Thoughts: Why you should (or shouldn’t) go on an exchange
So this week is a bit of a life-update kind of post. I have been in Milan now for 2,5 months and time really does fly by when you are having fun (or when you are just doing a lot of things). So I thought I would share with you how I have experienced my exchange so far, good and bad.
– New friends. I have met so many new people from other countries. And although some people you just meet for an evening at a dinner, others you hang out with regularly and I have definitely made some friends that I would like to stay in contact with after I come back. (Which will make it a lot easier to visit those countries!)
– New ways of learning. It is at the least very interesting to see how they teach/organize the education in another country. In my case I am learning things I wouldn’t have learned if I had stayed in Delft, because of this different approach to studying architecture.
– Do ALL the things. Being in another country/city for such a short time, makes you want to experience everything. Which means that you take more trips and visit more musea than you ever do in you own country. This is a habit I would like to try to take back with me to the Netherlands, because why shouldn’t you go to a new museum or on a day trip to another city in the Netherlands?
– New culture aka eat ALL the food. In another country, they have a different culture. You notice this in the education, the way people behave around you, but off course this also means new food and new ways of eating/enjoying food. In the case of Milan, this means often going out for aperitivo and eating all you can, while enjoying a (sometimes very strong)
– Being homesick is the worst. Thankfully with new friends and new things to experience, there are a lot of things to distract you.
– Everything is new. This is a good thing, but it is also a very scary thing and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming.
– Your time is limited. This is a good thing when you are trying to make the homesickness less, but overall it is a bad thing. Because it can make you feel as though you haven’t done enough to enjoy your time here, or you haven’t gotten the most out of your experience.
So there are good things and bad things about being away from home. After 2,5 months I am currently mostly struggling with the ‘your time is limited’ feeling. The past few months have gone by so fast, it makes me feel like it will all be over before I have really enjoyed any of it. But off course when I think about it, it isn’t true. Like I said about the good things, I have met new people, learned new things about the culture here and new ways of studying architecture. And I have already seen and experienced a lot of things, visited cities and seen exhibitions or just explored Milan. I just need to remember that you can’t do all the things or eat all the food, and that just makes a good excuse to come back!
What about you? Are you on an exchange or have you ever been? What were some of the good and bad things for you?