Being an exchange student
Hi, my name is Laura. I am 17 Years old and I am spending my exchange year in West Virginia. I love going to school here and doing things with my friends.
It took me a long time to realize that I am living my dream. My dream that I always wanted to live. My dream that for a long time was only a dream. I have already been here for 4 months. And all I can say it’s been a great time so far.
I have an incredible host family and I cannot imagine leaving them, when I go back to Germany. I didn’t really think about it before I came here what it would mean to be an exchange student. And I also didn’t really think about having bad times during my exchange. Because when I looked through social media I just saw the good moments of an exchange year. But being an exchange student isn’t just happiness or just good moments. Being on exchange is also a time full of emotions and confusion. You have daily mental breakdowns even though you love it here. You feel really happy in one moment, but in the other moment you are literally so sad that you start boiling and you don’t even know what’s wrong. Or sometimes you wish you could go back immediately to your home country even though you actually want to stay a year longer.
We, exchange students are some really brave people, because we left everything familiar just to go on a big adventure of finding another home. We want to experience new things. And what would an exchange year be without challenges? It wouldn’t be an adventure.
I was for the first time in situations alone and I kind of got the feeling of being grown up. I learned to be careful with money, so I still have enough at the end of the month. Or how I wash my clothes. Or if I am sick that mommy isn’t here anymore for me to maybe give me a kiss or a hug. As I said without challenges it wouldn’t be an adventure. But in all those moments I needed to think that I am not really alone. I have my family and my friends here in the USA who I love and who can always help me.
And after 4 months full of emotions I finally can say I arrived at home. I got the feeling back how it is being home. The homesickness just disappeared. And now I can say I found my home – My home in America.
exchange student from Germany
living with the Martin family in Point Pleasant, West Virginia