A Letter to Exchange Students Returning Home

The Year of Growth

“Exchange isn’t a year in your life, it’s a life in a year.”

This is a letter to any exchange student that will soon be or has recently returned back home from their exchange abroad. To you who is listening and needs to hear these words of wisdom.

Dear Exchange Students, 

It’s going to be ok. I know, it’s hard, so hard coming back from such an incredible and life-changing experience. You’re leaving that all behind to now head back into the unknown of the future. That in itself is also scary.

I couldn’t wait to come back home and see my family and friends. I remember looking forward to embracing my mum for the first time in 10 months. I remember the relief of being back in my home safe space after a year-long separation.

Though I also remember feeling alone and missing the person I was abroad. I missed the people, I missed the excitement, I missed the growth. Even more so, I missed the person I was exploring out of my comfort zone.

But, how do you continue from there?

You acknowledge the feelings wholeheartedly.

You remain honest towards yourself and your struggles.

You embrace your growth and the experiences that have formed you into who you are now.

You acknowledge that a step back into an old environment doesn’t mean a step back into an old identity.

You embrace the changes you have gone through and take time to completely understand who you are now.

Ask yourself these mindful questions:

What’s different from who I was?

What’s improved?

What are my core values now?

What do I find important?

What am I passionate about?

What makes excites me?

What makes me, me?

When you come back from an intense year abroad, the biggest gift you can give yourself is time.

Time to get to know the person you are now.

Time to embrace your growth.

Time to understand that growth.

Time is your best friend along with self-love.

It’s hard coming back, I know it is. Though remember that you’ve had a transformational experience that has set a new foundation of who you want to be and how you see the world. Remain grateful for that, because no other experience could ever provide that. You’ve got this, through the ups and downs. You’ve got this!

Keep dreaming and believing,

Yasmin xoxo

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