our friends and family and going to live to a different place with different people. But an exchange is not just that, an exchange means sharing yourself, your culture, your thoughts and your feelings with someone and being able to receive the same from them.

It is try new things, maybe you like them, maybe not, but you can say that you have done all those things. It is knowing yourself, who you really are and learning how to be better and stronger every day.

Until you are out of your comfort zone you don’t realize all this, and at first it can be really hard and you wonder, what am I doing here? But little by little you realize that you are living the year of your life. Your family and your friends are always going to be there for you. Nothing is going to be better than your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid of leaving. If you have the opportunity of studying abroad- just do it.

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Across The World- An Account of an Exchange Student’s Journey.