“Emma” on Exchange in Belgium

What an exciting 4 months it has been for me.. I have done things I had never thought I would do! The main reason I think I have done so much is due to encouragement from my host family, my friends and most of all my loving family back home, and the independence that has grown within me due to the last four months in Belgium.

Belgium is an exciting place – very cold, rains a lot, but most of all it’s my new home for the year. I must say Belgium is very different to Australia, as it has different values and attitudes. I have to admit when I first arrived in Belgium I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. The way of living is totally different and the things they value are different too. I never knew that Exchange could be so HARD!! I knew I would be homesick but I never knew how much it would hurt… Being away from my family and friends have been the hardest things for me to adapt to on Exchange. I now know how much I rely on my family and friends and I will NEVER EVER take my family or friends for granted. I wouldn’t have survived the hardest part of my Exchange – the first 4 months – if I didn’t have the support and blessings of my family and friends.

Exchange, I think, has made me a better person in myself and in the way I look at the world! I know that I have become a lot more independent and I have more courage than I have ever had. When I was applying for Exchange we had to write down things we wanted to get out of it and I have to tell you that is probably the best thing anyone has ever asked me to do. I wrote down my goals for this year and I am heading in the right direction!! I am happy with the progress I have made but I am still scared that I won’t ever get the language right!

Exchange for me has been an “eye opener” to the world. As my uncle said to me “The world is your oyster, so use it baby” … Well over the last four months I have used it! I have traveled to France, Germany, Holland , England and soon I will be going on Eurotour and to Spain. I have to say, not only has Exchange been an eye opener but it has been an experience that I will never forget. I have made some amazing friends and I have met some extraordinary people. I do not regret coming on Exchange. Doing this exchange has helped me to realize who I am!

This Exchange is not only helping me find out who I am but it is also helping me figure out what I want in life. I know now you can’t buy your way through life – you have to be prepared to put in the hard work. I used to always think I would be doing other things than what I am doing now. Not only has this Exchange changed me for the better, but I feel that it has changed my family as well.

I am happy with how things have turned out and I think that there is only better to come. I still cannot believe how fast this year has gone and to think about what I still want to achieve while I am here is scary, as time is flying past. I am having an awesome time on Exchange and I am glad I’m here! I have been writing a diary since the day I arrived in Belgium and since the day I landed I have written every day except for two! Having a diary is a living memory and I wouldn’t have done it any other way as I am having so much fun I don’t want to forget it…

As I always say “Listen to your heart and follow your dreams” … its the key to success!