Lonne. From Belgium to Galapagar, Madrid.

Lonne lives in Galapagar since September and she is determinate to achieve her goals. Aware of the fact that becoming fluent in Spanish will not only help her through this experience but that it will also be an important knowledge for her future, she is greatly improving her Spanish. This has allowed her to get more involved and successful at school and with her peers. Even though she is doing a great program, she is also going through one of the hard phases of an exchange experience, which involves feelings of homesickness and frustration.

3 months ago, my big adventure started

I had been looking forward to it for a long time and in September it finally started.

Full of good spirits I stepped on the plane.

Now, 86 days later, I must admit that some days I have had a tough time, but that is nothing compared to the beautiful moments I have already experienced.

I miss my friends and family and there are moments in which I wish I could spend another day with them, but I really don’t regret my decision. I know that they will still be there when I come back.

I am looking forward to the moment we’ll meet again, but on the other hand I don’t, because that means that I have to say goodbye to my host family and I really don’t want to do that.

Since my first day in Spain I already love them. The parents as well as the boys are amazing. They are there for me when I need them and they cheer me up when I’m down. I couldn’t have wished for a better host family. I hope they understand how thankful I am.

At school, as well it’s going fine. I’m starting to understand everything and my grades are better than I expected. I also like my class mates. Sometimes we even go out together. But despite that I find it difficult to call them real friends, because I can’t share everything with them like with my friends in Belgium, but that seems normal to me. I have only been knowing them for 3 months.

It’s good out here and I am living my dream and even though it’s hard sometimes, I absolutely don’t regret my choice. Although I have to admit that in this moment I can’t respond yet “yes” without hesitating to the question: “Would you do it again?”, but I’m sure that moment will come one day.

Most exchange students start having strong homesickness after 2 to 3 months of the experience and, for many of them, this comes along with Christmas, which makes it ever harder.

You miss your family and friends, your daily life back home, your traditions, etc. You have been learning another way of life in another language in a very intensive way, and this makes most people feel exhausted. After some months, you become more confident with your environment, you start to appreciate it but this usually comes together with other feelings. Successful students wish they could share with their beloved ones who they are becoming with these new experiences and with what they are learning and, at the same time, as Lonne explains, start developing stronger relationships with the new people they have met. Other students, who are still struggling with the new environment and have more difficulties to adjust, wish the people back in their country helped them overcome their new problems or feel they do not belong.

The positive way to overcome this frustration is to rely on your host family and new friends, the language skills you have achieved will help you deepen in these relationships, and you will be able to grow a strong and beautiful bond with the new people who are supporting you and who are now part of your life. Share your feelings and ask for help to your new family and friends, you will see that they will try to understand you and will help you overcome this phase so that this new culture and country becomes part of yourself.

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