Ingredients for a Perfect Exchange


You receive your offer to study abroad in the country that you’ve always been in love with, and already you’re excited about the experience. In your mind, you have an image of an inspiring course, friendly and helpful people and delicious food. When you arrive, the reality may be different than your expectations and you feel overwhelmed and out of depth. Below are a few things to consider to help create the most memorable exchange. 


3 tablespoons of practicality
Be practical and keep your expectation to the minimum level. Why? Because life never goes the way you want and it is always full of unexpected surprises. The higher the expectations you have, the less happy you are. Sometimes you will encounter difficulties, such as annoying flat mates, tough modules, and unexpectedly high living costs and they can seem worse than they are when you’re alone in a new country with no family or friends and it can seem like your new found excitement is overtaken with stress and fatigue. Remind yourself that anything can happen and hard times can arise out of the blue at any time, you will be well prepared for when anything happens.

1 cup of openness
Keeping an open mind and a respectful and eager-to-learn attitude will enable you to explore many interesting things about the local culture and people around you. It can even give you a chance to be transformed into the best version of yourself. Seeing things at a different angle, you will find that difficulties are actually precious opportunities for you to learn the ways to solve them and to develop necessary soft skills. And this exchange study becomes the best chance so that you could learn to stay firmly on your own feet, manage your life well, and become truly independent and mature.

1lb of sharing
Now, even when you are practical and embrace challenges, you are still likely to experience difficult moments. Nostalgia, loneliness, and stress can really drive you off to deep end. Thus, there is no point in keeping all the negative feelings inside and let them drown you. Talking to your parents and siblings or chatting with your friends definitely will lift your spirit up. It is important to get it out of your system. You may also want to keep a list of emergency contacts of your exchange university to use them when necessary. And, remember you always can seek necessary support from your personal tutor and exchange officers; they are here for you!

2 ¾ spoonful of sociability
Another suggestion as to conquer hard feelings is to keep yourself busy. Participation in some students’ societies and other extra-curricular activities recharges your energy. You meet new people, widen your friendship circle, and engage in the activities you’ve never done before. Who knows, you can find someone that shares the common interests, experiences similar difficult situations to yours, and is willing to listen to your stories and express his/her compassion. Also, social activities are excellent opportunities for you to pursue your hobbies and explore your undiscovered talents.


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