photo by Giulia Andar
photo by Giulia Andar

It’s been about seven months since I decided to go abroad. I think this has been one of the decisions that has most impacted my life, in a positive way of course.

Before I left I tried to talk to as many people who already went on an exchange. I wanted to be better prepared in one way or another, to have an idea of what to expect before I go. Everyone told me, “It’s going to be the best year of your life,” and they didn’t know how else to explain it. Now that I am in the final stage of my exchange year, I get it all. This is an experience like no other, and it is impossible to explain, it is necessary to experience it in order to truly understand what it is and how it affects you as a person. I see why nobody could find the right words to describe their experience.

In the beginning I didn’t know what to expect. I had certain ideas in my mind of how it would be to meet new people, see new spaces, experience the atmosphere. But once I was there, it was completely different. It’s better to leave without any expectations, then it is easier to absorb it all.

At first, I was very emotional, I was looking forward to start figuring it all out. One of my biggest fears was to be alone, but I had the joy from the first day at school to find a great group of friends, which is growing every day. And then I also have a wonderful host family. Still, I can’t deny that it is difficult to be away from your family, friends, your habits, out of what you know and you’re used to seeing every day.

Since I’ve been here I’ve lived a roller coaster of emotions that everyone’s always talking about. And I believe that thanks to all of these people who have entered my life, the moment I touched down, I didn’t fall so hard. 

Today I can say with certainty that the exchange year has been the best thing that ever happened to me in life. I can’t deny that it has been a difficult year, I’ve lived a little bit of everything. My best memories have formed here, as well as some of the difficult moments. But at the end of the day, all these experiences will help to make this year incredibly unforgettable.

A year of exchange, that’s all I have and more. Discover a new culture, a new language, you will make friends from all parts of the world, friends for life. A year in which you’ll grow up and know yourself as a person, you’ll change completely in the best way possible, you’ll learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before, your limits and capabilities.

At the end of the day you have a whole other life in another country. The country that before you left looked like a distant dream will become your second home and the place where you left your heart in for life.


Giulia Andar, exchange student from Italy to Germany