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The connections and friends I’ve made will endure and it is that which will keep the memory alive

Post written by Katharine Hughes. Reading over my previous entries for this blog, it’s hard to believe I was writing about my first impressions only six months ago. I’m now down to my last two weeks here in France and I can’t believe it’s nearly over. With the departure of our German assistant yesterday, I …

Challenges of making connections in Cuba

Posted by Lucy Kirkup. Cubans are known for their open and friendly nature along with their zest for life. Despite this stereotype I have found it considerably harder making connections with the locals here than I did in Germany. Obvious reasons for this are the difficult Cuban accent, which I still struggle with, and the …

Get stuck in as much as you can

I think I was one of many who was initially worried that my Year Abroad could be quite lonely. The truth of the matter is that it can be, but it’s up to you to be proactive and get involved in as many things as possible.  This not only allows you to practise language skills, …

Witnessing a cultural challenge for the Germans themselves

Before arriving in Germany I had already been prepped about the directness of most Germans. Having spent over six months in Germany now, this expectation hasn’t failed. From colleagues in the office loudly expressing their discontent over various things with the phrase ‘das ist blöd!’ (that is stupid), to the ferocious speed that cashiers will …

Adjusting to life as Hamburgers

Hamburg is a cosmopolitan city and holds its own in terms of diversity. People from all backgrounds settle here and seem to have few problems adjusting to life as Hamburgers (yes, Hamburgers!). It’s hard to write this while remaining tactful, not to mention politically correct, but if I’m going to write about cultural challenges then …

You’re learning without necessarily studying

Post written by Lucy Kirkup. When arriving in a new country for a period abroad, language acquisition is something that plays heavily on your mind. Using your language in a real-life situation is worlds away from learning grammar points in the classroom. The year abroad is one of, if not the most exciting part of …

Don’t be afraid to make a mistake

I think that one of the main challenges of the Year Abroad for all students is to ensure that they get enough exposure and practise of the target language. Within my first few weeks of being in Germany I realised that this could be a potential problem for me. In the work environment, where I …

The more you refuse to use anglicised words, the more foreign you will sound

Post written by Charlotte Barnard. I knew that working as an English language assistant wouldn’t necessarily equal the best possible chances of improving my German on a day to day basis. After all, with ‘English’ in the job title, what more can you expect? It’s because of this that I’ve been trying to involve myself …

A rapidly expanding vocabulary list

Although I wanted to experience as much culture as possible and meet new people, my main goal going into my year abroad was to improve my linguistic skills in both German and Spanish. Even though being in Germany and being surrounded by native speakers would obviously immerse me in the language and would naturally improve …

Just learn Deutsch: my number one priority

Just Learn Deutsch: it resonates like my second mantra. From the moment I step off the train in West Bahnhof, it becomes my number one priority. Exit the parties and all the decadent fun – I am here on a mission. Lucky me, German is everywhere, and I have no way to escape it. So …