On September 4th 2013 I left my home in Washington DC and travelled 7535 kilometers away from everything I have ever known to come to Italy for one year. The biggest challenge I have faced in Intercultura is change. Being an exchange student means change, constant change and overwhelming change. Change in lifestyle, country, language, friends, parents, houses, school and simply everything.
As I have adapted to these changes I am learning to see the world from a different point of view. I am becoming close to people I would have never known existed had I not made the decision to come. The first month of course is always the hardest. I moved in with a family that I had never even met and I spoke no Italian. People were all around me, but I felt very alone. After 4 months I am able to communicate with people better, obviously I am still learning but it has made being in Italy much more enjoyable. I honestly have not had any problems while in Italy, my family was perfectly matched to me and I became close with them right away. Obviously we get frustrated with each other sometimes, but there have been no problems for me. A big reason why I have no problems with my family is because as exchange studentswe have to adapt quickly to our new culture, we have no choice but to adapt.
Naturally sometimes we feel uncomfortable, but as I have gotten closer with my family and friends I am having an amazing time. The most important thing to remember is that an exchange student must trust. We trust people who at first are only names on a piece of paper who later become your family, and trust that they want what is best for you. This is one of the hardest things to do is trust your new family. Being an exchange student means trusting yourself, believing that you can endure a year on your own, endure a year being apart from everything that ever mattered to you before and trust thateverything will be alright. On this trip I am learning to accept everyone for who they are. The hard times make us stronger, and the good times are what makes this trip worth it. Exchange is worth the struggles, tears, and homesickness when you start feeling comfortable in a new country with your new friends. So if you are thinking about going, go. Exchange is something that I will never forget, it is something that no one back home will ever truly understand. It’s growing up and realizing that everyone is the same no matter where they are from. Exchange is everything, and it is something that you can’t understand unless you’ve be through it. I will never regret coming to Italy.