The word ‘half’ is pretty interesting. Apparently, it can depict whether someone is optimistic, and he/she would say the cup is half full. On the other hand, a pessimist would say that the cup is half empty. These two phrases contain words that are complete opposites. But in the end, the meaning of the whole phrase is still the same. Well, that word seems pretty significant in my life currently as I’m already past the halfway point of my exchange program. To put it into perspective, as I am writing this post on the 24th of August, I have already spent 165 days living in Germany and I have 142 days left until I go back to Malaysia.
Time flies, it really does. I never really expect time to pass me by so swiftly. I still remember the day that in Kuala Lumpur International Airport like it was yesterday, the day that I was about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. I still remember my excitement, expecting my exchange program to be a walk in the park. I expected everyone to be interested in what I have to offer, constantly asking questions about Malaysia and I also expected myself to be able to constantly share about my culture, make loads of friends of different cultures, being able to learn the language in a snap so that I could communicate with the locals even better. But unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
I’ve gone through many trials, some of them which I’ve never expected to appear. Throughout my exchange program, there were definitely difficult moments. Moments that I felt like giving up; Moments where I felt alone and that nobody really could understand and help me; Moments where I honestly wanted to just be able to wake up in my room back in Malaysia, and to be in a place where everything was pretty much perfect, no cultural differences, no language barriers. Even if problems would appear, I would have the comfort of home, the comfort of loved ones just a reach away. But, I did not give up.
I would describe my exchange program as a rollercoaster. As you know, all roller coasters would have swirls, dips and sometimes even loop-the-loops. But the reason why some people would dare to challenge this amusement ride is that they sought the thrill of riding it. Like this exchange program, when you’re “riding” it, it will be scary at moments and you would question why did you even sit in the seat and buckle yourself up for this crazy experience. You had so much time to decline this offer, to stop yourself from going through this scary experience, but yet you still decided to go with it. And the reason I decided to accept this challenge was to experience the thrill of being in a foreign country, being able to fend for yourself, being able to break through language barriers, discovering yourself, learning and experiencing a whole new culture while you also get the chance of sharing yours, that is the thrill that I seek. And like how at the end of every roller coaster, you sigh a sigh of relief, because you were able to conquer your fears. And at the same time, it excites you, it pumps your blood and makes you want to challenge it again. That’s the feeling I’m hoping to get by the end of this, that moment where I can proudly say that “I conquered it.”
Don’t be too worried about my journey so far, it has not been all troubles and difficult times. There were definitely blissful moments. Moments where I hope time would stop so I could live in that moment forever. The friends and people I’ve met so far had made a difference in my current experience. It’s just the matter of whether a big or small impact was made. But honestly, I’m grateful to all those that I’ve met, because no matter big or small, you’ve definitely made an impact on me. And the reason why I’m still holding on and going strong is that I have people that are cheering me on and supporting me, giving me a reason to appreciate the experience that I currently have.
Currently, at this point in time, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. I’m able to understand a lot more German than I was able to a few months back, I’m even able to converse a little with the locals. Though my German may not be perfect, I’m still proud of the progress I’ve made throughout my program. On the other hand, I actually look forward to going to school because I have an amazing group of classmates who make me feel at home when I’m with them, as they constantly try to include me and take interest in me. Furthermore, I’m able to relive the passion that I had let go of last year, basketball. I am currently training with the 9th and 10th Graders in school and it’s good to know that I still have the joy being able to play it. Last but not least, I have a lovely family that loves and cares for me.
I thank you all for reading my post, and I hope that you would consider taking on the challenge of going on an exchange program if you have the chance to, as you get to experience so much more than you would ever expect. But don’t make the same mistake as I did, expect the unexpected, expect troubles and trials, but also expect amazing experiences and good times. I hope that you guys would have a great weekend ahead, God bless.