Saffira Annisa Bening (INA AFS to Italy YP 16–17)

What should I do know? Count down or count up?

Without realizing, I am already almost halfway through my journey. It feels like just yesterday I finished writing my first newsletter and now this is going to be my last one. My biggest fear before coming here, was honestly feeling afraid of regretting this year. Because ten months, isn’t a short amount of time. I have sacrificed a lot to get to a point of writing this newsletter now. I am at a point where I am starting to enjoy and relax my exchange year more. This huge puzzle that was at first almost impossible to figure out, slowly but with a good pace I am starting to place the pieces together getting the idea of how beautiful the puzzle turned out to be.

The people here are very welcoming and caring. I am very lucky to have encountered many inspiring people throughout my stay here, these people have gave me the push to always be the best version of myself in every situation and moment. I even gained some new habits here like drinking coffee every day, playing my ukulele, and saluting strangers on the street. Those are just some out of the many habits I have gained, there are still many more yet to discover.

Italian culture is very different from Indonesian culture. There are a lot of things that I learned here that I want to bring back home. Back in Jakarta, we never eat together for dinner because everyone has their own things to do and it is a bit hard to combine schedules together. But now I realize that eating together for dinner is simple but very important to maintain family bond. Because by that way, we can talk about our feelings and day. I also realized the importance of stating your opinion but of course being careful at the same time because once you say something you can’t take it back.

Another thing I love about this experience is being a listener. Just by opening my ears for a few minutes I have learned a lot of things and became fascinated by the stories I have heard. This became one out of a lot of things that I never knew could happen, sometimes the best things come unplanned.

Some of my unforgettable moments here includes participating in my school’s Christmas concert in which I have met incredible strangers and now friends. They have helped me through the process making sure that I’m not left out in the dark. In this experience I was shown the power of going out of my comfort zone. I also experienced my first snow, had the pleasure to present Indonesia in front of my friends, and travel to dream like places across Italy.

But by the end of the day, the number of places you visit doesn’t have any importance because that doesn’t guarantee your happiness. The people who you spend it with is what matters the most. That’s why by being an exchange student, the best way to get an optimum year is to be active in the community. I am now attached to my new community surrounding me, and I don’t know what to do when it is time to say goodbye. I know I will miss this place but even more I will miss the people that have filled it making it alive and warm.

The road isn’t always smooth, I have stumbled upon some pebbles on the way. Those small stones that you would never have thought could make you fall, the ones that you didn’t see coming. But with fall comes satisfaction, the feeling of accomplishing to rise up again. All I had to do was to throw far away my pessimistic values and see things from the positive side. Always convincing myself that at least I know I am doing the right thing.


Let’s cross over.

In my case I crossed over from Indonesia to Italy 14000 km away.

I realized one of the best feelings in the world is the rush of emotion you feel when you are faced with a new place and all you want to do is suck the air and live every moment like it’s the last one. And at some certain point, you start to loose words because of breathtaking moments. All you want to do is stare with glaring eyes.

It is something that I can’t explain, but these past few months have made me feel alive, renewed. I know that I have filled my heart with love and eyes with life lessons. Things I could never get if I didn’t decide to be an exchange student. Because once you go global you can’t turn and go back again.



The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning Official Partner of AFS Programs

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Bina Antarbudaya

The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning Official Partner of AFS Programs