(Ger)many memories…23 January 2018
Hallo von Dortmund! Ich bin Roz und ich studiere Französisch und Deutsch in Cardiff. Dieses Jahr ist sehr aufregend, weil ich neun Monate im Ausland verbringen muss. Ich würde mich freuen, wenn ihr meinem Abenteuer folgt. Ihr werdet vielleicht auch dazu inspiriert, mit Sprachen weiterzumachen.
My first blog is all about “mich” and “die Beziehungen” (relationships) I have made since being in Dortmund.
Of course I was looking forward to living in Germany, but I arrived with no “history”, no friends, knowing no one. This makes life difficult because you are anxious to settle down and make the most of things, but the only way is to throw yourself into it and be a little bit patient.
My first experience of “echt” German people was on the plane to Düsseldorf, where I was placed on a row of German businessmen. Despite boasting strong German accents, they were, contrary to the stereotype, “nicht typisch“… not a Lederhosen in sight! My first conversation “auf Deutsch” was a success: 30mins about why I had a rucksack full of Cadburys chocolate and the history of George Cadbury (I live in Bournville and taking it was a must). Talk about being thrown in at the deep end!
Arriving in Cologne to a group of 120 British Council Assistants, all destined to work in schools across Nordrhein Westfalen, was a bit like “survival of the fittest.” However, you naturally gravitate towards similar types of people and although I was overwhelmed at first, 10 firm friendships grew, with people from Northern England, Scotland and even a New Zealander. Wir wohnen alle in Dortmund, deshalb machen wir viel zusammen und lachen immer. Wir sind alle sehr unternehmungslustig und wir haben Städte wie Berlin, Hamburg und Düsseldorf besucht. Fußball ist in Dortmund sehr beliebt und wir hatten viel Glück, denn unser Freund Kai arbeitet im Fußballstadion und konnte uns Karten für ein BVB-Spiel (Dortmund-Manschaft) gegen Bayern besorgen. Das war echt klasse! Zuletzt sind wir zum “Karneval” in Köln gefahren.
The most important relationship I have had to form since being in Germany, is that at my work place. I work as an English assistant in a “Realschule” and have about 8 different classes, aged from 10-16. When asked my first impression of working at a Realschule, my thoughts were, “diese Kinder sind ein bisschen wie Affen (monkeys).” I was hit by the sheer difference in education/behaviour/ uniform than what we’re used to in England. Now I realise just how endearing children are and how rewarding it is to explain something in another language, and for them to understand. I am quite a phenomenon; walking down the corridors between lessons, I am greeted with atleast 4 “Halooooo Frau Farrrrr”, “Guten Morgennnn Frau Farr”, “Schönes Wochenende Frau Farr.” I don’t mind because “Frau Farr” has quite a ring to it. Equally important was forming a good relationship with the staff. After sharing some of my limited supplies of Cadbury Dairy Milk bars, I’d say I was integrated. These are probably the most different, but rewarding, relationships ever.
The most appealing aspect of doing a Year Abroad, is the chance to be totally immersed in the target language, through meeting natives. Meine Mitbewohnerin, Ina, kommt aus Paderborn, daher können wir oft deutsch miteinander sprechen. Ich bin dem Dortmunder Universitätsorchester beigetreten, wo alles deutsch ist, sogar die Musiknoten! Hockey in Deutsch ist auch sehr interessant, fast genauso interessant wie meine Freundin mit blauen Haaren! Yes, it’s true, German people can come across quite “streng”, as I learnt when trying to “anmeldung.” (register) I misunderstood something and the receptionist made me cry- it was 6am. On the plus side, when I broke the waffle machine at a hotel in Düsseldorf, the waitress was sooo understanding! Think we put it down to “English incompetence.”
My time in Germany has given me a new level of independence. Having the support of many friends has given me the confidence to throw myself at every opportunity. However, everyone experiences times of loneliness, it’s natural. I have 3 dogs at home who are going months without pats from me, and I remember this! There has to be time without being surrounded by people. But “alone times” are the perfect occasions to explore. This is where “Roz Adventures” were created. Who would have known that not only is the German Language and Culture amazing, but the countryside, too? A particular favourite was my solo trip to Zurich in Switzerland. There, I decided to climb a mountain.
It’s a common belief that “your year abroad is the best year of your life.” Thanks to the people I have met, the relationships I have made and the range of experiences I have enjoyed, I can confirm that, so far, it is the absolute “Zeit meines Lebens!”
Bis zum nächsten Mal… 🙂
Here are some nice words that I have picked up over the past few months. You may be able to use them when talking about self and relationships in German, too!
- unverantwortlich- irresponsible
- Erwartung- expectation
- reif- mature
- abenture- adventure
- umwandlung- transformation
- unterschied- difference
- zufrieden- satisfied
- neugierig- curious
- erzählen- to tell
- ziel- target
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