I didn´t write this text, I found it online. I don´t know who wrote it, but it perfectly describes what exchange is. It is so true!
"Exchange is change. Rapid, brutal, beautiful, hurtful, colorful, amazing, unexpected, overwhelming and most of all constant change. Change in lifestyle, country, language, friends, family, parents, siblings, houses, school, simply everything.
Exchange is realizing that everything they told you before is wrong, but also right in a way.
Exchange is going from thinking you know who you are, to having no idea who you are anymore to being someone new. You are still the person you where before but you jumped into that ice cold water. You know how it feels like to be on your own. Away from home with no one you really know and you find out that you can actually do it.
Exchange is learning to trust. Trust people who, at first, are only names in a piece of paper, trust that they want the best of you. That they care of you. Trust, that you have the strength to endure a year on your own, endure a year of being apart from your everything that matters to you. Trust that you will have friends. Trust that everything is going to be alright.
Exchange is thinking. All the time. About everything. Thinking about the strange costumes, the strange food, the different language. About why you are here and not back home. About what it is going to be like once you come back home. How that boy is going to react when you see him again. About who is going to hug you first. About how everybody at home is doing. About how stupid this whole time-zone thing is. Thinking about what is right and what is wrong. About how stupid or rude you just where to someone without meaning to be. About the point of all this. About the sense of life. About who you want to be and who you are. About what you want to do next. About whether you should go home after school or hang out at someone's place until midnight. Someone you didn't even know a few month ago. And about what the hell that guy just said.
Exchange is people. Those incredibly strange people who look at you like you are an alien. Those people who are too afraid to talk to you. Those people who know your name, even though you have never met them. Those people who tell you who to stay from. Those people who talk about you behind your back, those who make fun of your country. All those people who are not worth giving a damn. Those people you ignore. But also these people who invite you to their homes. Who keep you sane. Who become your friends.
Exchange is music. New music, weird music, music you will remember your whole life as the soundtrack of your exchange. Music that will make you cry because of all those lyrics express exactly how you feel so far. Music that will make you feel like you could take on the whole world.
Exchange is uncomfortable. It is feeling out of place. Like a fifth wheel. It is talking to people you don't like. It is trying to be nice all the time. It is bugs...and bears. It is cold, freezing cold. It is homesickness, it is awkward silence and it is feeling guilty because you miss something while you are talking on Skype.
Exchange is great. It is feeling the connection between you and your host family grow. It is meeting people from all over the world. It is having a place to stay in almost all over the world. It is getting three new families. Your host family, your new friends and a huge group of the most awesome teenagers in the world.
Exchange is exchange students. Those people from everywhere, who know exactly how you feel and those who become your best friends even though you see most of them only three to four times during your year. The teenagers who take almost an hour to say their final goodbyes to each other. Those teenagers all over the world.
Exchange is falling in love. Falling in love with this amazing, wild, beautiful country, which is going to be your second home.
Exchange is frustrating. Things you cannot do, things you do not understand. Things you say, which mean the exact opposite of what you meant to say. Or even worse?
Exchange is understanding.
Exchange is unbelievable.
Exchange is learning to be thankful for the littlest things.
Exchange is not a year in your life; it is a life in one year.
Exchange is nothing like you may expected to be and everything you wanted to be.
Exchange is the best year of your life. Without a doubt. And it is also the worst. without a doubt.
Exchange is something you will never forget, something that will always be a part of you. It is something no one back home will ever truly understand.
Exchange is growing up, realizing that everybody is the same, no matter where they are from. That there are great people and douche bags everywhere. And that it only depends on you how good or bad your day is going to be. Or the whole year.
Exchange is realizing that you can be on your own, being an independent person. Finally. And it is trying to explain that to your parents.
Exchange is dancing in the rain for no reason, crying without a reason, laughing at the same time. It is a turmoil of every possible emotion.
Exchange is everything.
Exchange is something you cannot understand unless you have been through it.
Exchange is life."