By: Rachelle Scheepers
In June 2018 I returned from my exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark, where I had one of the best times of my life. While in Copenhagen, every time something amazing would happen, I would always assume that the details would stick in my mind forever, and that it would be impossible to forget. It was not until the very end of my exchange, when my friends and I were reminiscing about all the amazing moments we had shared, that I realized the value of writing it all down. I came to this realization by means of my friend Ali, who had been recording her experience throughout the entire exchange. Every night that she could, she would spend a few minutes writing down the adventures of that particular day while they were fresh in her mind. I remember one day in particular, she spent over an hour recording everything that happened! I should have known then, watching Ali, that there was no way I would be able to remember all the fun and exciting times I had experienced, with the same vivid feelings as I had felt that day. I do remember the major events and the moments where I wanted to freeze time and just stay like that forever, but some of the smaller joys, like what we laughed about or what we ate, are already fading away. I also know that there is an excellent chance that a mere few years from now, I won’t be able to recall even the major highlights! Writing it down is just a way to ensure that later on, when I want to reminisce over the great times I had on exchange (and trust me you will), I will be able to do so.
How you choose to record your exchange is really up to you and what you want to commit to. Although I didn’t keep a written journal on exchange, I did record my experience in my own unique way. Two years ago while travelling with two of my friends we decided to make a short video to record all the great times we were having. I’ve been hooked ever since! Now I make short videos of all my adventures and exchange was no exception. I took ample videos every time I went travelling, including shots of my daily life in Copenhagen. Now that I’m back, I am putting together my exchange video, and even though it may not be as detailed as journaling, this method of recording the experience worked for me, and brings back many fond memories and fuzzy feelings. It’s a constant reminder of all the different places I was able to visit, and interesting people I was able to meet. I know my video will be a great souvenir of all the amazing times I had on exchange. One major advantage of a video is that it can be shared easily, so not only is it a way for me to remember but for my friends and family as well!
However you choose to record, whether it be creating a video, journal, blog, or scrapbook, the important thing is that you actually record it. Don’t risk forgetting about all the special memories that you created. Exchange is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you will definitely want to remember for the rest of your life.
Rachelle Scheepers is a student in Health Sciences at McMaster University. She studied for a single term at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.