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YFU Blog - Recent stories about Youth for Understanding

The Next Chapter of Your Exchange Experience


The life of a returned exchange student can be broken down into two chronic, paradoxical situations.  There's the one where you realize that the longest months of your life were entirely too short.  Similarly, there's the one where you realize going abroad did not actually satisfy your wanderlust impulses - in fact it made your desire to travel  insatiable.  To all previous exchange students reading this: the diagnosis has been confirmed and I regretfully inform you that you're doomed to forever seek the feeling of adventure and discovery that you experienced abroad.  Symptoms include aimless walks down memory lane, casual Google flight checks, increased gregariousness on international topics, and the adoption of certain nomadic tendencies. 

While there is no cure for this unfortunate condition, there is an outlet: fellow alumni.  An alum of a YFU program can be described as the individual in the room that's consciously trying to monitor how many anecdotes she shares from her time abroad in the course of a single conversation.  He's the one that lights up when he hears you've been to "his" country.  She's the one that can stand up in front of a group of people at the drop of a hat and sound like a life coach testifying of the benefits of international exchange.  If one or more of these descriptions sound like yourself or someone you know, please seek help immediately with your nearest YFU Alumni Chapter.  Who better to understand your restlessness and reverse culture shock than a bunch of people equally affected by the harrowing effects of travel-withdrawal? 

YFU has heard your pleas for relief from the chronic condition of "ex-exchange student."  Announcing: three new Alumni Chapters being led by fellow talented and committed volunteer alumni in the following locations: 

Whether it's been weeks, months, years, or decades since you returned from your time abroad, the lessons you learned as an exchange student and the memories you made are likely still dear to your heart.  There's a reason why YFU alumni never stop talking when they're together; despite the wildly different experiences everyone has, there is an instant camaraderie in seeking to remember the special feeling you had as an exchange student.  With the opportunity to meet and connect with fellow alumni, you have the ability to remember what made your exchange the crazy, wonderful, developmental time period that it was.  Your exchange experience didn't end the moment you stepped off the plane.  The Alumni Chapters offer amazing ways to stay connected not only with YFU, but also those precious experiences you had while abroad. 

Welcome to the next chapter of your exchange experience, we hope to see you soon!