Seriously, stop being bored! It's bad for you.
Not only is boredom, well, boring, it as also the quickest route for an exchange student to feel homesick. Which, as you all know, begins the epic downward plunge into a sad life of tears and nutella (or peanut butter or dulce de leche or speculoos). You do not want that to be your life.
YOU, my friend, are a SUPER COOL exchange student. You are cultured and worldly and kind and interesting and fun, remember? You are having the experience of a lifetime. All of the friends that are back in your home country doing trigonometry homework right now wish they were in a foreign country like you.
So do something worth talking about! Every day! Not just when you go on a crazy trip with other exchange students. Make every day worth telling a story about. You're the only one who can make this happen. There's only 5 weeks left of 2013... what wonderful memories will you be able to tell about this year?
The following is a mental explosion of everything I could possibly think of to help you get un-bored. Some of the things in this list are straight-up ridiculous... whatever. Live a little. Laugh at yourself. Or, I mean, laugh at me. That's fine too.
- Get up to date on current events - very necessary, you are an exchange student, after all.
You know how there's always so much going on that sometimes it's really difficult to understand what is happening in the world even when you've been trying to keep up with it? Here is one of my favorite secrets - On the left side of The New York Times website, click WORLD. Then click EUROPE. (Or just click this link --> http://www.nytimes.com/pages/world/europe/index.html) This will make a box on the right side of the page appear where you can select any country in a drop-down menu underneath where it says TIMES TOPICS: FIND NEWS BY COUNTRY. After selecting any country, NYTimes gives you news in chronological order about that specific location. This solves all of the problems ever caused by your sporadic "I want to be an informed member of society but oh wow this is confusing" tendencies.
- Get your fill of current pop culture - don't always pass off pop culture as stupid, it often reveals our societies reactions to the current events of the time.
- Discover a new part of the city
- Try and go to every single restaurant in town
- Taste test everything on the menu
- Try every flavor of ice cream
- Play charades - I'm sure you a pro at it now, all exchange students are
- Learn a third or fourth language - that's right, I said it! Exchange students are overachievers, okay!?
- Start stretching every day
- Give yourself dreadlocks
- Rip the dreadlocks out once you change your mind - I've had to do this before. Not very pretty.
- Dye your hair
- Learn a new recipe from your host country
- Practice that recipe until you know you can do it successfully on your own once your exchange is over
- Learn how to play a musical instrument
- Write songs
- Film music videos to your own songs or songs that already exist
- Practice your parkour skills
- Practice speaking with different accents
- Make a stop motion film
- Redo your resumé or make one if you haven't already
- Make it a habit to sit and stand up straight
- Start doing yoga
- Start drawing and doodling
- Make a coloring book
- Create a zine or collage
- Learn more about photography then improve your skills every day
- Take a dog for a walk
- Start a club at your school
- Volunteer with your Rotary Club
- Write articles for your local paper (your home-town and/or host-town)
- Start an artsy blog about a super specific and obscure topic. Like.... pictures of silverware everywhere you eat. Or the toilets everywhere you travel. Or views out of windows
- Write poetry - bonus points if it's in your host country's language
- Write an entire book - so many points that you win the entire game if it's in your host country's language
- Email people you admire in your potential career field. Introduce yourself and ask them for advice (if it seems appropriate).
- Find people in your host-town to job shadow or intern for them
- Go to a museum
- Sit in a coffee house working or reading. Maybe make some new friends.
- Go to the library
- Tutor a classmate in your native language
- Write down all your dreams and interpret them
- Visit a nursing home
- Take a pottery class
- Ask your host parents about their childhoods
- Go to different churches/mosques/cathedrals/all those religious places just to see what they're like
- Do something that scares you
- Eat food you never thought you'd try
- Help with chores around the house
- Try to get rid of one of your worst habits
- Research hidden history - especially if it pertains to your host country
- Write down everything you are grateful for
- Send handwritten letters to people you miss
- Tell everyone you appreciate that you appreciate them
- Translate song lyrics into different languages
- Learn how to read palms
- Go to the grocery store just to people watch
- Have a picnic
- Drink tea in a park
- Go dancing!
- Organize all the bookmarks and files on your computer
- Clean your room
- See how many outfits you can create with the very few pieces of clothing you packed
- Climb a tree
- Practice being happy in every moment, no matter what you are doing
When I think of more things to help un-bored you, I'll let you know. Or if you have anything to add to this list, let me know and I'll spread the word!
Stay tuned for future newsletters about Homesickness & The Holidays, Making Friends, why the struggle of exchange is TOTALLY worth it, a Guidebook Challenge, and a downloadable playlist!!
Share The Guidebook with your exchange friends! >> https://tinyletter.com/TheGuidebook
Un beso enorme,
USA to Argentina 2009-2010