One Year Later, A Reflection On My Time In Germany

A year ago today, I wrote my first blog post on my personal blogging site Einstoss Abroad, and began the experience of a lifetime.

I knew then that I wanted to write a post a year later, comparing the reality of what it was like versus what I thought it would be like. So now that I’ve almost completed my abroad experience in Germany, I came up with the idea of taking my first blog post, and dissecting the post — piece by piece — and offering new commentary.

So here we go!

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My German Holiday Experience in Spain

Since returning to Germany from my visit back to the United States in April, I have been busy every week with school. I came back from break on April 10, with my classes starting less than a week later on the 16th. If you have read my earlier blog posts regarding my classes, school has been very stressful for me this semester — but it’s also been an opportunity for growth.

I had not had a break from school since it started, and the stress was actually affecting my health and well being. I decided a vacation away from school for a weekend was what I needed to get myself motivated again.

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What’s it Like Taking Courses in a Foreign Language?

I took it upon myself to learn another language during my academic year abroad. I have been living in Germany for 9 months so far, and my German is progressing every day.

My first semester here in Germany was dedicated to specifically learning the language, and I was able to get my German from A1 level to a B1 level in the time that I have been here. Due to the level of my language progression I was able to transfer to the University of Ulm, where I now take mathematics courses that will help towards graduation.

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A Month in Europe: The Plan

Planning, planning and more planning. It has consumed my life over the past few weeks. Some of it quick, easy, efficient. Most of it long and excruciating.

With the big five week break approaching in April (time UK universities give you after the end of classes, but before exams in May), my classmates and I have been tasked with figuring out what we should do with all of our free time. We have a month in Europe. A month in Europe with the luxury of not having to worry about missing school or work or any real responsibilities.

It’s an opportunity that some people dream of having.

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My Trip to the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa

The weather has been pretty cold in Germany lately, but it was especially cold this week. The temperature dropped below 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) for the whole week. Luckily for me I had a trip planned to visit Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco during the coldest part of this weekend, so I spent my time in 20 degree Celsius weather (68 degrees Fahrenheit) instead.

It was the first time since November that I did not have to wear a jacket to go outside, and man was that refreshing! Not only was the weather fantastic, but also the beaches were outstanding as well. Seeing the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea with beaches almost empty was so relaxing.

If only I brought swim trunks to go swimming in the water!

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Saying Goodbye to Tübingen, Saying Hello to my New Home in Ulm

My time in Germany has just hit the halfway point and I have just completed my first semester abroad — oh how time flies by so fast!

My German has significantly improved since being in Germany; I was an A1 level speaker before leaving the U.S. and am now considered B1 level (that’s a massive jump in just one semester!). Not only that but as of today I have traveled to 15 different countries since leaving the U.S. That’s a great accomplish that I am very proud of!

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Slow Down, Look Around

“In for Amsterdam next weekend?”

Of course.

“Paris the weekend after?”

I’m in!

“Why not Berlin or Barcelona one of these weekends too, they’re really not even that far away, we can do it.”

So down.

And how could I not be? After being stuck (lol) in California for the majority of my life, with a bit of travel to a few different states, and only having once been out of the country to Mexico for a few days, I’m finally here. I’m young, I have money saved up from years of preparing, and I am in a destination hours away from some of the most desired tourist attractions in the world. As someone who has always had a passion for traveling and a strong interest in different cultures, the thought of being able to explore those places that you hear so much about has still yet to cease from engulfing my mind.

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Christmas in Scandinavia, New Year’s in Prague

This year I was not able to go home for the holiday season, and wanted to do something extra special because of it. Therefore, at the last minute, I decided to book an excursion to Scandinavia that included a cruise to four cities: Helsinki, Finland; Saint Petersburg Russia (visa free!); Tallinn, Estonia; and Stockholm Sweden. This was a student trip led by an organization in Germany, so I got a steal for what I did!

I also went to Prague for New Year’s to visit a few SDSU friends who were also studying abroad. What an experience to celebrate New Year’s in the second most popular European city to visit for the occasion.

Below are a bunch of pictures from my travels, as well as descriptions to give you a little bit of background.

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Weihnachtsmärkte in Deutschland (Christmas Markets in Germany)

My first actual winter, what a cool experience! (see what I did there? 😉 )

Christmas is just around the corner and it is getting cold here with snow falling pretty often. But throughout the country of Germany, there are many towns that host a Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt). They are unlike anything I’ve seen in the U.S.

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