Ah, ‘Exchange’. The very word that has been ringing in my ears for approximately a year now. Ever since I was made familiar with the entire concept of spending a stipulated time period abroad with a family chosen specifically for you with a home that they are eagerly willing to welcome you in, I’ve obsessed about it every now and then.
Recently, this concept touched a practical edge in my life when I was lucky enough to get a chance to apply for a one-year exchange scholarship to The United States of America via AFS.
At first I was exceedingly thrilled about applying for it. I gave a couple of interviews and tests with so much zest and hope. I could hardly stop talking about my gratitude to the organization, AFS for even considering my application. I could hardly stop imagining how different and upside-down my life would be if I actually qualified for that scholarship. I could hardly stop thinking about it at all.
About a week ago, I received an email saying that I was one of the ever-so-lucky students to qualify for this program but, I did not scream out of joy. It simply did not feel real. It still does not.
Now that my Board exams are over and all I do is sit at home and feel pretty jobless all the time, I have actually started contemplating the transition in the coming months of my life. I get mixed feelings. I don’t even have my placement in the US or my VISA yet but I already feel a lump in my stomach (not the doughnut that I eat everyday) every time it even occurs to me. This one time, my father was driving me to someplace, and I just looked out of the car window at a cow being harassed by bunch of stray dogs and I realized how much I was going to miss it even though I am most intimidated by cows (WHO ISN’T??). I have actually never observed cows because we’re so used to them being around all the time but the fact that I will be leaving the country in four months, really changed my perspective about everything.
For someone who has felt secure in the same school continuously for the past 10 years, I will now be attending an American High School. I have barely experienced changing schools but this is suddenly a little far-reaching. The struggle will be real.
The only thing that actually keeps me from crying every alternate moment is the motivation to focus on making the most of everyday here in India with my friends and family, before I depart to basically, a whole new life. I wish I could call this feeling temporary but it only strengthens with every passing day. But the thought that I will have a completely new family in a completely new continent and the life-changing experience of it all, makes my days slightly better. This experience is going to help me evolve as a much more self-assured and adept person which could be nothing but widely beneficial to me in the long-run. Isn’t it going to be completely amazing to actually celebrate Easter and Christmas the traditional way and eating a turkey on Thanksgiving and not just simply watching it in the movies?(I do not have too many expectations, I do not).
I cannot possibly thank AFS and my school enough for believing in my abilities and providing me with an experience which will make me forever indebted to them.
Wish me luck!
- Gaurvi Narang