Richard blog #1 - Thought about going on exchange

So how does it feel to go on an exchange? I´ve been here in Paeroa, New Zealand for a little more than a week now and I have a mixture of thoughts and feelings. When you go on an exchange you leave your old life behind and start clean. I´ve seen places that I never thought I would see in my lifetime, but I can´t stop thinking about my other life in Finland. It feels like a live a double life and I am stuck in the middle. My body is in New Zealand but my mind is still in Finland... and I am not talking about the jetlag that I am still experiencing. It is really hard to leave everything you know behind and start clean with no friends and no nothing.

So what am I going to do about it? I actually have no idea. I hope that once I get into my routines and start going to the gym and all that, everything will start to feel better. I want to be able to talk to my friends and my girlfriend, without being afraid that they will disappear. Of course they won´t, but there is still that fear in the back of my mind at all times. I think both me and them just need to get used to me being on the other side of the world. I am here for just 5 months. I don´t have time to worry, when I live in what I would like to call a paradise. I just have to assume and accept that they´ll still love me when I get back.

It is funny that all exchange students pay the same amount of money, but the experiences may be completely different. It really depends on what kind of hostfamily you get. And I am in luck! I got the best hostfamily possible. During these school holidays we have been doing so much :D They´ve taken me and my exchange brother to heaps of places... For instance Waihi, Karangahake Gorge and Mount Maunganui. My hostdad Bruce has got so many different contacts that I got friends in my age right away. In one week I have been hiking, biking, seen some spectacular views, played badminton, golf etc. I really can´t complain. So what is my next adventure? Well school starts on Monday so... I had better get my mind together.

A piece of advice for anybody who is thinking about going on an exchange: Don´t think you are going on a holiday or anything like that, because the first couple of weeks won´t be easy. I have just had one of the best and most fun weeks in my entire life, but it hasn´t been easy. There will be ups and downs and you really can´t say which day is going to be good and which day is going to be bad. You will just have to go with the flow :D