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Successful and Happy

 

My exchange experience gave me the confidence to open my mind and is most likely one of the biggest reasons why I am who I am today.  Successful and happy.

 

Carlos III Bridge - Puente Carlos III (Miranda...

Carlos III Bridge – Puente Carlos III (Miranda de Ebro, Spain) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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On an exchange, you can’t retreat

San Miguel Church

San Miguel Church, Andujar, Spain - Image by asmythie via Flickr

 

“Definitely do an exchange. It’s worth the money.  It’s worth the time. It’s worth the effort.  Nothing, no experience in the United States, not even going to live in rural town wherever they speak purely Spanish–it’s not the same experience, because you’re still in your home country.

“When you go on an exchange you can’t retreat.

You’re there and you have to deal with everything.  And I think that’s something that we don’t learn on our home turf.

That’s maybe why I felt so strong.  I had learned how to deal with things face on.

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“I can’t think of any good reason for somebody not to go on an exchange. I really can’t.  It just shows so much about yourself.  It teaches you so much about yourself, and you get the added benefit of learning about someplace else.  I think we don’t know enough about other places and other people.  I don’t think we know enough about ourselves, especially not when you’re in high school.

“High school is very self-absorbing, and exchange is also self-absorbing, but that can’t be the only thing you look at, because your issues aren’t necessarily personal.  They’re dealing with the toilet.  They’re dealing with how they do laundry.  They’re dealing with everything.

Everything that you ever knew to be true about your personal habits is proven to you to be not.

You learn that not everybody recycles.  That red doesn’t always mean the hot water is gonna turn on that way.  You learn that you aren’t the one who has to sweep up.  But maybe you’re the one who has to wipe the tables.

You take on a different role. And you — it’s still you.  It’s just parts of you that nobody ever asked you to exercise before.”

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Don’t point that broom at me!

My best friend sat next to me at school.  She was so patient with me.  For lunch we would walk home from school for two hours and had time to hang in the park.  One day I had an assignment from school and a presentation to give and she had no idea what to talk about.  I was telling her that in the US we had a similar type of assignment and we did demonstrations.  We had this one boy who did a demonstration on how to use a gun and take it apart.  He was a hunter and he showed the parts of the gun.  I was explaining this to her and she had this very puzzled look on her face and she kept asking me strange questions like, why would you want to present something like that?  It seems so basic and simple.  Doesn’t everyone know how to use a gun?  I was thinking, well no, not really.  Then finally we realized that I had been telling her that he had given a presentation on how to use a broom.  I was using the word escoba instead of escopeta.