Part of exchange – despite its amazing advantages and opportunities for personal growth and making new friends – is a sense of being adrift.
Your friends at home are continuing on with their lives; graduating, getting internships and jobs, going to music festivals, celebrating birthdays etc. and no matter how much you talk and try to stay in contact you’re not really part of their world. Well not at the moment. When you get back in a few months its going to be like ‘nothing even changed’, but right now. Right this minute you are adrift. The 10 hour time difference doesn’t help. You wake up to a whole day of activity in Aus with heaps of notifications and messages feeling really popular but everyone’s asleep for the majority of my day and therefore I have no one to talk to online from home.
And it may just apply to me but I’m also adrift whilst here. My choice to make good friends with Swede’s and people living in Sweden for the entirety of their degree – in order to you know “fully emerse myself” in the exchange experience and take in as much of the culture and regular Swedish life as possible – has left me slightly out of the international student circle. But obviously being international myself I’m not totally present in the Swedish circles too… Mostly blocked out by my lack of Swedish language.
I step into a room of exchange students and it’s like an old high school movie where I am the odd one out and everyone stops. Just stops. what they’re doing and looks at me. The looks make it seem to me that I have some type of rare airborne virus that they could catch so they try not to breath and wait for me to leave. Actually I could probably better tie my experience to being a wolf in a flock of sheep. I am the one out there making friends with locals whilst they stay huddled in their international flock. I’m not invited to some things unless my small number of international friends chose to let me in on the details. They ostracize me because I chose not to stay confined to international activities which is shit on their behalf.
Not that I would change my experiences for the world but next time if I were to do it again I would hope to align myself with one group of people whether it be the locals or the internationals to a higher degree. If I were not such an outgoing and charismatic person it would hurt they they don’t want to be my friends.
Too bad I’m off to different counties every weekend.. I’m too busy to care about their sheeplike opinions #internationaljetsetter
Oh yeah since my last post I’ve been to England, Gothenburg and Copenhagen with Norway and its Fjords coming up in the coming days.
Ps. Finished one of my subjects hopefully with flying colours! Yay Swedish Uni is so more relaxed and easy to do well in that Aussie Uni’s. Would recommend this country for exchange if you don’t mind snow in Autumn (yeah thats happening right now) and the crushing darkness of night time from 4pm 🙂
Eat up that update and I’ll check in with you later xoxo