I arrived in Philadelphia a few days before the term started so I could get settled in, and from the second I landed, it felt like I had ended up in one of the many American movies I have watched. My first impression of the city was that it was a lot more diverse than what I’m used to. You can meet various types of people in the street, by whom I was even randomly greeted sometimes, which I am very unused to in Denmark, my home country. Everything was very confusing and chaotic at first, as it usually is when you are in a new place. People sounded different, the roads were different – even the smells were different! As it probably is for most people, the beginning was the most difficult part. Not knowing anyone while in a strange place can make you homesick very fast, and it surely hit me hard in the first few days, but I comforted myself, knowing that it would all change once the term started – and it did.
One of the most important things I have been told about being in new surroundings and in a new country, is that you should be open-minded, with which I can only agree. Nevertheless, being an introvert who loves spending my free time at home alone playing video games, I sometimes have difficulties settling into a new place and putting myself out there to get to know some new people. But I also know that it’s important to sometimes get out of your comfort zone. Since my study abroad began and I have been away from my good ol’ gaming computer at home, I have been forced to go and seek out both new experiences and new people. Overall so far, it has been good practice for me to go outside more and it is something I would never have done if I hadn’t chosen to do this exchange. You could almost say that I’m discovering a new version of myself, maybe…?
In the end, it’s important to have someone you can rely on – no matter where in the world you are. Having a network with other exchange students has really helped me with exactly that. Being able to connect with people going through the same thing as myself gives me a feeling of reassurance that everything will be okay. Through all the stressful, exciting, and nerve-breaking moments, that’s what it all comes back to, and I’m looking forward to the rest of this amazing experience.