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…