It feels like it has been a while since I last posted, so thought that I would give you an update of what’s been going on!
First and foremost I have already started counting down the days till I get on that plane and head home for Christmas break! 24 days to go! I am even putting my advent calendar to alternative use in order to count down the days till I leave! Yes, I am 20 years old, and yes I still have an advent calendar. No matter what your age, who could deny a chocolate treat alongside a morning cup of tea!?
Rather bittersweet in a way that time is going so fast, yet I am just longing to get home, chill out and most importantly not have to deal with hearing, speaking or even thinking in German for a couple of weeks. Of course I love it here, yet it is honestly exhausting, being so constantly immersed in a foreign language. When preparing for a year abroad you don’t really consider so much how the language will impact on every aspect of your life, even down to the trivial tasks of reading the cooking instructions of food packets, operating university computers and printers, or even trying to top up your mobile phone. Everything feels like a language lesson and that’s even before you set foot into a university class!
November is quickly coming to an end, and the Christmas spirit has already started to prevail here in Graz, much to my delight! The cold and dark nights have started to draw in, yet this only means one thing, Christmas markets, Glühwein, Lebkuchen and pretty lights aglow all over the city! I have been to Christmas markets before, some in Cologne in Germany and also Prague in the Czech Republic, and they are always ten times more authentic and elaborate than the ones I’ve been to back in the UK, so I have high expectations for the markets here in Graz! Currently we have the main area of markets in Hauptplatz (the main center of town), and a few little markets down the side streets. However more are yet to arrive, so I am eager to see what they have to offer!
Classes have been going okay too, one thing with university is that you do get into a good routine and settle in fairly quickly. Of course there are still the times when I come out of class thinking ‘what just happened?’, but I think I do this even back in England when everything is in English, so nothing new there! My German B2.2 level class is proving a lot harder than the B2.1 intensive course I did in September, but I feel like it is really pushing me to have to put a lot more time into improving. That is one thing to note, that if you were studying or working abroad for your year abroad, I would definitely recommend that you do a language class too, because although you are surrounded in the language everyday, the focus is perhaps more about fluency, whereas a class provides you with the accuracy part too. I think I will definitely be continuing with a language class next semester when classes all change again. It seems strange to think after doing classes this semester then taking exams in January, I will have to change them and choose new classes to attend. This is very different from back at Lancaster when you are more often than not attending a class for the whole academic year, but I really enjoy this freedom of choice and being able to pick different things to study, even things I have never studied before and have no knowledge about.
Recently I also wrote an article for the Third Year Abroad website, all about why I think future year abroad German students should consider Austria for their year abroad! Feel free to check it out here: http://www.thirdyearabroad.com/austria/item/2413-choose-austria-over-germany.html
Thanks for reading! Hopefully will get to do an ‘all things Christmas’ post before I head back home!
– ErasmusExplorer –