advice for future exchange students #14:
work on the same things as your peers in your host country.
if they take tests, try to take tests. if they take notes in class, try to take notes
(even when you have no idea what's going on.)
in other words: try to adapt. try to live the same life
that you would if you were a teen who'd grown up in your host country.
The days are going by so fast. I can't believe it's been almost three months since my arrival in Switzerland. One of the oldies [translation: exchange-student speak for the students who came half a year before you. If you're from the Northern Hemisphere, like me, these are some of the inbounds from South America and all the inbounds from New Zealand and Australia who came in January] mentioned that our newbies were coming in about three months. That's crazy. I just got here, like, yesterday...
things that have happened in the past 10-ish days:
- One of the best things that happened to me this week was getting mistaken for a Swiss student. We had a substitute teacher and she didn't know I was an exchange student (e.g. I don't speak German) until I pulled out my phone to translate something... and I spoke with her in German several times before that!!
- I've found that in the past month or so, I feel like my German hasn't improved. In the first six weeks it was getting better every day, by leaps and bounds, and by the middle of the second month I was conversationally okay. But now I feel like I'm staying at the same level, or at least not getting better quite so quickly.
- That said, people are often surprised that I've only been speaking for 2 months, so hopefully I am continuing to learn. My host mom says that it's a fairly normal stage and that I am in fact better than I was before, so that's good. I think?
- took the PSAT last week Saturday. Guess who dropped her calculator on the way into the testing room and effectively broke the display?
- Other than that, the test was fine and I met Odile, an awesome girl who lives here (but speaks perfect English anyway because she's both American and Swiss.) So that was a highlight :)
- I've also been working on my Swiss German. My understanding of it gets better every day, but I don't have enough knowledge or vocabulary to completely switch over. This means that now I speak an odd mixture of Swiss German and High German, and it's a miracle that anyone can understand what I'm saying.
- Rotary!!! In the past couple weeks, I think we as exchange students have gotten a lot closer. It's funny because all of us are so different, but exchange seems to pull people together (whether they like it at the beginning or not). I'm really, really happy to have exchange friends who can understand what I'm going through (and put up with me when I'm being ridiculously stupid.)
that's all I'm going to write for now. bis später!