Essay/Short story competition 2013\2014
Describe some positive aspects about international exchanges. Do you think such exchanges are important in the future as well?
International exchanges are simply great. They don’t just open your eyes, but also your heart. They have been important in the past, are important at the moment and become even more important in the future. The world is getting increasingly connected, globalization doing its thing. If people want to catch up with mother earth and know how the world works, they won’t find out if they stay, no matter where they are. Learning a language at high school, college or wherever is one thing, experiencing different cultures and countries by yourself a completely different world.
There are countless positive aspects about international exchanges, I experienced this myself when I spent seven month overseas at the other end of the world in Auckland, New Zealand. Naturally, you will be way better at speaking the particular language that is spoken in the area you visited, but this most obvious advantage isn’t everything - not at all. There are exchanges that only take a few days and you don’t really get used to the different ways of communicating. However, there is one point that unites all. They make you feel open-hearted and open-minded. This is how you cross boarders and not by hesitating. Many people take a little time to feel good in an unknown place and might seem shy at first, but the development they undergo when losing their shyness is even more impressive.
People usually don’t question things if they feel more or less comfortable with them. Fortunately you automatically do that when being on an exchange, because experiencing another way of living, learning, working, thinking, dealing with problems etc. means realizing differences compared to home. That will give you a complete different view on things, not just at school or in everyday life. It broadens your horizon - the horizon where earth and sky meet. The earth that is made a better place by people whose thinking is limited by the sky. They think further. They think faster. They think for the future and act today. Finding the right balance between enjoying today and creating opportunities for tomorrow is what counts.
During programmes such as Comenius it is all about exchanging ideas and thoughts. That’s what makes it so interesting. Finding solutions through the inspiration of formerly complete strangers who grew together as a team, maybe as a family, to create memories they will never forget. Some might go their own way in the future
and won’t meet the others again, but others will build friendships. Unfortunately, distance can be an obstacle, quite a big one, I guess. But never as big as the will to see each other again and reunite in a group of multicultural young adults who happily took the possibility to go on a journey to search and find.