The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

Leaving home to go home

May 18, 2023


Agnes Sorensen

Posing for a photo with my host moms. I have lived with three host families who have taught me so much. It is extremely hard to leave them very soon to go back to Denmark after one year here.

When I told people that I’m an exchange student I have gotten different responses. Some people have said, “That is awesome” or “How do you like it so far?” Other have asked, “Why would you do that?” This has been one of the best years of my life so far.

On Rotary Youth Exchange’s website an exchange is described as “Students learn a new language, discover another culture, and truly become global citizens.” Some do not have the full picture of what an actual exchange year is. I hope my experience will inspire others.

After being away from home for a year I have so many feelings about going home. At this point it has been extremely long since I have seen my family and friends, which is hard. At the same time, I absolutely love it here and I have so many people who I do not want to leave. 

To go back to the question “Why would you do it?” First of all, I have learned so much more than any of my peers back in Denmark. Second, I got a totally new start because no one knew who I really was. Third, why in the world would you not?

Exchange is not just an opportunity to find out who you are, but is an opportunity to actually become that better version of yourself. 

Exchange is not just an opportunity to find out who you are, but is an opportunity to actually become that better version of yourself.

— Staff Writer Agnes Sorensen

I have learned so much about myself. I have become more positive, spontaneous, persevering, independent, and outgoing. I have learned to solve problems on my own, my fluency in English has improved, and I have gained a better understanding of cultural differences, while developing life skills and learning how to tolerate the Georgia heat.   

In the beginning it is terrifying but so exciting at the same time. Now it is almost over and time has never flown by as fast as it has here. Being in an exchange is not just a year full of new and amazing experiences. It truly is “a life in a year.”

A downside about my year is that it does not count academically. Some people are very judgmental. When I say that to some people they ask, “Why would you do it?” I simply say “Why not?” It is one year that you will benefit from for the rest of your life. So what does one year behind your peers really mean?

With my friends who are also doing their exchange year in Georgia or Florida. I have met so many new people throughout my year. (Agnes Sorensen)

The exchange is not just about cultural experience for me but a dream that I followed and accomplished. If you have a dream you want to do and experience then just follow it and make it come true. It will be one of the best years of your life.

 Though I have never been as happy as I have been here, my exchange has also been like a double-edged sword. It is very hard once in a while. Being away from home for so long is not easy, but at the same time I have just gotten a new home here. 

The exchange is not for everyone. But if you have had the slightest thought about doing it, it truly is a sign for you to do it. Only people who have done an exchange fully understand how it is. I have learned how to interact with total strangers and develop new friendships around the world. 

It is one year that you will benefit from for the rest of your life.

— Staff Writer Agnes Sorensen

What is next for me? I still have two years of high school left, because our school system is different. Afterwards, I want to take a gap year and travel and come back here to visit. Then, I want to go to university for journalism. I already pursued a huge dream of mine, so I definitely believe that I can do more. 

Just writing about going home is hard. I have gotten a second home full of people who love me. They will always be a part of my life, and I will always be a part of theirs. Even though life will go on, I will always have these memories. I can never thank enough everyone who has influenced my year.

Tak for alting!

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