Miikka approached me a few weeks back looking to swap articles for our websites. Without hesitation, I gave an emphatic, “Yes!”
Why wouldn’t I?
Meeting people is awesome, but forging long term friendships just might be better. As you’ll learn, he lives in Finland and I, in Canada. His website can be found over here: http://www.michaelsmidweekmadness.com and if you get a chance, check it out.
I won’t take up too much of your time babbling on about the importance of meeting, networking and creating last friendships. I won’t tell you that the right kind of people can and will help you become a better version of yourself. And I won’t tell you that you just never know who you will meet when you put yourself out there.
What I will tell you, is Mikka has a pretty awesome story below.
If you want to Guest Post on my site, you can do one of two things:
- Yell as loud as you can and maybe, just maybe, I’ll hear you and respond
- Email me at email@example.com and let me know what you want
Here are a few other past Guest Posts for you to read.
One final note. If you haven’t got your hands on a copy of Mindset of a Champion, you NEED to stop reading this and grab it. I don’t want to brag and say it is changing lives all over the world, but it kinda is. Get your copy here:
Cheers to your success,
Learning the hard way is learning indeed
My family has always been pro-development, my father in special. So, when I told him on one of our winter evening walks that my school had found a chance for me to go to Germany as an exchange student, I was not surprised when he said, that if I wanted, I could. No matter the cost. As it turned out, it was actually cheaper to send me out to the world, than to keep me here in Finland.
But as our walk progressed, so did the thoughts in his head. The initial plan, on which we both agreed on was, that I would be spending a month abroad, so when he said, “Why only a month when you could be there for a year?” my initial reaction was as humanely stupid as possible in the cold breeze:
“Wah?” (The English word “what” complimented with a quick gush of air coming out of the lungs)
I had not prepared for that.
But as we went on, it became clear, that he had given the idea a lot more thought than I ever had. Learning the language and culture would open so many more doors, than just doing German finals in school, one after the other.
“You could go to university there, you know. It’s cheaper and it always looks better on your Résumé when you’ve studied in the Max Planck institute, than when you’ve studied in some small Finish University.”
This was something I’d never heard, much less thought of before and sure enough, before we came inside to warm our frozen noses and ears, the subject had been settled. I would be leaving Finland and going to Germany for three months as I had found it better than a full year.
But waking up the next day, I didn’t feel as full of confidence as I did the night before. Now that all the hype was gone and I started to think about it, it didn’t seem like such a good idea after all. I knew it would be sensible to go, but to my surprise, it seemed that I didn’t want to. So, I did the thing everybody would do.
I pushed the thought to the back of my head saying to myself that I’d think of a solution in the upcoming months.
I properly noticed the amount of time I had spent two days before my deadline. Two days before the day I should be submitting my applications. I hadn’t given the subject any thoughts, but after talking about it with my friends and family, I arrived at the conclusion, that I could send the application and even after getting accepted, I could reject their proposition and say that I’d rather stay home.
And the next thing I noticed, was me sitting at the info of the organization that would send me out into the oblivion. I say oblivion because none of us knew what was ahead of us. Even the organization seemed to have only little clues, because of the ever-changing host families and locations.
After taking part in the info, not a night would pass when I wouldn’t be thinking about my decision. It would cause severe damage to my plans in high-school. Hell, I didn’t even know if I would graduate with my fellow classmates, but that was a gamble I took. A gamble I probably didn’t need to take. It was actually really nerve-racking to think about the possible impact this would have on my future life.
Winter turned to spring, and I prepared to leave Finland.
Out into the storm
The first days were the worst because every hour brought something unusual, something I had never experienced. And with these things, came the language. It was a language I couldn’t properly understand, let alone speak, but I still had to use it every day, in every situation.
But that was how I learned it.
I learned how the language works and how the people think. I learned the culture, and what somebody expects from you when you go outside. In reflection, it was painful but worth it.
When the three months started to come to an end, I found out that I really didn’t want to leave. After problems in the beginning, I had made new friends and found a new family. Now they all just expected me to leave and run back to Finland. I knew I should go, but, yet again, to my surprise, it seemed I didn’t want to.
Wait, that does sound familiar.
Brace yourself Finland, winter is coming
Now, when I am in the aftermath of my exchange, it is difficult to say whether it was tougher to go abroad, to be there, or to come back. But I did learn not only German but also a lot about myself. And no, I am not talking about thinking beforehand about what to wear tomorrow.
No, I am talking about things that I will probably remember the rest of my life.
If I may offer you some advice? When in doubt, first listen to your heart and take its feeling under consideration. First, I didn’t want to leave, then I didn’t want to come back.
Give things a rest. If you’ve found yourself in front of a question you do not know the answer to, wait for a bit, the answer might present itself.
It wasn’t easy to go abroad, but now I’m back with a ton of great experiences and new friends and ready for new challenges, but one thing I know for sure, there is always the next winter.
And it is coming quickly.