My experience as an exchange student in America
September 16, 2022
Departure and arrival
When I was driving home from the airport with my new American family I was tired but very excited and hot. I felt a bit sick after a long flight, not enough sleep, and saying goodbye to my life in Denmark, but I knew that this was what I had waited for for so long.
I now started to actually realize the fact that I was in America, and I would be here for a whole year, which was just as exciting as I thought.
One of the first things I realized was how hot it is here compared to Denmark, but also that people are very friendly. An airport man said, “How are you?,” and I thought, “Thank you so much for asking.” People do not really ask in Denmark, and they seldom say, “Excuse me.”
Another thing that also shocked me was how loud the toilets are when you flush them. I am right there, do they need to be so loud? Everything is also way bigger here: cars, houses, Target.
When being open minded and saying hello to people most welcome me and say, “That’s so cool.”
I heard about the Rotary Youth Exchange Program through my grandfather, and thought, “When can I leave?” I thought living in another country for a year, getting better at English, meeting new people, and getting a second family in the U.S. sounded amazing. I could have a chance at a once-in-a-lifetime experience by “living the American dream.”
The process of becoming an exchange student is long and a bit stressful with applications, interviews, immunizations, papers, documents, and visa. There is a lot of waiting time, but it is definitely worth it. I remember when I was told my location, and how I screamed with excitement.
Something that was really hard was saying goodbye to my friends and family. I had a weird feeling when I said, “See you in a year.” At that moment at the airport, I realized that my exchange was happening right now, which was a crazy feeling.
I am finally here and I absolutely love it. Most things are different, but I am slowly getting used to it. I love the fact that I will spend the next 10 months here.