Exchange Student Tips: Feelings Before Departure

Editor’s note: Amy is a former AYP student from Italy who spent a semester in Morrison, Illinois. She kindly offered to share her experiences and give some advice to current students.

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By Amy from Italy

January 15, 2018, was the day of my departure from Italy.

I was very nervous and excited. It is a unique experience. No right words could explain the whole thing and make a perfect idea of it. I can only write about my personal experience, and it will never be the same as yours. This is why I suggest you to live it.

Five days before leaving, I received my placement: the information about my host family and the state where I was going. Before this, the only thing I knew is that I had to be ready sometime after Christmas, to pack my stuff, and to take that plane.

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I decided to spend my winter break having the best time with every person I care about. I spent Christmas Day with my family, the next days with some good friends I do not hang out with every day and, for New Year’s Eve, me and my best friends rented a cabin and had the best fun ever.

I never worried about my departure during these days. I always thought about it as an incredible opportunity, because my dream was about to come true. I did not think about all the things that were going to happen during those months that were eventually going to change my hometown and my friends.

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After New Year’s Eve, I was still calm and happy. I was buying the last things for the journey and hanging out with my family and my friends in Italy. On January 10, I got an email: a host family chose me.

At that point, I was out of my mind, too excited, and I could not wait to leave. I had a FaceTime call with my host family, and we emailed each other for the next three days. I was a little bit nervous because they have a dog and I do not like dogs, but that was it. I was not scared or anxious.

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Two days before my leaving, my friends and I had dinner all together and here is where I started feeling sad. I did not want to leave them for all those months. We were going to live two separate lives and everything was going to change. I also thought, “What am I doing? Why did I want to do this? ” I did not want to leave anymore. I completely lost myself and went nuts the day before my departure. Since I had to leave at 2 AM, I waited with my best friends until midnight and said goodbye in tears.

At the airport, the goodbye with my family was tough, but they reassured me and showed themselves strong for me too.

After the whole experience, I could say that I made the best decision in my life, because I stepped out my comfort zone and overcame my fears. It could be tough, but it is worth it.

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