Henry – Semester Exchange to University of Heidelberg, Germany
Semester 1, 2016
After a couple of weeks travelling through the typical European tourist destinations of Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Copenhagen, I have finally arrived in Heidelberg, eager to start my semester abroad. Whilst those cities were all fantastic by their own right, Heidelberg is something completely different.
I arrived completely alone, but have quickly learnt that ERASMUS (European student exchange network) events are just as welcoming of non-Euro students and have made plenty of friends from all over the world.
In spite of my non-existent German skills I’ve managed to survive my first week without any serious troubles; the vast majority of young locals her speak conversational English, and there are plenty of other native English-speaking international students in the same position as me. Having said this, I’m still adjusting to various quirks, such as cars driving on the right side of the road, public toilets costing money, not being able to ask for tap water, and just general bouts of stereotypical German bureaucracy.
Whilst I am yet to officially start my semester, I’ve spent the majority of my time in a full time preparatory language course. It is amazing how much quicker I’ve been picking it up compared to back home – I feel like I’ve learnt more in my first week of studying German here than the whole 2 months I spent studying it in Melbourne. Being taught through a university and being almost constantly immersed in the language really makes all the difference.
Meanwhile I look forward to travelling to Munich this week for the opening weekend of Oktoberfest.
Although I’ve only spent a couple of weeks in this country I feel like it has provided me with so much, and given that I still have at least another 5 months ahead of me I’m sure there is plenty more to come.