Task 1 (12 points)
Living away from home has impacted me in ways that will stick with me for life. Since being in Denmark I’ve become more independent and confident in myself and the choices I make. Being here and experiencing a different culture, a different lifestyle, and a different language has changed my perception of life. Being put outside of your comfort zone is a scary thing, but it is also an opportunity to try new things.
Exchange means establishing new lifelong friendships with my wonderful host family, people from school, fellow exchange students and my coordinator. I am no longer as anxious or shy about meeting new people. My career goals have become more definite as the year after graduating high school has allowed me to find myself and think deeply about what I hope to achieve in the future. It may happen that I return to Iceland once again.
If there is one thing that I am certain about in my life, it is that I will never regret going on an exchange to France. By learning a new language, not only have I discovered the culture, but I also have met some really interesting people. Learning a foreign language is so much fun. Of course, the year has been hard sometimes; yet, the hard parts last for minutes and the best parts last for months.
The first few days were a combination of fantastically exciting and just plain terrifying. It’s really the little things that surprised me the most, the things you don’t think about just before you leave. For example, I didn’t know what time I should wake up in the morning, what my family had planned for the day, how often I could watch TV, etc. Little things that managed to remind me how far from home I really was.
Leaving my family, home, friends and everything familiar to me was something that I did not really think a lot about before I left. Since leaving there have been times when I have felt a bit homesick, but now that I am settled I have been able to move on from that. I have a new home in a wonderful little town. I have lots of new friends, whose lifestyle and habits I do not understand all of the time, but they are still great!
The most challenging part of my year away was learning the language. One thing which I loved though was when I arrived; everyone made such a big effort in helping me out. They would speak very slowly, use hand gestures, take me out on the weekends and involve me in their everyday life. After a few months of constant listening and being very patient, I noticed my language skills had improved dramatically.
0. This student might revisit the country she stayed in.
|1. This student found getting used to the new routine the most difficult.|
|2. This student feels more confident about possible future employment.|
|3. This student had mixed feelings at the beginning of the programme.|
|4. This student admits that she missed her family during the exchange year.|
|5. This student put a lot of effort into learning the language.|
|6. This student sees living in a less familiar environment as a chance for exploring something new.|
|7. This student is sure that she made the right decision choosing the country she went to.|
|8. This student appreciated other people’s help in learning the language.|
|9. This student believes that she has become more outgoing.|
|10. This student thinks that positive experience is more important than temporary difficulties.|
|11. This student says that differences do not stop people from being friends.|
|12. The programme has influenced the way this student looks at the world.|