Ella went on a student exchange program to Spain in 2019. Hear her thoughts and stories along the way.
What has been your favourite thing about exchange thus far?
My favourite thing about exchange so far is the beautiful and amazing people i have been so blessed to meet so far! I have met so many people, experienced so many cool things and learnt so so much, that i would never have imagined from home. to think 2 months ago i was a totally different person, and now i’m so much more confident and self-assured. i’m more relaxed into who i am, and i’ve made the BEST friends ever (can i please never leave?!?!!!) honestly there’s no one thing that’s been the best but it’s overall been the best experience of my life, and i still have 3 months left!!!!!!
Please tell us a story and explain the images you’ve decided to share.
These photos are of the first few weeks in gorgeous spain! i was privileged enough to spend the first few days in Barcelona on the Soft Landing Course and wow was that amazing!! here are some photos of the sunset on my first night and a group photo of all my new international friends (now family) across spain! I then went to my host family,, (one photo is one i took on the plane as it was about to take off to take me to my host region!) and that was so. scary. !!! once i landed, on the first day i went to portugal, a 5 minute bike ride from my house! i was totally exhausted on my first day and felt like i was going to collapse but my host family was keen and ready to go, so we hopped on the bike and went to portugal! (just casually right?!) and boy it was so good! Since then, I go between spain and portugal all the time! for the super cool markets, awesome cycling tracks, swimming, stand up paddleboarding, shopping and much more, and i’ve even got portuguese friends now! Also, my host mum and i walk the Camiño De Santiago often! the famous walk runs through our town and we often catch some gorgeous views and sunsets late at night/early in the morning while we walk! so cool!
Do you have any tips or advice to offer future exchange students?
My biggest advice to any future exchange student is RELAX and SMILE! the best thing to do to prepare is to take a deep breath and smile.. yes, it’s hard saying goodbye to your parents, yes it’s scary starting a new school, yes it’s not always easy to smile, and yes you’ve probably forgotten that really important thing, but relax because it’ll all be okay. Just relax into the situation and experiences and always, always smile. even if you don’t feel like it, even if you don’t understand a word of what the person talking to you is saying, EVEN if you feel like bursting into tears, just smile. I cannot begin to tell you how much a small smile has helped me these last few months ☺☺!!
Thanks for sharing Ella.