After almost two years of anticipation, I considered myself more than ready to leave for my exchange trip. My solo trip from Charlotte to D.C. went smoothly, and before I knew it I was in the presence of 100 well rounded students from both Germany and America. The simulations and conversations during those few days at our pre-departure orientation was unparalleled by any other experience i've had with students my own age. Each American student (CBYX program) shared a hotel room with one of the German exchange student (PPP program) for the two nights we were there. During these days, our global group toured D.C., participated in group activities and shared meals together. We stayed busy and prepared ourselves mentally for the journey to come. As the Germans left for their host families, we prepared for our move to Germany. The goodbyes were hard for both sides, and meeting the German exchange students at the pre-departure orientation was a bracing experience and a solid way to transition into our new lives as “Germans”.