Life as an Exchange Student

By Gul Rehan

America only seen through a Television screen is very different than America experienced in person. An educational and cultural Exchange student to the U.S can help you better understand yourself and the world around you

My adventure started when I asked myself “what would happen if I apply to be an exchange student in the U.S.?”, and I did. To be honest, it wasn’t even in my plan to come here to spend one semester because it was very hard to be selected, but surprisingly one day I received a call, I was selected. My American Dream becomes true. Since that moment I realized how great could be coming to the States, I Knew that this experience would completely change my life.  One of the most dramatic days in my life, was that moment when I had to say goodbye to my family and friends with my eyes full of tears. But the fact that this experience will make me grow up as a person encouraged me to take that flight to the other side of the Ocean. It was a hard decision to make because it is very difficult to leave everything you have, your entire life. But after all, no matter what decision I made, I could always count with my family, teachers and friends support, and that made things easier.

By this time, my life had already moved on, the decision was made. And I am not going to lie, the first days were hard, living with someone that you don’t know, being in a place that you have never seen before or trying to understand what people is telling you, makes you feel homesick. But, as I became more confident with the language and myself, I started to enjoy my experience and make lots of friends. In a month I felt at home, everyone was very nice to me. This was the beginning of a great adventure. Being in U.S I have come out of my shell. So to say I have become more independent, confident, responsible and respectful.

My day in the U.S. was very different than in Pakistan. The University was new for me. It was a little confusing at first, but now I love it. The experience that I have which is most beneficial and enjoyable for me was the diversity of people from all over the world living in the same country. All the different cultures, manners, and points of view shocked me because I had never seen such variety of cultures before. And I classify these differences as good because they made me open my eyes and realize that there was more out of the world where I was living in.

I visited six states during my one semester in Stephen F. Austin State University, but I love Texas most because I found the people welcoming, caring, loving, helping and encouraging. Whenever I go I will recommend getting admission in SFA. The education system is very good here and mostly the international office helps students whenever they face problem. The teachers are loving, Frank, helping and hard working. SFA’s education system changes my whole life. On the other hand I am happy about the part of my experience because I feel that I had the best friendship family ever. They received me with open hands and I will thankful for this because without them I could not have accomplished my dream.

After all these months in the U.S. as an exchange student I opened my eyes to the world and I saw what was outside. Spending time here made me appreciate aspects of my life that I didn’t realized I had. The circumstance of being alone in a foreign country far away from my family and friends made me mature and independent, but primarily, a stronger person. I will bring home my learning about the different understandings that a person can have when facing life. And after all, the time runs so fast and I wish I could spend here one more semester because when you really start connecting, you don’t have that much time left. Spending a semester in the U.S. has been my smartest decision so far, and I am very proud of the step I did coming here because this experience will stay with me forever. Stephen F. Austin States University you will be missed forever.

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  1. Story telling is an art and people love stories to listen to. We would start loving ourselves once we start loving our own story.! Your life changing moments may not really matter to us we might not hear you or get your point of view, even then its special for you because every one has his own story and Life Is Full OF Stories. That is how we learn and that is how we live… Best of luck

  2. did you ever think about the people of our country………specially the people of FATA NORTH WAZIRISTAN ………did you ever…okey answer me…what will be your reaction if your parents, brothers and sister ….i means to say your whole family unfortunately killed by the american drone attack for no reason while you are studying in USA………..tell me what will be your REACTION ?????

    1. What was your reaction when suicide bombers mostly from N Waziristan killed thousands of innocent fellow country men??

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