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9 things that helped me survive my year abroad…

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Hello from a very rainy and very grey Germany, sigh it kind of reminds me of being back home in not so sunny England…bliss..

But yes the anniversary of me and the day that I jumped on a plane and pissed off to Germany for a year is fast approaching and even though I’m absolutely probably not going home anytime soon I thought this would be a good way to say ‘Bon Voyage’ (I know that means have a nice trip, obviousssllllly) to my first  year abroad.

I had a pretty troublesome year, Au-Pairing was *cough* not really my thing, I got homesick and to be honest I barely spoke a word of German at the beginning. So how on earth did I survive? Well I don’t really have a formula but I do have one or two tips that might be worth thinking about if you’re thinking about spreading your wings….

1) Learn the lingo

Yes everybody seemingly speaks English. No, I understand that the plusquamperfect is about as interesting as watching Big Brother but do it! Learning a bit of the language, as terrrrrible as it may be is more important just so you feel a bit more at home really. Evening it’s just being  able to understand the radio or the lady behind the till at the supermarket, you’ll soon feel a lot more cosier with a few phrases in your back pocket. 

2) Forget about the routine you had…

When I lived in England my life consisted of: school, working out, seeing friends and food. It was pretty normal. When you move to a different country (especially if you’re going there to work) be prepared to be on other peoples schedules (oh and most like in apartment with neighbours who aren’t too fond of you doing Blogilate videos and making a racquet). 

3) Learn the politest way to say ‘I don’t want anymore thank you’

Germans love guests, the thing they love more than guests, is feeding said guests, so at some points I have eaten food when I was stuffed to bursting point just because I didn’t want to upset anyone. Learn quickly some polite way of saying ‘no thankyou’ otherwise you might end up eating another bowl of pickled fish.

4) Social media is a wonderful place (sometimes)

Wanna go for a coffee or dinner at that new Japanese restaurant but no new friends? Nooo problemo, as long as you remember all your internet safety lessons, Facebook or websites such as ‘Meetup’ are really not bad way to meet some new faces. Usually, they are a good way to organise ‘language tandem groups’ which is really 2 birds with 1 stone really. 

5) You can’t get along with everyone.

You’re going to meet people who are just not your cup of tea, there’s not doubt about it, but the best thing to do is: stop trying. You don’t have to persevere until that one person finally cracks and likes you, just forget about it and find someone else who’s nice (and probably likes pugs and ice cream just as much as you do) .

6) Dont occupy yourself with wondering what people back home are doing. 

It’s not more interesting than what you’re doing, it’s just different.

7) Send Postcards

Fill people’s post boxes with pictures of your travels, you’re mum will be well pleased because it means you’re all alive and well and she can put it on the fridge.

8) Be prepared to eat some weird shit…

Obviously Germany’s not very exotic when it comes to food but still I do see something on a menu and I’m like ‘why the blood ‘ell would somebody eat that’ but yeah, that’s just the variety of life, anyway if you’re heading a bit further afield just be prepared…

9) Do your research

If you are going to live with a ‘host family’ or in any kind of shared accomation then make sure you’re not being a silly monkey, Skype them, email them a lot, get to know about them and make sure your applying to legitimate families or halls of residence (ask your mum to help). Also look online to see what other people have to say if you’re thinking about Au-Pairing or doing a work and travel kind of thing, the Internet is a fruitful place.

Well there we have it, I hope I could try and clear up some puzzling questions but if not I’m sure with a little bit of stumbling and perseverance you’ll get there on your own anyway…

Love Robyn. 


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9 thoughts on “9 things that helped me survive my year abroad…”

  1. Great points! You´re absolutly right about all of´em! Espcially point 3, yes, germans love stuffing you with food and even if you´re so full and say so everyone thinks you´ll lose weight ´cause you´ve eaten too little, so you´ll have to eat more (“You can´t be full, look at what you´ve eaten.. that´s nothing!!”)… 😉
    Oh and I love the 8th point, “be prepared for some weird shit”, amazing! I´m laughing!
    Hope you´re doing great and all the best for surviving all the weirdness (to which you have already gotten used to) of Germany! X

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    1. Haha have you also lived in Germany? Gosh sometimes I go to my boyfriends grandmas and I can’t escape without putting on half a stone 😂 I’m really glad you you liked the post, all is well here and I’m enjoying it very much! Thanks for stopping by!x

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  2. I’m pretty sure that your list, sans-explanation, could be used for a number of things like, “having a kid” or “being a restaurant reviewer” or “popular porn star known for oral antics.”

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  3. Ooer! I would love a brain like that there Pickleope. Did I ever tell you that I’m half-Dutch? No? Well, I’m half-Dutch. They do the same thing food wise. You get in the house and out comes the coffee and cake, then the dinner, then pudding, then (if you’re still there) more delights of all kinds. Makes me fat just thinking of it. I did a Dutch course many years ago, (‘cos my Dutch mum didn’t want the bother of teaching me)! I learned that the best way of learning a new language, (to me anyway) is to think in that language as soon as you are able. (Only when you’re in that country, of course)! Be daft in Wakefield high street to be thinking of the best German phrasing to use in’t butchers! When will your ‘year abroad’ be up then Robyn? Or are you never coming back?

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    1. Lol you who’ve to roll out of the Josue 😂 well I’m at least here for another 2 years but I do fancy popping back to sunny old England at some point, the north of England is a beautiful, miserable place! Haha

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