"I am an exchange student. How do you know what is a dream if you never accomplished one. How do you know what is an adventure if you never took part in one. How do you know what is anguish if you never said goodbye to your family and friends with your eyes full of tears. How do you know what is being desperate, if you never arrived in a place alone and could not understand a word of what everyone ......else was saying. How do you know what is diversity if you never lived under the same roof with people from all over the world? How do you know what is tolerance, if you never had to get used to something different even if you didn’t like it. How do you know what is autonomy, if you never had the chance to decide something by yourself? How do you know what it means to grow up, if you never stopped being a child to start a new course? How do you know what is to be helpless, if you never wanted to hug someone and had a computer screen to prevent you from doing it. How do you know what is distance, if you never, looking at a map, said “ I am so far away”. How do you know what is a language, if you never had to learn one to make friends. How do you know what is patriotism, if you never shouted “ I love my country” holding a flag in your hands. How do you know what is the true reality, if you never had the chance to see a lot of them to make one. How do you know what is an opportunity, if you never caught one. How do you know what is pride, if you never experienced it for yourself at realizing how much you have accomplished. How do you know what is to seize the day, if you never saw the time running so fast. How do you know what is a friend, if the circumstances never showed you the true ones. How do you know what is a family, if you never had one that supported you unconditionally . How do you know what are borders, if you never crossed yours , to see what there was on the other side. How do you know what is imagination, if you never thought about the moment when you would go back home. How do you know the world, if you have never been an exchange student? --Åsta Mari Totland/USA 11-12"
Postingan di atas di share oleh salah satu exchange student USA di group facebook. Dan kata-kata yang begitu simple namun benar-benar menyadarkan kami semua yang ibaratnya sedang 'kehilangan arah' baik karena home sick, mulai jenuh dengan aktivitas sehari-hari, culture shock dan lainnya. Semua itu emang sangat wajar dirasakan oleh semua exchange student, namun seperti yang dikatakan oleh kakak-kakak returnee disaat orientasi, "Ini semua cuma setahun." Nggak gampang buat sampai disini, satu tahun lebih perjuangan melalui semua seleksinya, belum lagi harus menunggu di tengah ketidak pastian sampai akhirnya bisa bernapas lega saat sudah benar-benar diatas pesawat. Banyak yang dikorbankan untuk sampai disini, keluarga, teman dan lain sebagainya. Tapi cuma setahun juga kami bisa merasakan semua ini, ngomong bahasa inggris setiap hari, ngerasain pindah-pindah ruangan diantara jam pelajaran, ngerasain sarapan cuma dengan segelas susu, ngerasain gimana kangennya sama keluarga dan teman-teman dan cuma bisa ngedenger suara dan ngelihat wajah mereka di layar komputer. Tapi kapan lagi bisa ngerasain punya keluarga dengan latar belakang dan budaya yang benar-benar berbeda? Hidup ditengah lingkungan yang benar-benar asing dan belajar bertoleransi? Ya cuma setahun ini, that's what we're AFSsers do to built a better understanding for a bettter world
We're AFSsers, mighty AFSsers
Everywhere we go, people want to know
Who we are, now we tell them
If they can't hear us, sing it little louder!