Emotional Chaos During Exchange


Ella Oezen, Staff Writer

Going on exchange means writing a new book in between a series. It is completely different from all the others, with new settings and  new characters. Everything is new. Yet somehow this book belongs to the series. The probability is very high that exchange students will never meet the same characters and experience the same setting again. This book contains many different emotions. Delighted and downhearted are the most used ones.

While writing this book, students leave their lives for a year and build a life that they will eventually leave forever but never forget. Being the emotional wreck that I am, the thought of eventually never seeing this life again, other than in my memories can make me sob for hours. 

When I first started writing this book everyone would have expected that I would cry as soon as I couldn’t see my family at the airport anymore, I did too. Well, jokes on all of us, the first time a tear fell down my cheek was when my airplane hit American ground. Once the first tear fell there was practically no stopping until I stepped out of the plane. Since then it’s been a lot of ups and downs. I can’t believe this is going on for just another three months. I’ve cried so many times just looking at pictures of  my family. While I was crying at night I was very happy throughout the day. Going to volleyball practice was the best decision I could have made. Because of that I met a lot of  people and made a lot of memories with them. Even if I had a very good day with a lot of fun I could come home, read a text from my parents or my siblings and begin to cry. 

If you would ask me what my most emotional events are in the book since I began to write it, I would tell you three of them. The first one was the last volleyball game in Chadron. Personally I thought I didn’t do as good so that made it even more emotional. I was part of the reserve team so after the reserve game, while Coach Hiemstra held her speech about how much fun she had with us and that she will miss us, tears started falling down. Going in for a group hug and my tears weren’t able to stop. While I wasn’t the only one that cried, I was definitely the one that cried the most. 

The second event was Christmas morning. At that time I hadn’t seen  my grandma for almost five months. After we opened presents in America I called my family. Almost immediately after my family picked up the phone I saw my grandma and we both started crying. But those tears weren’t sad tears, they were happy tears since I haven’t talked to her since I left the country.

The third event was the last basketball home game. I was filming the varsity game as I always did and when I saw Angie Davis, Emma Wood and Amauri Browning crying on the bench during the last minute I started tearing up. When I packed up the tripod and the Ipad and headed to the locker room I saw most of the seniors crying, as well as junior Bailey Stark and sophomore Jaelynne Clark. Then, after a while Coach Crile came into the locker room and gave every senior a hug except for me. I think he just forgot that I was a senior since I am 16 and should be a junior. Nearly everyone forgets that I am listed as a senior. There was no stopping my tears once again. After the locker room talk I went into a hug with Crile and I started sobbing. 

Those three events were so far the most emotional events of my book that don’t fit into the series. And often this part, the crying, either out of happiness or sadness because you either see a family member after a long time again over a call, or you miss your family or even because the activities you participated in came to an end, nobody really talks about that. 

I wouldn’t say I had a phase where I was down all the time for multiple days in a row. That’s how other exchange students might experience their low phase. Mine was kind of all over the place. I could just go to the bathroom in the middle of the day and start crying or I start crying before I go to bed. Either way, most of the time I’m surprisingly not crying. 

That’s something no one usually tells students before they go on exchange: they are most likely to have a low phase throughout their journey, but the good and happy memories will outweigh those sad memories. These students will often decide that their exchange year has been the best year of their life.