Two months into German living and how am I feeling? Outsider-ish. If that’s even a word. Let me explain…
Living in another country with your family is one thing but going it totally alone I have found is quite another. I like to think of myself as an independent; I’ve been away for months at a time completely alone before for language schools/courses/trips etc. and it hardly bothered me at all. However, this time. This time, it all seems to be different and I really was not prepared for that.
Everyone always asks me what my expectations were heading out here, perhaps assuming that has a big part to play in how I’m currently feeling. Although, if I’m honest I didn’t really give it too much consideration. I wanted to be able to head out here, with as few preconceived ideas as possible so that my integration would be easier. Besides knowing that I would be living with a family where I’d be working on the outskirts of Frankfurt I really couldn’t’ve told you much more. Yet, it was still much trickier to settle into than my previous travels.
Here’s why it’s different:
- It’s a much longer period of time. It’s not just over in a month and b.o.o.m i’m back in the comfort of my own home. It’s almost a whole year.
- The boyfriend. I do think that plays a gigantic part in missing home and has naturally changed the dynamics of our relationship.
- My own space. No matter where I am it doesn’t feel like home. I’m basically a long-term guest and I can’t seem to get comfortable with it.
- Mannerisms. Despite my hardest efforts, my mannerisms will always be English. This tends to stick out like a sore thumb a whole lot more when you’re trying to integrate yourself into a new culture/society. I definitely say ‘thank you’ and apologise far too often for the Germans.
- The little cultural quirks seem to become far more prominent when you’re spending a longer period of time here. Even silly things such as not being able to pay by card, or smoking in pubs.
It’s not all bad. I really didn’t want this post to be a completely groany, negative post, however, I do think it’s important to give an honest account of how it’s all going… because it’s not all sunshine and flowers. It’s actually proven to be pretty tricky. I often think back to the many year abroad meetings we had in preparation for this and can only recall how positive everyone was about this year and how they considered it to be the best year of their uni degree. Which I’m sure for many it was, but I wouldn’t hesitate to also say that many of these same people (if not all) also probably struggled in some way or another during their time away.
I agree with these positive bees that the year abroad is an a.m.a.z.i.n.g opportunity (which sadly future students may or may not be able to partake in due to Brexit shenanigans) HOWEVER it is also not by any account an easy transition to make. Especially just for a short period of time. I guess it’s difficult to feel settled which adds to the sense of adventure but can also seem oh so daunting. As at the end of the day everything is blooming foreign if nothing else.