Though I feel like I arrived to England just yesterday, in a couple of weeks it’s going to be a time to leave. I know it’s going to be harder than I initially expected. Despite all of the differences, I got used to my life here. I think that saying goodbye to the people that have become part of my everyday life will be the hardest thing to do. Though there is still some time left, I’m already feeling sad at the thought of leaving. At the same time, I miss Athenian. My time here taught me to really appreciate Athenian’s no-uniform policy, more relaxed atmosphere and the ability to call everyone by the first name – I realized it helps to build closer and more equal relationships.
One of the highlights of my experience here was a week I spent in London during the school break. I had plenty of time to not only visit the main attractions, but to feel what it’s like to live there.
After the other two exchanges left in early February, I am now the only exchange student at the school. Still, I can see how Round Square connects people through programs other than exchanges. Last week I talked to a girl who knew Athenian because of the Round Square International Service project she completed this summer. I guess, the world is small.
I definitely recommend going on exchange to anyone who has an opportunity to go. It is a great opportunity to experience a different culture, get out of the Athenian bubble, and make some very good friends. The main advice I would give would be not to expect anything and have an open mind; your experience is going to be very different from what you expect anyway. While some research about the school might be a good idea, don’t think you have a good idea of what the school is like. You will never know until you get there.