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Personal development and friendships after the exchange (Meri Valcheva)

I am from one small but beautiful balkan country Bulgaria. I have always been energetic, ready for adventures and open. And if you find the right people and the right place you can use these skills you would be the happiest person in the world like I am when i went for the first time on exchange in Ommen. And then again and again.

Exchange. One word and thousands of meanings.

In this kind of exchanges you meet so many different people from different countries, different cultures, with different mindset and knowledge. They are all strangers to you, but there is one common thing - the passion of traveling and exploring the unknown.

In my small city in the middle of Bulgaria called Stara Zagora not all of the people are open to everyone. They prefer to stay in their comfort zone with their close friends and family and to live their life as usual. Of course not everyone likes the changes. That is why i decided to try and feel the experience of the exchange. To feel the difference between people who are not speaking the same native language and i find out that it does not matter the language, but the way you are expressing yourself and the opinion you have.

When you are living together you have to work with each other, not against. That is how the

team work is going to be successful and with good influence. However you have to get out of

your comfort zone and if it is hard for you and you have never did that, Olde Vechte is the

right place to learn.

Speaking in front of a big audience is hard, you are feeling weak, without confidence and

scared of other people’s reaction. But isn’t that the point of everything in life? You have to

face the fear and be stronger than it!

When we are living in our countries we are used to contact with people who are completely

different even when the language is the same. The exchanges teached me that you never

have to cover your real self because of someone else. You have to do what makes you

happy. Be with people who are making you feel comfortable with and help you to grow.

And you know what? After the time you spent living with these people, doing everything

together you are getting attached to them and you all became one big family. You don’t feel

them anymore as a strangers from different countries, speaking another language. The only

thing you are feeling... is comfort and love.

In the end of the exchange you have good friends and open doors all over Europe, beautiful

memories and new skills. These people are going to stay in your heart forever. You can’t

bring the memories back, but you can create new ones!

When i came back home from my first exchange after my first thought ¨ OMG i have to go

back there¨ i start bringing back all the memories and realize how for sixteen days my mind

has changed a lot. I start thinking more about my actions and reactions. I was last year in

High School and i had to make a lot of important decisions for my feature and deal with the


The exchange is an escape from reality. Living the dream, isn’t that perfect? Yes, it is, but

everything in life has its end and you have to go back to your reality in your country, use all

the new things you have learned from this dream and make it real.

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