Wry Exchange


How is Your Exchange Student?

 How is your student doing?  If you are a FES abroad, how are you?   Is life good?

Physical Self-Are the headaches going away?  Are you getting enough sleep, but not too much?  Has your stomach adjusted to the food?  How is your weight-stable, or are you gaining/losing weight?  Are you getting enough exercise? 

Mental Self-Can you help yourself when you’re lonely, bored, sad, or homesick?  Are your language and comprehension skills improving?  If you take medication regularly, do you remember to take it?  Do you have someone to talk to?  Do you feel strong and confident?

Emotional Self-Are you crying for no reason?  Do you get frustrated and feel like you just can’t think?  Are you slowly distancing yourself from ‘home’ to your new home?  Are you enjoying yourself?

If you need help, ask for it NOW.  Don’t wait.  It’s much easier to fix a small problem now than a big mess later.  “Things will get better” isn’t always true.  People want to help you.  We all know this is one year-your year.  You aren’t alone.

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2 Comments so far
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Right now I’m in France for the year on exchange. I arrived here August 27th (so it’s almost 3 months in)…
Language has improved to the point where I can understand a fluent conversation. Comprehension has shot up, speaking dragging behind but going up nonetheless.
Anyways, I received a book from my association called ‘The Exchange Student Survival Guide’ and I’ve read over half. The other bits I have yet to go over.
One thing caught my eye.

Before I always had to live in an organized mess, where things would lay around in various piles and I could find that over a neat and tidy room.
Since I switched host families (I have to every 3 or 4 months)… well, mostly we get along, that’s another story. It’s not bad enough to ask for a switch; they’ve threatened that once. It’s mostly their fault for how they go at solving problems relating to me, making them bigger by involving many people before me.
They get on me about my room, which is a small clutter on the desk they put in my room and the small bedside table. A pair of pants on the floor occasionally.
Since the… 3rd time around, I’ve noticed a change.
It’s not normal for me; I’ve always been somewhat messy. I need the mess.

Lately I just keep cleaning my room. It’s not perfect only because I’m a bit of a packrat and am keeping things like the letters that come in packages… and the envelopes. Dunno why, just do.
Other than those things, it’s abnormally clean.
And I KEEP TRYING TO CLEAN.

I read in this ‘Survival Guide’ book over-cleaning is a normal part of culture shock, but it’s not a huge cultural difference, Canada and France, even as an anglophone.

Is this overcleaning normal? Especially if it’s so opposite to your normal personality (pre-departure. Even before I switched host families from my counsellor, I was my messier self. Just within the past 3 weeks I’ve been this way)

Comment by Sarah

completely normal. It’s a way to have control over something in your life. Maybe you want to make a good impression?

Comment by Wry




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