“I’m really glad I decided to study here for a year”
“It will be so great to get to go back home and know something a little more about a different country. Being able to speak another language is such a great advantage. And it’s also great to know more about other cultures, instead of just reading about the country in a geography book. I’m really glad I decided to study here for a year.”
Spending a year in another country can be scary, especially if you don’t who you’re staying with.
I was lucky enough to know the family I was going to be staying with. I’m spending a year studying in Germany. I came over knowing close to no German, as I’d only started learning it a few months before I arrived. It may seem like a scary thought, but you learn the language so quickly because you’re constantly immersed in it every day.
Another thing to remember is that the people are all very accepting.
They understand if you don’t speak it perfectly. I carry a dictionary with me everywhere I go. If I can’t remember a word, I just look it up really quickly. I was a little embarrassed about it at first, but no one bothered me about it. It’s especially useful at school. In classes, for tests, and conversation. I try not to speak English at school, so if I can’t remember a word or don’t know how it’s called in German, I describe it in words I do know. All my piers are really helpful, and we joke about it. It’s like real life charades.
Going along with the topic of school, it’s another important topic.
Though it’s a little intimidating at first, you become used to it very quickly. Germany has one of the most advanced school systems in the world, so naturally the classes are a little harder than the majority of classes in American schools. Not to worry though! The teachers are all very understanding, because they know this before hand. Put in your best effort to learn as much as you can. I write down whatever the teachers write on the boards, then work more on translating and understanding it at home.
If I don’t understand something, or didn’t catch all of it, I ask one of the people sitting next to me if I can see that part of their notes. Everyone is so helpful and understanding! I found a set group of friends after about 4 to 5 months. It was a little hard at first, but the more I immersed myself, and the more I understood the language, the easier it became to talk to people and make friends.
Another great thing is sight-seeing!
Where I’m staying, we’re about an hour and a half, to two hours away from the French border. We visited Strasbourg, which has it’s own dialect that’s a mixture of French and German. The people also speak French and learn German in school. It was a beautiful town.
Overall, my experience of Germany has been great so far. It will be so great to get to go back home and know something a little more about a different country. Being able to speak another stage is such a great advantage. And it’s also great to know more about other cultures, instead of just reading about the country in a geography book. I’m really glad I decided to study here for a year.
The best and most interesting things of being in Germany are learning about a different culture and language first hand!
It’s so interesting to find out about all the different traditions here, and how they compare to the ones that I celebrate in the United States. I think my favorite is New Years. It’s the only time of the year that you are allowed to set off fireworks in Germany, so people go all out. The food is delicious! People generally have friends and family over, and everyone brings some sort of food dish. It’s like a giant potluck.
We had fondue at the family I’m staying with. Everyone brought a different homemade sauce, and we provided the food to dip in it. There was fish, bread, cheeses, and assorted dips that people provided. The fireworks show was amazing.
ICES exchange student from the USA
Studied in Germany, 2013-2014