5 Things You Should Do While on Exchange
Today is the day that I have officially lived in Copenhagen for 2 months. On January 15 I arrived in Europe terrified out of my mind, and here I am 2 months later scheming my permanent relocation! I’ve gotten a few inquires about if the costs of going on an exchange outweighed the benefits, and I would say to go on an exchange even if it puts you in debt (and I hate debt)! In my case, I chose one of the most expensive places to live in the world (can you say expensive taste?), but despite the small fortune I have to pay to live here, I don’t regret a penny of it. Sure, if I had gone to Spain, Thailand, or even Italy, my wallet would be a little thicker right now, but it all depends on what you’re going for. I knew the kind of experience I wanted, and it was most attainable for me from Copenhagen.
Being here for 2 months has led me to some insight on the good, the bad, and the ugly, that Europe and exchange has to offer. That being said, there are so many more opportunities than some care to realize. Here are my 5 things you should do while on exchange!
5 Things You Should Do While on Exchange
I’m half and half on this one. I have always loved to travel, but what being on an exchange has reiterated to me, is that I love having a place to come home to. Right now, it has turned into Copenhagen. Going on these weekend trips (I have been to Berlin, Paris, and Brussels thus far) is amazing, but I find coming home and being somewhere familiar almost as fun! It depends on your goals for your exchange, but make sure not to let yourself travel so much that you miss the beauty in your own city. I have been away 2 weekends in a row and as much fun as they were, I’m pumped to have the next few weeks here with my friends and home cooked meals. Waffles in Brussels and Bread in Paris for a whole week do not make you feel very good! I made a list about the top 5 places I wanted to go while I was here, now, I know I probably won’t make it to all those places, but I’m fine with it. This definitely won’t be my last time to Europe!
Write in a Travel Journal
I knew I wanted to make sure to do this coming into the exchange. I don’t keep up with writing in a journal when I’m at home, even though I try, but there are so many new experiences and emotions about life on exchange that are so important to remember. The little moments are so easily forgotten, having a travel journal with all those good (and bad) times will allow you to relive those moments for years to come.
Spend Smartly, but Spend
The number one regret I have heard about people that go on exchange is that they were too tight with their money. I have been saving to come on this exchange for approximately 5 years, so lucky for me, I have some sort of a budget while I’m here. But even if your bank account is not prime for spending, don’t not do something, just because it’ll make a small dent. That being said, I do not encourage $2,000 weekend trips when your bank account is in the red, but don’t miss out on your first (and potentially last) European football game just because you don’t want to fork out the $68.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Coming to Copenhagen alone was in itself, out of my comfort zone. I was terrified about pretty much everything that could possibly happen. But on that note, I was certain that I wouldn’t let my fears stop me from coming. Since arriving, there are a ton of things that I was unsure about, but for the most part, was super happy after I had done them. I wasn’t about to let my lingering nerves stop me from having an experience that I would remember forever.
Don’t Let Home Hold You Back
It’s normal to miss the people you left behind when you travelled abroad, but don’t let that stop you from travelling more, or staying a little bit longer if that’s what you want. This is probably one of the only times in your life that you’re not tied down with work or a ton of commitments — at least, that’s my situation. I’m even considering extending my trip for a week before I have to start my summer classes back in Edmonton. Trying to live out the dream as long as possible!
What are your best exchange tips? Let me know in the comments!