Being on an exchange is a weird time. After talking to exchange students here at penn and overseas, I concluded that there is just no way to explain the feeling of being on exchange except weird.
Cl: It's like you have to live up to the expectations of being an exchange student.
Me: Like partying 24/7, not going for any classes and travelling the entire continent?
Cl: Precisely, there is a pressure to do that.
Because no exchange student blogs about lonely nights and days when you feel like the world has died on you. No exchange student will tell you about feeling as if they are trapped in a time warp and the rest of the world has moved on without them. No exchange student will blog about struggling with school and work and just how much difference it makes to spell in a different system and to try to tell your friends what is the weather coz no one here talks in celsius.
No one talks about how being on exchange makes you question who you are. Intrinsically. After stripping off school, church, friends and work. After you are not allowed to use abbreviations to describe yourself. Because in a foreign land, uprooted with no time to grow any roots in the first place, we exchange students are but shifting husks blown through a forest of trees and saplings. You've got no identity. No one knows your past or your future. No one knows about your family, your friends or even if you existed in the first place. You are only that exchange student from country X who will be here for X amount of time with that strange/funny/amusing accent. You are just an entity with a history that began here and now and that will end in a year's time.
As that husk, who are you?
Interesting, because isn't that how life essentially is?
"its like the politically correct answer to the question: How is your exchange? is I'm having the time of your life. Not that we aren't, but that it would be politically wrong to say: I hate it here, I wish everyone here was dead and I can't wait to go home."