Spend time away to appreciate life at home

Marthe Jatun, Staff Writer

Being away from home this long has taught me a lot. I am an exchange student here from Norway, and in only five months I have grown so much and started a new life on the other side of the world. So while I can’t wait until I will be home again, I am also starting to feel at home here, and I will miss this place. As the quote goes: “foreign exchange is not a year in your life, but a life in a year.”

Based on all my experiences here I have grown so much stronger and become more independent. Starting a new life without anyone who has got my back has been really hard, but I know all the hard work is worth it in the end.

I don’t regret taking this chance at all; it would have been one of my biggest regrets if I didn’t come. I am the type of person who can’t get enough of travelling. I just need to use my time the best I can.

What I really like about staying here is that everything I do and see is new to me. Just driving and watching the view from the car is so exciting. Everything is just so different. Also, taking the yellow school bus for the first time was so cool, because I only saw those in movies. Just doing small things I have never done before is fun.

What I also think is really fun, is when people ask me the dumbest questions about Norway. Like for example: “Do you speak Norwegian in Norway?”, “How can you be freezing right now when you are from Norway?”, “Do you have phones in Norway?”, or “Sorry, I should probably know this, but, what state is Norway in?”

My host family is probably the reason in the first place why my stay here has been so amazing. I am so happy I got this family. I have around seven friends from Norway who are also taking a year abroad, and half of them have switched families at least one time.

To take an exchange year is to let yourself go on a long rollercoaster ride. It is going up and down all the time. You don’t know what you have let yourself into until you sit down in the wagon and start your ride. I am not a person who misses my family and home that easily, but, of course, I miss them and I have times when everything around me reminds me of them.

To live so far away for so long has made me realize how much I appreciate my Norwegian life. Thinking about how they are nine hours ahead of us and that the distance is so big is very weird and it makes me so emotional at times. The one thing I am the most scared of, is if something happens to someone at home and I am so far away and I can’t do anything. I am so thankful for everything I have.