Sunday, July 26, 2009

---> Month numero 5

And so suddenly, it seems, I have been in this country as an exchange student for five months! It is amazing to be an exchange student and live the life that people live in another country. There are the hard times obviously. But just being here is amazing and I don't regret for one second choosing to do an exchange.

So for those of you who ask, what could possibly be hard about doing an exchange? Here are the answers. 
1. Isolation. Remember nobody speaks your language. You are from another culture. You are weird but interesting. Friends might include you or might not. If you have friends . . . maybe you don't have friends. 
-What you learn from isolation: it goes away. There are times when you feel more isolated than others. And as the exchange students, it's up to YOU to break the barriers, even if you can harldy speak the language. Photos of home country help.

2. Communication: Not only do they speak a different language, but also have a different way of saying things. The first mission is to get your message across, the second stage of that mission is to convey it with the sense that you would convey it with in your native language, which means understanding a lot more of the culture than it appears at first. 
-What you learn from that: Although it's nice to be able to know fully that you are getting your point across, it's generally not going to matter if you can't. If you can't explain something, will it matter next week? It's like survival class, do what is necessary to survive and the extra bits are like treats.

3. Being different: Kind of like isolation. Being around people from a different culture, who you are generally taller than can get a bit hard sometimes. You want to joke around and be yourself but sarcasm and your style of humor isn't as well understood yet. Which means you long for your friends back home who get you.
-What you learn from it: It can be fun too. Just get over it, and saying that to yourself does help, because it's no use being miserable when you could be having fun!

What I tell myself whenever times are hard is that it's not going to be hard forever. Because that's true. It's part of life to go through the tough times and nobody said life was going to be easier, it just makes it that much harder when you are in a foreign country.

The good stuff by far outweighs the hard stuff. 
1. Being an exchange student. You always have something to talk about - your home country. A good way to break the ice with someone. And you get special attention because you're foreign. Like being called by your full name instead of just your first name. 
2. The food. Empanadas, cakes and tortes. All is good. Bread too, because it's like little buns instead of loafs.
3. Markets. Jewellery really cheap and cool. Scarves cheap and cool. Markets are cool. 
4. Spanish. Speaking in a different language and thinking in a different language!
5. Friends. From around the world. It's just plain neat!

There's so much more, but one of the things I don't like is being tired so I'ma going to have to go to bed now!

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