COLUMN: Six months of foreign exchange make Switzerland feel like home


Mandy Petkovich, Foreign exchange columnist

The end of January marked my six months in Switzerland. When I was first told I got Switzerland, I wasn’t ecstatic, but now I can’t Imagine myself anywhere else. Now my German is really good and I even understand a bit of Swiss German. Sometimes I forget, for a second, that I’m in Switzerland and I’ll look up and see the mountains. Out loud I say, “Ich liebe meine leben,” or, “I love my life.”

My Extracurriculars

I am part of the Sarnen women’s handball team, and I really fit in with my team. In my first choir, I may be the youngest but the girls feel like my big sisters who I talk to when I feel down. In my second choir, the girls are all my age and they don’t mind when I act like a doofus. While I don’t talk to them as often now, my first host family still acts like I am part of the family whenever I see them. I only have one more month with my second host family, which is sad because it feels like just yesterday that I came here. I even babysit for one of my neighbors, and they are such a cute family.


My Rotary Club is really nice to me and Erin, my friend from Canada. We get to practice our German with new people and we get really good food for free. The Rotex (Rotary for college students) puts on a weekend outing for all the exchange students once every two months.


I can’t even fathom going home and leaving all my friends here. I have my best friend Lynn who isn’t in my class but we hang out together every Monday. There are the girls in my class who have let me into their group. Also, I have all my friends from the school theatre club. l can already tell that the reverse homesickness is going to be hard.

I have talked to my friends about them visiting, and maybe I am going to visit my exchange friend’s countries. My friend from Japan said she would show me Tokyo. My friends from Brazil said I could come for Carnival. Yael from California said that I and some others could visit her grandma in Mexico. I am going to visit my Canadian best friend in Moncton. There are so many places I can go where I now have connections.

What I do to Remember

I tried keeping up with a diary but it is not going so well. Instead, what I do is after every day, I write down what I did that day. It’s an easy way to remember every day of my exchange without taking up a lot of time. I have gone through a couple packs of sticky notes already. I want to be able to remember my exchange for the rest of my life.