Making friends in a foreign exchange program can sometimes be tricky, but what I leanred is that it's about making the best out of the little things that you have to create big memories. What I mean by that is that by the building of small gestures, such as inviting friends for ice cream or shopping, you can build up to a bigger moment. For me, this moment happened back in Christmas when we did a Secret-Santa gift exchange and went to the new Frozen 2 movie. Since then, I have gone on other small trips with friends like indoor swimming, making pasta, or watching movies, which brings me to the title of this Blog.
A few years ago, I watched a wonderful Valentines Day episode of "Parks and Recreation" in which all the girls got together on February 13th and called it Gal-entines Day. Since then, it had been a tradition for my girl friends and I to get together for this unique tradition, and this year was no exception. I texted a group of my friends with the idea and they were absolutely thrilled. We ended up celebrating with snacks and movies at a friend's house. It may not sound all that spectacular, but it meant a lot to me that I could bring this small tradition from my friends back home to my friends here. The night was spent with laughter, sugary snacks, sing-a-longs, and cat snuggles: the perfect ingredients to make for the perfect Gal-entines.
Part of this exchange is not only bringing traditions from your country's culture, but also bringing the small things from your family that make you unique. I never thought my Gal-entines Day 2020 would be spent so splendidly on another continent, but I wouldn't have wanted to spend it any other way.
To any future exchange students reading this, it's not always about the big sight-seeing adventures or days super out of your comfort zone. Sometimes (and maybe even most of the time) it's about spending time with the people not so much different than you, in a setting that's become both part you and part them. I love this little mixture of a friend group I have found, and I can't wait to share more of these little moments with them.