Friendships At Home While Being On Exchange As An Exchange Student – Exchange Life Skip to content
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Friendships At Home While Being On Exchange As An Exchange Student

This is a cause of worry for many exchange students, as they want to keep in touch with their friends and family back home, but have a hard time finding...

This is a cause of worry for many exchange students, as they want to keep in touch with their friends and family back home, but have a hard time finding a balance as to how to do so while enjoying the moment. The bad news is that there is no precise formula on how to accomplish this. I wish I could say that I kept my promise of calling my best friend every Sunday, but I didn’t. I still found ways to keep in touch and at the same time enjoy the moment. But remember:  life gets busy, for everyone! 


The World Keeps Moving


A thing that we often tend to forget is that everyone is living their own lives. Yes, we (exchange students) are in a very exciting period of our lives and we may think that we are the only ones that have stuff going on. But it’s good to remember that the world keeps moving. Your friends and family back home love to hear about your adventures, but also remember to check in with them every once in a while. A while ago I read about a girl that went on an exchange and decided to cut off all communication with her friends from home while she was there. When they texted her about their lives she would cut off the conversation and not engage. I don’t share this belief, especially when it is possible to keep in touch in a healthy way.  As a result of her behavior, her friends back home weren’t too happy to see her when she came back. 


Timing is WEIRD


Find gaps in your routine that work for you and who you want to communicate with. You may have 10 minutes in the morning while you wait for a bus, and your friend is going to dance class at the same time. Save those moments for both of you and your relationship will continue to grow and not stagnate. I personally love to use Sundays as a reset day, so when I could I would call my friends or parents in the morning while I did some chores or light homework. This obviously couldn’t happen every week, whether it was because of me, or them, but it was a good base to have. Lastly, I would say that don’t wait for everything to be perfectly timed. There will be times when it is really inconvenient for your friend to call, but it IS important. Or the other way around when you need to call your friend at an awkward time but you really need to speak with them. It’s crucial to be flexible and don't expect the timing of things to work at your convenience.


Social Media Is Your Best Friend


Social media is an ally (keep reading until the next paragraph though..) While I hate a lot about social media (hypocritical of me to have my highest screen time on Instagram) I have also found it to be a wonderful tool during my exchange. Through Instagram especially I could see what my friends were doing at a quick glance. This way I felt more connected to them as  I was seeing more of their daily lives. I personally love having a private account where only my closest friends follow me. That way it is almost like a vlog, my friends reciprocate the same content in their own private Instagrams or close friends’ stories. The only difference between not talking with someone the whole year and talking once a month was usually sliding up on Instagram. A quick catch-up can go a long way! Or a simple, What are you guys up to? Where are you hanging out? Etc… can make you feel more connected.


Never mind, We Hate Social Media…


Social media is also your worst enemy. I know I just wrote a whole paragraph on why it’s great, but there is a fine line. It can also make you feel really isolated. If you are struggling in your host country, it may be hard to see your loved ones back home having a great time. Always remember that social media is curated, and it's not 100% transparent (not even the private close friend's accounts). If you feel like social media isn't helping you, delete it. If you can't bring yourself to delete it, try muting those accounts that aren't making you feel great. It’s totally reversible and there is no harm in doing that. When one of my friends was abroad, she asked our friend group to please hide the stories from her or even block her. A big festivity was coming up and she was protecting herself. If you feel like that works for you, go for it. 


Friendships During Your Teenage Years


Most of this post is focused on friends and not so much on family. This is because friendships are fragile. We make mistakes and we lose friends. It’s important to put the effort into those friendships that matter to you. Exchange students always talk about losing friends while they are abroad, and I thought I could be immune to this experience. Even though for me, it wasn’t that much of losing the friendship, I lost the bond I used to have with the person. It was an accumulation of lots of things, but the exchange definitely did not help.


Rule of Thumb


I would say the golden rule is not to try to be everywhere all at once. If there is an important moment happening in your home country, and it's important to you to be as present as possible, make time for it. But most of the time, try to enjoy those new moments and experiences that will only happen once. If you are in your host country, don’t be on your phone and break the energy of the moment. Be as present as you can, but be flexible with yourself. This varies from person to person and some may need more rigid boundaries than others. Find what works for you. Whether it’s bite-sized conversations throughout the day that don't take much energy or big meaningful conversations that take place once a month. 


Once again thank you all so much for reading. I enjoy writing these posts a lot and sharing my experience with you guys! If you are interested in listening to a podcast episode we made on friendships, you can give it a listen here. Feel free to share your opinion in the comments or on our Instagram account. Any feedback is appreciated!



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Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…

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