University of Zaragoza, Spain
Some things in life are just too good to pass up – and exchange is definitely one of them!
When deciding to go on exchange to Spain, I figured it’d be a good chance to improve my Spanish, live in a different country and something nice to add to the CV. Little did I know that there was a world of student exchange - of experiences, fiestas and friendships - waiting to be discovered.
Regardless of where you end up, you’re likely to find a lifestyle that would make any run-of-the-mill uni student jealous. The student parties, sampling all sorts of local delicacies and traipsing about Europe on weekends away are just some of the fringe benefits of being an exchange student.
Undoubtedly, there are challenges. Adjusting to a bizarre world where everything is conducted in a language you thought was limited to your high school classroom can be tricky. Then there’s the culture, adapting to nights out that last longer than a usual working day is just downright gruelling. But you get used to it and come to thrive on it.
I often hear people say that they’d love to but can’t because of money or friends. True, it’s a lot of work to save up money for exchange, but that will be money well spent! There’s also heaps of opportunities to make a buck or two by teaching English. Believe it or not, friends will be there when you get back.
These days there are way too many programs that claim to be good for your “personal development”. Exchange is the ultimate “personal development” challenge - catching a plane to the other side of the world, finding a place where your housemates seem relatively sane, going to classes which leave you pondering what the professor was actually on about, figuring out where to get a haircut that doesn’t make you look like catwoman – it’s daunting stuff. But you make some amazing friends along the way to help you out. And then suddenly you find yourself at the other end looking back on it all – the travelling, gastronomic delights, bizarre episodes of culture shock – and can’t help but be proud of what you’ve done and feel ready to take on anything!