I know a few people who went there and they loved it! Are any readers current or former students to Denmark? Please share your experiences and tips! If you use the reply option or the Disqus comments, your responses should show up immediately :)
I was very homesick had plans to go home for Christmas that I had made in October. However, by the time December came, I was much happier and thought going home would set me back, so I cancelled my plans. I don’t regret it at all.
Right now I wish I could go home for Christmas, but I know it ultimately wouldn’t be good for me. By the way, I think somebody has said it before, but home probably isn’t what you’re imagining it to be. You’d be arguing with your siblings, being bored in school, etc. Remember that this is what you wanted.
Many older couples are very active, and plenty of younger couples aren’t really (guilty!), or they can be too busy with their other kids to take their exchange student out a lot. You can also have big differences in interests with families of any age, but even in those cases you’ll probably have plenty in common and a lot to talk about on a daily basis. Also, since the family chose you, they probably saw things listed in your profile that matched with their interests.
One cool thing about your family being older is that they’ll have a lot of great stories to tell you, which will be especially interesting if they’ve lived in the same place for a long time. I volunteer with a woman in her 80s who’s lived in my city her whole life and it’s great to hear what it used to be like. And my city’s much less exciting than Hawaii!
The most important thing with any family is to communicate with your family regarding your needs. Even if they aren’t up for the level or types of activities you want, they can help get you in touch with groups that can enable you to have those experiences (scouts, hiking or other sports clubs, even just friends who like to do [whatever activity] a lot and would love to have you join them).
Good luck and enjoy Hawaii!
Okay, here are my various thoughts on this:
(1) While it is fair for you to be part of the search process, especially if you have a preferred location, your organization should not be putting the primary responsibility for finding a new family on you. Do tell your friends and trusted teachers (or coaches, etc.) that you need a new family. They may know people open to hosting, especially for a student who someone they trusts endorses as a good student. All 3 students I’ve represented who changed families actually ended up moving in with friends from school.
(2) I don’t know what “terrible” entails for your current family situation, but if it’s an abusive or dangerous or just truly unbearable situation your organization should be able to move you immediately to a temporary emergency family until a permanent one is found.
(3) Ask if there are other cities that may not require a large cost to move to, or if the organization can contribute to those costs.
(4) Have your parents contact your organization in your home country to push for a better situation for you (new family immediately with assistance with the costs of being in a new city for you if needed).
Good luck, and please let us know what happens!
That is awesome, and can definitely be true! :)
You took as much Spanish as I took of German before I left for Germany! It is scary at first, and you for some time you may feel lost, but you will be surprised at how much Spanish you pick up when you’re actually speaking and hearing it daily, versus when you’re just in a class. Most people in Mexico also speak some English, so if you were really struggling, you can ask them what that word means and get help. Many people are appreciative of you just trying to speak the language, and are willing to be patient and help out as you learn. Also, continue studying Spanish even while you’re there, and soon enough you will be having full conversations.
I personally still think it’s not the best idea to go home during Christmas, although I am glad that you made the right decision for yourself.
- You’ll only get to experience Christmas with your host family once
- It can improve the relationship between the student and host family
- Often times leaving during exchange can cause more homesickness once the student returns to the host country
- Most programs don’t allow it (I know International Experience didn’t, the programs we’ve hosted students with didn’t, and I don’t believe AFS does either)
- I think it’s polite to celebrate the holiday with the family taking you in for the year
Of course, it’s always a case by case matter, and each student knows their situation best, but I would also encourage students to stay in their host country during the holidays if possible.
edit: Hadn’t read through T’s whole response, and I noticed I’m basically just reiterating what she said, but I’m going to keep my response as is for now.
I think in those situations it is completely appropriate to go back home, and I would say that most programs would make an exception for that.
Anyone in Sweden? :)
Have you spoken with your program about this? YFU, at least, does not allow this. Any temporary returns are only allowed in extenuating circumstances. It is very likely that other major programs share this policy.
Even if your program allows this, you need to think about the effect this will have on your relationship with your host family and the general progress of your exchange, both of which are likely to be set back, possibly permanently. You would also miss unique holiday traditions of your host country, which is a huge part of being on exchange.
You will have many, many years to have Christmas with your natural family, but this is your one year to experience it as a member of a family in a different country. The chance of you regretting missing that new experience is significant.
Readers, what advice do you have, especially those of you who are or have been full-year students yourselves?