For those who haven’t met me, hi, I’m Jana.
Most of these stories are pretty much the same, talking about how incredible the exchange was, thanking everyone they had met for making the experience so great, saying how much they love their new friends and family, hoping to see them again soon. As much as all of it applies to me 100 %, I hope my story will be a little different, attention-grabbing and interesting to read.
I first came to Denmark in 2018 with my father, for a week-long vacation. I fell in love with the country, and since then I’ve been dreaming about studying here when I “grow up”. I have never thought tho that it would be so soon, during my high school years, as an exchange student.
I came to Denmark 4. January, but not to Hobro, nor to this school. I started living with a host family in Bjerringbro, attending gymnasium there. I’ve been there for 3 weeks, but honestly, it felt like 3 months. The classmates were great and nice to me since the first day, but I had hard times with the host family, combined with homesickness, so I probably wasn’t very good company.
Everything changed when I received a call from Charlotte (STS coordinator) saying there is a very nice host family, the best she has ever had, looking forward to meeting me. But there was a teeny tiny problem. The family was a little far from Bjerringbro, which meant I also had to change schools. I wasn’t very happy at first, because I knew I had to go through everything again. New family, city, school, classmates. But I didn’t have a choice, which I’m very grateful for now. My host family is just incredible, the classmates as well. This experience only makes me believe that everything is going to work out in the end, even if it doesn’t look promising at the beginning.
People say about Danes that they are cold and keep their distance when they don’t know you, and only after some time they open up to you and “melt”. But it certainly didn’t apply to the ones I’ve met. Since the day I came, all of you have been welcoming, friendly, and interested in me as a person. Thank you all for the way you’ve treated me, it does mean a lot, you can’t even imagine.
Besides the incredible people I’ve gotten to know, I’ve gotten to know myself better as well. Back home, I was living in a shadow of my older brother. Everyone knew him, and I was known as his little sister. I thought attending the same gymnasium as him was a good idea. I’m happy I could’ve realized it was one of the stupidest moves I’ve made, because it didn’t give me the chance to grow and ”create” my own name. Here I started talking to a lot of people, not once stepping out of my comfort zone. Risking making a complete fool of myself, which I can honestly say I succeeded at, a few times. But I don’t regret any of the things I made. At the end of the day, I have a lot of embarrassing but funny stories to tell.
There are still things I want to experience, people I want to talk to and get to know better, so I really wish I will manage to.
Just in case we don’t get to say goodbye to each other in person, lovely to meet you all and thank you for making this exchange semester unforgettable. (But I sincerely hope we do.)