When I was 15 one of the reason my parents were about to call my exchange year off, was because it wasn’t certain at first if I would have to repeat the same class in Austria again. I have to say, even me myself would’ve called the year off. Of course, an exchange experience is something no school or academic record can teach you: but not getting behind with your education is super important too.
There were two possibilities for me: do the one-year-long exchange and redouble the school year, or do only one semester and not redouble (continue with my class). I decided to do only a semester. I now regret not going for one year, but I was afraid of “loosing” my normal school path. Many people decide not to go at all, so not to have problems with their schools.
I learned maturity and independence. I learned how to adapt easily in most situations. For me, it is important that what I have learned, also at school, is recognised!
I have to go to the same grade again coming back home. For me this was not a problem, because I was and I am really motivated to do the exchange, but I have a few friends who chose not to do an exchange because of this: they did not want to re-do the year and go in a class without their friends anymore. So, if the exchange was recognized, many more students would do this wonderful experience.
Doing this exchange has helped me to be more mature, grown-up, and independent. I would like this year of study to be recognize as I feel I did not waste a year abroad! I learned skills that my friends in school gain more hardly, and this was possible only by being in an exchange abroad.
When I decided to do my exchange year, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay in a class with my best-friends when returning to my host country, because I would have to re-do the school year. Nevertheless, I chose to do that anyways and I do not regret my choice. I know a lot of students who are interested in going on an exchange year but eventually do not do that because they would have to redouble the year.
One year of my life? One life in one year? It's not even possible to put a whole year, a whole little life in words There are not enough words or pictures to describe it. It is just me and you. Only we can understand what it is like to experience something so hard but so beautiful at the same time. That is what being an exchange student is like.
My exchange year was for me the biggest push forwards in terms of personal but also school development! My school was brave enough to let me re-integrate into my former class and what should I say: Instead of pushing me back my experiences helped me a lot and I did really good in school. It hurts me to see that not recognizing the year abroad hinders many young people today from going abroad. #RecogniseStudyAbroad is worth it!
Why should a year spent normally at home be more worth than a year spent on discovering your identity by gaining intercultural experiences? An exchange year isn’t lost time – it’s an unbelievably enlarging time! Even though I redouble my academic year, I have learned more about myself, about my home, as well as my host countries culture than I could ever have in my entire high school time.
Going on exchange was one of the best decisions I've ever made. You live in a completely new culture which raises intercultural awareness. Nowadays everyone should have intercultural skills. During the exchange you also learn so much about yourself and when I came back to Switzerland I returned with such desire to learn about everything.
I have to say, I was not completely sure if I wanted to do an exchange year or not simply due to the fact that I would have to prolong my studies. It felt somehow like wasted time since I had studied really hard the entire year and gotten pretty good grades. When I applied for an Erasmus programme years later, it was very clear to me from the beginning of my application that it is possible to transfer credits from the university abroad to my home university which meant that I can still graduate in time. Why this shouldn’t happen in high schools?