Shit Generation Y Likes: Going on Exchange

We love Will Smith and quote Friends in our everyday lives.

We worship President’s Choice White Cheddar Macaroni.

We watched Michael Jordan soar and The Great One dominate.

We can rap every word to Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” and hit every note on Oasis’ “Wonderwall”

We are Generation Y and let me tell you, we’re a bunch of whiney, spoiled bitches beauties.

Because of our parents working hard and being raised by those who lived through the Depression, we are being given everything our parents “didn’t get” and we’re being told relentlessly how fucking special we are. And we are special! Gen Y seems to be extremely comfortable being themselves. We get tattoos in visible places without second thought to this affecting our future, we dye our hair pink, and  we follow our dreams instead of the facts (or is all that just me?!) Yes, we’re a great and colourful bunch.

I really liked this blog/book. It made me laugh a few times, and I continue to crack up every time my friends from Oakville want to get sushi. Anyways, I was out with a bunch of my fellow Gen Y’ers the other night and as we got talking about our past, present and futures, I realized that like white people, Gen Y likes specific shit too. My first example: Going on Exchange.


How many times in a night does a Gen Y friend group talk about going on exchange or what someone did on exchange? The limit does not exist (stay tuned for Shit Gen Y Likes: Mean Girls). We are fascinated by cultures and I think because of the ease of global communication we find it easy to pick up and move across the world for a quick three months to explore the culture, AKA travel Europe/South America/Asia for super cheap while (kind of) going to school. Exchanges feed our need for travel and exploration on a budget that most of us can afford due to ties with domestic universities.

So, while I was on exchange, I decided I wanted to go on another exchange. So I did.

– Friend at the bar

The desire to travel so much I think stems from social media and us seeing all these places that our friends have visited. We know practically first hand from all the freakin’ Tweets, Facebook albums and status updates, Instagram pictures, and 7 second Snap Chats what you’re doing on exchange and how much fun you’re having compared to me on the frozen tundra of the GTA. Did your parents do exchanges? No. They were too busy doing their work in high school and then either worked their way through university or started work immediately and haven’t stopped since.  They didn’t take an extra semester to fit in an exchange to Warsaw in their second year. Don’t tell me it’s to help fulfill your history minor when we all know they drink absinthe in Poland, hun.

paris berlin amsterdam helsinki copenhague dublin stockholm madrid vienne lisbonne londres athenes luxembourg bruxelles reykjavik

On exchange we say we’ll “find ourselves” or learn to appreciate our own identity and culture while learning a new one. We’ll get international experience and network with our globally minded peers… Or maybe that’s just the brochure we read to our parents in order to convince them to happily help pay for half of the vacation exchange. You’re not lying. I guess all those things would occur automatically if you wanted them too (minus maybe the language depending on the location and amount of English spoken in the area)  but I don’t think you’re talking about how you romanticize the thought of gallivanting to Italy for a week or weekend in Ibiza (you won’t be able to handle any longer).

Gen Y loves exchanges. We love saying we went on an exchange, we’re thinking about an exchange or we’re going on an exchange. If you’re on exchange you meet other exchange students and together you make a collective group at your adopted campus and you’re known to the regular students as, “The Exchange Students”. You adapt the identity of your country and lose your actual name. The German, The Pole, etc. You become obsessed with going on exchange and continuing to travel afterwards because, of course, you’ve met people from around the world and you have seemingly endless number of couches to crash on. You’re an exchange student, and for the rest of your life you’ll speak about your time on exchange, and your Irish lover or Parisian sized apartment.

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