School Exchange Trips: Expectations Vs. Reality

You’re not in touch anymore, are you?

1. Expectation: Flying to a foreign country with your friends is bound to be incredibly glamorous.

2. Reality: To save money, your school opted for a budget flight. You doubt you’ll ever feel your knees again.

3. Expectation: Your host family will provide a home away from home.

4. Reality: They can’t even pronounce your name.

5. Expectation: Your exchange partner is going to be your new best friend.

6. Reality: Not speaking the same language is really limiting how much bonding you can do.

7. Expectation: You’re on a cultural tour. You’re going to see everything your host city has to offer.

8. Reality: You may be in a foreign country, but you’re in the middle of nowhere.

9. Expectation: Well, at least you’ll be able to explore the local cultural highlights.

10. Reality: Your exchange partner is more interested in watching dubbed reruns of The OC.

11. Expectation: While you’re away from home, you’re going to go out every night.

12. Reality: You threw up on your first night and now you’re on a drinking ban.

13. Expectation: But house parties abroad are incredible. At least you’ll enjoy those.

14. Reality: They’re no different to house parties at home.

15. Expectation: You’re going to fall in love and start a beautiful, long distance relationship.

16. Reality: The boys are more interested in playing computer games than hanging out with you.

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17. Expectation: You’re going to sample a brand new cuisine.

18. Reality: McDonald’s tastes the same in every country.

19. Expectation: At least you’ll return home with a deep understanding of continental wines.

20. Reality: Teenagers drink blue alcopops wherever you are in the world.

21. Expectation: You’ll be the most popular girl in school. Everyone will think you’re sooooo exotic.

22. Reality: Everyone laughed at you when you read aloud in their English class, and you never really understood why.

23. Expectation: Back at home, you’re at the top of your class. You’re bound to impress everyone with your language skills.

24. Reality: The exchange students started learning English years ago. They speak it better than you do.

25. Expectation: You’ve made a friend for life. You and your exchange partner will stay in touch forever.

26. Reality: You’ll soon forget each other and get confused when you pop up on each other’s news feeds.

27. Expectation: But at least your language skills have developed. You’re practically fluent.

28. Reality: Nope. You haven’t learnt a thing.

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Tabatha Leggett is head of buzz at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.
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