Slovakia Update #97 – University

Motivation is something that I find incredibly difficult to find. However, often times when I find it, I struggle to hold onto it, especially in these past few months. This time however, I have had motivation dragging me along like a runaway horse, and all I can do is hope to stand upright and do what I can.

I will discuss today what kind of motivation I have, and how I think the lack of motivation in the past few months has affected me. To be completely straightforward, I my intention with my exchange this year was to go to Japan. However, because of some issues that I won’t dive into today, it became impossible for me. This exchange in Slovakia has taught me many things, whether it be good or bad however, and I must appreciate and accept that. But, I am approaching the halfway point of my exchange, and I must start thinking about my life as I return. If I haven’t made it clear by now, I set to study in Japan. I have been asked on multiple occasions on why I am so set to want to study there, and here are the clear and concise reasons (in no particular order):

  • I am very interested in the history of the country and surrounding area – To be perfectly honest, I struggled a great bit when trying to write my series on the Slovak National Uprising. I can’t say I have no interest in European history; because that would be a lie. However, I have much more interest in the historical development of the far east, and many parts of south-east Asia. And where else would it be better to study that history, than the country which nearly conquered the entirety of the pacific.
  • Recently I have taken interest in the car culture of the Japanese – To better phrase it, I have taken interest in cars generally. But specifically, I have taken a particular interest in cars of the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) variety. This reason might not be one that is there to “better my person” or “increase my practical knowledge”, but it is purely for my interest and enjoyment. There is a significant difference between the JDM and the European and American markets, one that I would like to experience in person (Yes, I could experience this for maybe a week or two, but I have the same idea that Rotary Youth Exchange has: immersion).
  • The Japanese culture intrigues me significantly – I would say what specifically about the culture particularly interests me, but I haven’t been to the country to experience it myself so I couldn’t say! No, but in all seriousness the reserved and respectful way that the Japanese appear to present themselves to the world I find intriguing.
  • The schooling is cheap – From what I have been able to tell, schooling that I would normally be attending in the US would cost anywhere between the range of $16,000-$23,000 per year, whilst the ¥535,800, or $4800 per year. Although I haven’t properly researched and compared side by side, the living expenses are claimed to be cheaper even in big cities like Tokyo, or Kyoto.

Of course, there are other, smaller and less significant reasons, but these are the major reasons I currently would like to attend. The way I have put it, it makes it seem as if I am trying to convince myself that I really want to do this. No, that is not the case. I truly have wanted to explore the land of the rising sun for the past couple years, and I see myself heading off to university as a great opportunity to fulfill my dream.

To be perfectly honest with you dear reader, is that this has been on my mind for a long time. I have had other thoughts about this particular topic for quite a while now, but I don’t think that I will share those today. I will however, talk about how the lack of motivation has affected me these past few months. I began my trip to Slovakia with an open mind, and I was very excited to be here. I think that is fairly obvious from how I posted nearly every day for a few months in a row. However, as time went on, my motivation to do anything had dropped significantly, and I was often forcing myself to go out and explore for the sake of content on my blog.

This all changed about 4 days ago when I finally made the mental decision that I would not give up on my dream of exploring the Japan, and that I would study there during my university years. Before then, I was moving forward without a real cause or goal, no real driving factor. But now, I have a goal set forward, and I will achieve this goal, no matter the consequences. My motivation towards nearly all subjects has increased, and I find myself want to go out and enjoy myself more. Being able to enjoy yourself on exchange is extremely mental, and I have found that out personally.

Culture shock/homesickness graph

There is something that I must discuss, simply because it is on my mind. I am sure all Rotary Exchange Students can attest to this, but I have seen the “culture shock/homesickness graph” nearly a thousand times. I am going to explain my take on this. Originally, I can agree that I was fairly excited to explore and see this new and wonderful land that I hadn’t set eyes upon in years. And it was true, that I started to go downhill from there as my motivation started to diminish. However, that is where the similarities end. I don’t feel like I have started the upward trend towards “recovery”, nor do I ever think it will happen.

I feel as if I have flatlined in the middle of crisis and honeymoon. I don’t have particularly good feelings about being here, although I have no distaste about it either. I feel as though I am just in a land of contentedness, waiting for the day I can come home and continue my life. I have sacrificed much to be here in Slovakia on exchange, such as missing going to Prom as a senior, or graduating with my classmates that I had been great friends with ever since I had been a freshmen in high school. Of course, these are all sentimental, and do not physically change anything, however they are things that I think about quite often. Now you must be saying, “But Alex, you knew these things coming into your exchange, why would you go into exchange knowing that you would regret this later?” Well now let me tell you something I just might get in trouble for; when I decided to go onto exchange, I did not take into account corruptness in a certain district, allowing me to be sent somewhere that I was not intended to go. It is all risk+loss/reward. Unfortunately, I rolled the loaded die and am now here in Slovakia. Remember however, I am not dissatisfied with my situation currently, that is not the point of me writing this. I am currently content with the way things are now. I have had these thoughts at the back of my mind for a long time now, and I thought it was about time I put them into writing. I know where I was supposed to go on exchange, however I wasn’t sent there. But that is alright, I will troop out these next 5 months, and enjoy my time here as much as possible, because when I finish here I am going to take matters into my own hands, and not allow the opinions of others to dictate where I land throughout the world. I better stop writing here now, or else I might say something that will make someone really mad. Apparently I am too liberal and open with my writing, but I am this way because that is how I am in reality. There is no point in trying to create a fake online persona of who I am. Ah! I just keep going on. Thanks for reading!


  • Ginger

    January 16, 2018

    Happy to see you have set some real goals for yourself. Keep writing, however liberal it may be, but don’t burn too many bridges along the way, it could come back to haunt you as you proceed on your path of adventure. Use this experience to your advantage to grow and develop and explore the contentment of this area of the world!!! You have an opportunity here that most will never know. I am happy for you!

  • G Man

    January 17, 2018

    What she said !


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