Ahh, exchange. An experience that opens you up to new lifestyles, perspectives and cultures.

If you get the chance go on exchange when you’re a student – take it!

Check out these 9 things you’ll only know if you’ve been lucky enough to go on an exchange year abroad.

1. You’ll make friends from all around the world

berlin wall friends group picture exchange year studying abroad

Whether they’re locals or are also doing exchange in the same city as you (or some kind of combination of the two), you’ll make a ton of friends.

It’s such a fab way to learn about a new culture.

Plus, by the time you go back home, you’ll have a long list of where to travel next – after all, you have all your international friends to visit!

And, they’ll be able to visit you too. It’s a win-win.

2. You’ll always find time to squeeze in road trips/weekend getaways (around the studying)

san francisco california golden gate bridge group photo exchange year studying abroad

At first it will seem a bit crazy that you’re planning to go away so often. But you soon embrace it and make the time to go exploring.

This is one of the most exciting parts of exchange – when life-long friendships are forged and when you get to visit places you never thought you would.

Trust us. Memories are made here.

3. Documenting everything becomes a lifestyle

sydney harbour bridge Australia girl view exchange year studying abroad

If you weren’t much into photos before exchange, you definitely will be by the end.

What better way to reminisce when you get home? It’s all about those ‘Two years ago today’ memories.

4. You’ll become a master packer

packing suitcase exchange year studying abroad

Packing a bag for an overnight trip or a weekend away becomes second-nature.

Not only do you know what to pack at a moment’s notice, you also know that the key is to roll, not fold! Welcome to the future friends.

5. Coming home feels surreal

flight luggage girl airport exchange year studying abroad

Who knew going back home would feel like a holiday?

That post-exchange glow is when you get home and are in the sweet spot (right before reality kicks in!)

Make the most of it! As the post-exchange blues will kick in soon enough…

6. You’ll compare everything to your exchange city

man view hat canal solo exchange year studying abroad

From the way public transport works to the prices of things in the supermarkets, you’ll start to pick your home city apart.

But in a very loving way. You’re just so cultured now you can’t help it. At least that’s what you keep telling yourself (and everybody else).

7. And you’ll become ‘that person who studied abroad’, talking about it any chance you get

east coast cruisin byron bay big banana group photo australia exchange year studying abroad

In every situation, every single day. Someone says something, you have an anecdote.

You’re at the supermarket and don’t know where anything is.

You’re at a party, a song comes on and you’ve been taken back to your first party with your friends.

How many times you explain these moments to your home friends, they’ll never sound as good as actually being there. Sigh.

8. You’ll have grown in amazing ways

cape town south africa views girl exchange year studying abroad

Cheesy as it sounds, studying abroad changes you – even in the most subtle of ways.

Whether you notice it or not, it happens.

Independence, courage, patience… They’re all in ya somewhere!

9. You’ll have caught the travel bug

Santa Monica America bike couple beach exchange year studying abroad

This one’s a no-brainer.

If you didn’t have the travel bug before exchange, you’ll sure as hell have it now!

When you get home, you’ll have itchy feet. So isn’t it time to plan your next adventure? 😍

Go seek out your next adventure with Topdeck.

Laura Colantuono
Laura is a student from Sydney. After spending a year abroad in Europe, she is now constantly on the lookout for her next travel adventure. Between checking Instagram for travel inspo and searching the web for cheap flights, Laura’s usually reading or trying to find the next great brunch spot.