I like to think of going on exchange just like moving out of home for the first time, but with extra steps. There’s the feeling of limitless freedom at your fingertips and mountains of things to do, see and explore. However, being so far away from home brings a lot of things that you may not consider.
Being abroad isn’t all about the pretty instagram photos and cool foods. There’s a lot of times where you gotta eat the same thing for two weeks straight because eggs are “buy one get one free” and you’ve been shopping a lil’ too heavily lately.
money saving aside, being abroad is an amazing opportunity to connect with people from all across the world, I mean, in the morning i could be cooking Korean and later be feasting on authentic Spanish home-cooked cuisine. Some of my most enjoyable dinners were spent comparing the differences of our lives in our home country over a hotpot or some strange looking concoction that still somehow tasted good
That’s another thing, being abroad is probably the only time where people really like your Australian accent. People just love hearing me speak for some reason.
Those things aside, i underestimated how much being abroad would change “me”
I remember first coming to Hong Kong and being slack jawed at literally everything and generally sticking out like a sore thumb as “another one of those damn tourists.” Eventually however, i came to understand how things worked and soon enough i was pacing through the streets of Mong Kok like a local
I mean i give directions to people every now and then, that’s how much I’ve integrated. There’s a whole bunch of little changes that you don’t really realise that eventually pile on. But don’t worry, when you come back home you’ll be super cultured and stuff.
To finish, i think i should share some top tips for you guys when you do take the plunge into exchange
1: Souvenirs guys, cheap $1 key chains from Australia will definitely be appreciated by the people that you meet abroad. Give em to people for them friendship points
2: If you live in a dorm, MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE SECURITY GUARDS. They’re more likely to turn a blind eye to situations when you come home at 5 am in a less than sober state
3: Get amongst it. initially you might be inclined to not stray too far from the beaten path, but some of the coolest things you can do in a country are well kept secrets that don’t show up on tourist guides
So keep tuned on the updates guys, i’m not home just yet