Hey there,
and welcome back to the second part of “How to become an exchange student”. This part will all be about the preparation course that most organisations include. If you haven’t read the first part I would recommend you to pop over and read that part as well as it gives you detailed information about the whole application process. Part 1: https://at-tea-and-rain.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/becoming-exchange-student-1-application.html

The Preparation Course

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After you completed filling out all the paperwork there is probably going to be a preparation course towards the summer. For me this was in Vienna where I spent a weekend with all the other Austrian students that went off to countries all over the world.

Why the preparation course?

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Some of you might think this is unnecessary, but believe me it isn’t. As the name already says the preparation course is there to prepare you for your adventure. This means they give you tips and information about the culture of your host country. For example they tell you things to watch out for in your host country. That way I learnt that in New Zealand it apparently is rude to close the door to your room. Who knew that? So you see this is very helpful to prevent awkward situations and misunderstandings because you will take a while to figure out the customs of your host country.

Games, games, games

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There is no easier and fun way to learn than through games. That’s why we had to jump into different roles and act through some situations to different themes such as prejudices and misunderstandings. It just really helps to get a first feeling of your countries culture.

Former exchange students

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Also on the preparation course where former exchange students. They told us about their personal experiences, what they learnt from their year and what they would do different if they got the chance. This is a really nice way to get support from people who already went through the whole process and who can give you tips.

The same boat

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Keep in mind that every single one attending this preparation course is going through the same process. We are all in the same boat. When I was at the preparation course it was just a few months before I went to England and I went through a phase were I was just afraid and was questioning myself and if I made the right choice. Going to that preparation course I thought I was so ungrateful for not being excited and looking forward to it. At that point all the negative thoughts just were overwhelming. Turned out I was not the only one feeling like that. A handful of people I talked to there where saying they feel quite similar.

So remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Dear future me

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On the second day we were given some paper and an envelope and were asked to write a letter to our future self. We should just write what came to our mind. In my case I wrote about things that happened during the preparation course and I just wrote some supportive words. This letter was sent to us a few months ago and it was so nice to read your own words and attitude towards the exchange year before you started it.

Leaving the nest

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I think we can all agree when I say that it is hard for our parents to let us go on this adventure. But in the same way that we are not alone they aren’t. My organisation organised a parents evening the day before we students had our preparation course. There they could share their questions, feelings and worries.

So if your organisation offers such a preparation course take the opportunity. It is obligatory to be there with most organisations who arrange those anyway but just see it as a chance to calm your nerves.

That was all about the preparation course. The third and last part to “How to become an exchange student” will be uploaded on Sunday so keep tuned.

As always, if you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them. You can ask me here on We Heart It, leave me a comment on my blog: https://at-tea-and-rain.blogspot.co.uk/
or contact me on Instagram: at.tea.and.rain.

Have a lovely weekend,

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