So, here’s the post I was supposed to put up on Sunday – but I got a little overwhelmed by packing and cleaning and though I had most of it written, I completely forgot. So really, my week of posts has expanded a little, but that’s okay. I’m still impressed I managed five out of seven days more or less on time – so that’s something! 🙂
This is basically a little sum-up of my time in Germany; how I feel it went, some of what I did, etc. It’s very much introspective and so might be a little boring, but I think it’s a good time to look a little at what I did so that I can prepare myself for the next part of my journey.
Days in Germany: 140
Cities visited: 11 (Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Paderborn, München, Wuppertal, Münster, Berlin, Aachen, Bonn, Essen, Köln)
Classes taken: 7 (German crash course, German afternoon course, Linguistics, Korean I, Chinese III, History, Psychology)
I had an awesome time in Germany. I met great people and we had some fantastic times – so I’m happy to say that yeah, if you have a shot to go on an Erasmus program or another exchange scheme, then do it! It’s going to be stressful at times (especially at the beginning), but as you get used to things it’ll get easier, seriously.
There are a few things I’ve taken away from this experience (that I’m hoping to improve when I go to China).
1) Say yes to everything. I mean, you know, within reason – but there’s no point spending another night in because you can’t be bothered to go out when you might as well spend the time with friends. At the beginning it will make you feel less homesick (as well as helping to establish great friendships) and at the end – well, it’s just fun isn’t it? You’ll get to try things you might not do at home, which is rather the point.
2) Try to make friends with native speakers. It might be difficult. In Germany, I found myself in a bubble of Erasmus/exchange students, which whilst amazing in and of itself, meant that I spent a lot of time speaking English. I tried to speak German – and I know that I improved – but making a real effort with natives would have helped more. You might be shy, you might feel like an idiot; but really, what’s the worst that will happen? They’re going to know you’re not native and they’re not going to think you’re a complete moron. In fact, being an exchange student might even make you seem more interesting ;).
3) Remember why you’re there. Not everyone on an exchange year is a language student, so you guys can probably skip this step. For those of you who are, like me – remember what you’re there for. Parties are great, trips are great, friends are great; but don’t forget about the language. Snap up any opportunity for language courses, tandem schemes, etc. I do regret not doing a tandem scheme now, because I feel like it would have helped a lot. It’s not the be all and end all, just try not to forget about it.
Apart from that, the only other thing I wish I’d done more of was travelling; I wanted to see other cities in Europe but never really got around to it. I hope I’ll go everywhere I want to someday, but visiting so many places in Germany was enough for now.
That’s more or less it. I have one final goodbye posts, then a few to fill the gap until I jet off to China. I hope you’ve enjoyed this
week ten days! 🙂