Thursday, 9 March 2017

My Experience as an Exchange Student in Germany

T A G   E I N S  00:07
I had some nice thoughts about clouds and planes on the way here. Once I landed and finally met my host family, things changed. I suddenly forgot every word of German I knew, and could only say cool, gut, umm and danke. It was awful. I could barely understand anything either. It is so frustrating not being able to say what I want. I know it will get a little easier as the days draw on, but right now I feel like a German baby. I will improve. That is what I'm here for. I can't say I like it here yet. I'm still so scared in many ways. I need to relax.

T A G   Z W E I  22:52
When I woke up, I wasn't sure whether to go downstairs in my pyjamas or to get dressed. For some reason, I decided that pjs were the answer and once outside the kitchen, I could see through its ajarness that everyone was fully dressed and sprinted quietly back up to get changed. We made chocolate and nutella cupcakes, went on a bikeride to get icecream, played with the bunnies, watched Sherlock (auf Deutsch), watched another German crime show and ate food. I hope tomorrow I'm able to string together a few better sentences, although I've already learned new words, or at least how to use them!

They collect all their plastic bottles in order to get money back on them

T A G   F Ü N F  21:10
I'm shattered. While my speech has continued to improve, getting up at 6:10 in the morning and not being able to use the internet until 19:40 at night was weird and hard and boring. I hope I made the right decision going to school here. People just aren't as friendly as they are at home.

T A G   S I E B E N  21:56
Strangely enough I'm not in bed. I'm instead at the closest thing to a house party that I've ever been to. A German barbecue with legal beer and probably less legal Jaegermeister.

Musical swings at Enschede

T A G   A C H T  19:07
Up until now we were in Enschede in the Netherlands. I had never been to the Netherlands before so it was kind of nice for me to check another country off the list, even if it was only for a few hours. I'm picking up a lot of vocabulary, even if I can't use it in a sentence today.


T A G   Z E H N  17:02 the next day
I was reasonably alive having gotten up at 6:15. When they set the table for breakfast, they now know that I always eat cereal and just leave me a bowl. I like that.

T A G   V I E R Z E H N  16:19 the next day
Each day here in Siegen (at a gymnastics festival) has gotten a little better. The weather however was completely digusting this competition day, and I wore my low waisted shorts and a top in a knot up to my sports bra, sweat dripping down my face, beautiful really, but honestly I was amazed at how okay I felt with my untoned tummy being on view.

T A G   S I E B Z E H N  21:30
I had 1.5 or 2 hours to roam around Munster and shop. I was very glad beacuse it reminded me of all our family trips to Germany. It was strange because I was in Galerie Kaufhof and it was almost like my family was there with me. Like I'd been there before.

T A G   E I N - U N D - Z W A N Z I G  23:17
I just wanted to say that I'm feeling suddenly a little bitter-sweet about leaving. I've genuinely had a really good time here, and I've grown to be fairly comfortable around these people.

T A G   E I N - U N D - Z W A N Z I G  18:14
I almost can't believe I'm coming home. My German has improved beyond measure. I've learned so much about the culture, picked uo the way people speak, learned new words, how to use words, and practised and reinforced what I knew already. It was so so worthwhile and I'm so pleased to have done it, and also ridiculously proud. Peace out Münster!

All of these entries are actual abridged pieces of writing from my stay in Münster, NRW, Germany, back in June 2015. I was sixteen at the time, on a 3-week exchange, staying with a German family. It was challenging, and I went to bed early a lot. Sometimes I wish that I had really just spoken and thrown myself into it, but being shy and reserved in nature, it was hard for me. My host family was good to me, although in some sense I don't know that we were that well matched. Our personalities were just so different! Nevertheless, not 2 weeks after I returned home, I yearned to go back. I love the language, and the culture, and the streets. Germany is a beautiful place. The food is so different and the humour too. I would recommend to anyone to go on a language exchange if possible, and if desired. It's probably the best thing you can do for your language skill, even if you'll find yourself desperately seeking English when you shouldn't be!

Have any of you gone on language exchanges before? Do tell me about your experience!

Anna x

All photos taken on the iPhone 4. Excuse the poor quality, and the blurriness!

1 comment

  1. You are so lucky enough to experience being an exchange student in another country. That has been one of my dreams back in college. lol. Would love to visit Germany soon :)


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