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Why you should go on exchange to where your heart desires

portrait of woman

(Private photo: Ida Söderholm)

Go on exchange |   09. Feb 2022

Ida Söderholm

Student Writer

My exchange has felt like a lifetime and one week all at once, and that is as true as the saying is clique.

When I was deciding where to apply for exchange, I received a few questioning comments if Barcelona really was a strategic move – shouldn’t you go to Asia to further explore what you have learned in your degree? Is it really a smart move to choose Barcelona?

I have learned two things lately. The first one is that going to Barcelona is one of the best things I have ever done for myself in my life. The second is that people should really consider shutting their mouths more often when giving unsolicited advice.

Can I live my truth and still be enough?

I include myself when I say that we really should refrain more from directly advising people on their paths in life. Advice based on feelings such as deep concern are, of course, different, and not what I am referring to here.

Many times, the advice we give to others involves our own life ambitions as well as our perceptions of what we think they want for themselves, often even based on what they themselves have said and expressed.

(Photo by Ida Söderholm)

But sometimes we do and say things to be valued by those around us, as well as to reflect the judgmental standards of society. Sometimes, the things we say and do don’t actually mirror our internal truth and desires. And so, when people around us switch up their paths on their journey, the chances are small that they are actually going crazy. It’s more likely they are, in fact, breaking free to become saner.

How many bankers arriving every morning in a suit and tie do you think dream about being a full-time drag performer at a glittery club?


My point is that we are whole universes displayed in human form. But many times, we don’t feel encouraged or allowed to explore the extensions of our own internal universe because of the fear of not being good enough.

 What it means to not be good enough is different for everyone, and also often mirrors what you have been told and surrounded by while growing up. It is really helpful to identify your triggers so that you can discover whether your choices are attempts to prove people wrong who have described your truth as insufficient.

(Photo by Ida Söderholm)

When I chose to go to Barcelona on exchange, it did for me at first internally manifest as yet another choice that made me not good enough. Not strategic enough, not hard-working enough to be able to suck up my wants for a more “profitable” outcome.

I describe this feeling as swimming just to keeping my head above water, trying to balance others’ perceptions of me alongside what my ego wants and my own true desires.

Unfortunately, living like this too much and/or for too long, always backfires in the end.

Your full glory and Bumble BFF

Choosing this exchange experience served as a final breakthrough for me to emotionally and intellectually understand that the only way I can live my life in full glory is if I step into it. That cannot be done when I stumble into and stay in the superficial views of society and, most importantly, my own ego.

That leaves the truth that going to Barcelona was nothing other than a strategic decision.

It has allowed me to be able to witness what I am able to manifest as my external and internal reality when I honor myself. When I create space for me to be simply content.

(Photo by Ida Söderholm)

This doesn’t mean that I still don’t have days when I am deeply sad. But it does simultaneously mean that I also have moments when switching out my facemask to a new one leaves tears of joy in my eyes because the feeling of a clean facemask together with my favorite piece of my current favorite song in my ears makes my existence feel like a complete blessing.

Some of the people that I have met on this exchange have also been a complete blessing. Arriving as a solo traveler in a new country is a vulnerable experience. Away from enjoying your own company and those you naturally meet in your everyday life, I just want to pass on the tip of downloading Bumble BFF! I went on four friend dates. Two of them didn’t feel like good matches and the other two felt like complete glory.

When we are vulnerable and things don’t work out, we experience what feel like, and are, losses. But they are short-term losses. Because, in the end, the wins coming from showing up and honoring our truth, beat everything else.

You are art in your purest form. I think so and Adele would agree, haha!

Barcelona, we are not short-time lovers, we are long-time friends. It has been a pleasure manifesting the truths of who I am in your presence.

(Photo by Ida Söderholm)


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