My exchange life

I thought it would be quite a cliche to write about such stuff since there have been already tons of information about being an exchange student, and how to apply and so on. However, after constantly meeting with friends and talking about my year in Sweden. I come to realize how special my exchange year had been. I would feel bad if I kept it to myself. And that even if students all go through the same system called being an “exchange student”. It actually depends on individuals how you live your life, not only the way you do it but also how to adjust the mind set, sounds cliche again probably but trust me, it’s much easier said than done. So here I am to talk about my amazing and dreadful experiences to help all those that are either considering to go on an exchange, or are actually going, about how to decide whether to go or not, and the mind set for how to make the best out of it. I am also writing this for myself in an organized way so that I will remember it.

Having been lived in the UK in my childhood years, and being abroad to the US every summer during high school, I thought I could easily catch up with the living tempo in another Europe country, which didn’t seem like a big deal at all. But I was really wrong from the beginning, this might be personal, but I am an extremely stubborn person even if I don’t want to admit it. I had been constantly reminding myself to be open and dare to try everything I could. However, as time went by I actually realized that I am the only one who seems to be doing a lot of things based on only “rational choices”, but I am not embracing their way of life, neither daring to step out from my comfort zone so to speak. Language was not a problem but communicating was. There was more beyond language as a mechanism. Unfortunately I couldn’t completely come to realize and make amendments to this until almost the end of my exchange year. I feel lucky however that I did get a chance to see the problem of myself eventually. It’s late but better than never and this is one of the most important thing I learned from my exchange. The change is subtle but it makes a whole lot difference to me now that I think of things and look back. I found my blind spot (or one of it).

I will be posting perhaps a series of it. Might take some time for the quality and to squeeze time from my busy life. I am usually a lazy person to do such things, so hopefully I will get to the end of it. Please bear in mind that this is very personal experience, no two people would have maybe the slightest similar situation and feelings, but I have observed many other people, and how they live. So hopefully it might be helpful when there is a larger group of experiences to see from.

A small outline planning:

Things I have done throughout the year.

Amazing adventures

About traveling

About communicating

About life

Stepping out, stop lying to myself, excuses

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The 23 Hardest Things About Moving Home After Living Abroad

Darn! Exactly,這就是我的症狀群.

“Realizing that you’re not really sure what “home” is anymore, because even though this is technically where you come from, you’re not sure you fit into the shape of the puzzle piece that you left behind. ”

還記得快要離開瑞典前,跟瑞典語課堂上兩個從南歐來的活寶,(但是是很有智慧的同學)一起去fika,就聊到了台灣從小的一些教育體制,一些社會現象,有好的有壞的,聊到後來,我們都說還不太想回去,他們問我們說:「你們喜歡住在台灣嗎?」
聽到這個問題一時不知道該怎麼回答,我真的很喜歡台灣,養我育我的地方,當然希望有能力貢獻與回饋,但是就目前的情況,我真的不太喜歡他現在的樣子……同時看看瑞典再看看台灣……瑞典真的很適合人居住….心中充滿矛盾.
看到我面有難色,他們就說「拿掉你的patriotic part,試著把這個因素去除掉去想,因為每個人一定都愛自己的國家.」
把愛國心的因素去掉後,我默默的搖了搖頭…… but I guess it would depend if I would have a very good reason to..

Thought Catalog

1. Having dreams where you’re back in your old city, in your old apartment, and everything is exactly the way it way — and then waking up and realizing that, at least for now, that chapter of your life is closed.

2. Occasionally messing up your speech patterns and using strange syntax because your brain is, in many ways, still working in the second language and you don’t quite know how to change directions without throwing everything into reverse.

3. The three or four food items that — beyond just being the overall cuisine that you miss — had come to be your diet staples that you don’t really know how to live without anymore.

4. Trying to plan your trip back to go visit all of your friends and realizing that airplane tickets are just as expensive as ever, if not more so.

5. Having to factor in airplane…

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As a man tramps…

As a man tramps the woods to the lake
he knows he will find ponds and lilies,
blue heron and golden shiners,
shadow on the rocks,
and the glint of light on the wavelets,
just as they were in the summer of 1354,
as they will be in 2054 and beyond.
He can stand on a rock by the shore
and be in a past he could not have known,
in a future he will never see.
He can be a part of time that was
and time yet to come.

-William Chapman White, ‘Adirondack country’, 1954-

Love this quote, exactly how I felt when I saw the book introducing Uppsala city from the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Uppsala looked pretty much the same throughout the years, just some slight modernized touch of additional construction, but all the main ancient buildings remained the same. You could tell from a map in the 40s where is where. I am extremely fond of this concept that you live in a place almost the same as people a long long time ago, you still feel somehow connected to them, the past.

This occurred to me a lot more when visiting Gotland, where you could actually find fossils of all kinds in the sea, tracing back to millions of years. How precious!