Settling In

Hello all!

I’ve now been here a little over two weeks, and I can honestly say things have gotten SO significantly better. I ended up getting over that awful homesickness faster than I predicted (although I’m still missing people like crazy) and I’m already feeling like I’ve gotten into the swing of things. However, I am probably as far as I can be from getting into a normal routine. Although I’ve started school (eh), everyday presents new lessons and challenges that always manage to surprise me. But that’t not a bad thing! I wake up every morning excited to see what the day has in store for me, and it never fails to provide the busiest of times.

So a little bit about school: It feels surprisingly similar to school back in Lakewood, but it does have its major differences. For instance, there are 9 (yes nine!) different buildings that I had to figure out how to navigate, and I still manage to get lost sometimes. But everyone is so so nice and helpful and it’s not hard to communicate with anybody. My school also consists of grades 5-12, but only has about 900 students total which is relatively tiny compared to Lakewood. Also, a good portion of the students, including me, get to school by biking which I like a lot but when I tell them that a lot of us get to school by driving ourselves back home, they all drop their mouths which is always fun 🙂 But it’s still school and this year I *literally* don’t understand anything, so we’ll just have to wait and see how that goes.

One thing that is notably better in Germany than in America is the food. It’s fantastic. Seriously, Americans under appreciate bread so much. The basic German plate of food for every meal of the day consists of bread, bread with other things on it, and warm bread. And it’s always delicious, I could not be happier to eat all the bread that they give me (which is a lot!). Everything here tastes better. The chocolate, the coffee, the lasagna… I’m finally understanding why it’s typical for an exchange student to gain weight! Another aspect that I immediately fell in love with in Germany are the gorgeous city streets. Of course everyone has this image in their head of a “typical beautiful European city” and I can honestly say that Lippstadt has made my daydreams a reality. All the brick and cobblestone roads, and old German buildings make me so happy. The other night we were walking through it in the dark and Lippstadt all lit up is even more breathtaking. The people who live here don’t seem to think to much of it, but coming from America, I can’t help but be wonder struck every time I walk through the city streets.

Speaking of exploring cities, my first tour is coming up this weekend, where about 60 or 70 exchange students from all over the world meet in the city of Hagen and explore the city together! I’m super excited because these are the types of weekends that exchange students live for and meeting all those people from all over the world all in one place is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Although I’m desperately hoping that I’ll still be able to go because I guess I came down with something this morning 😦 I’m hoping it’s one of those 24 hour viruses but who knows.. Hopefully my immune system will be rooting for me tonight! For now, I need to get some rest : )




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Hallo from Deustchland!

So I arrived here yesterday, and it has been SO overwhelming. My host family could not be nicer which is so good but I’m still very homesick. I miss everybody so much and everything here is different. Even listening to songs I listened to in America is hard because they sound different.
On a better note it seems like my german is already improving! I still don’t understand most things but a few words here and there does help. Most of the time my sentences are half german and half English and I think it’s pretty confusing for anyone trying to talk to me.
Today my host mom Marion and my host sister Evelyn took me on a bike ride through the city (the bikes are so different too!). It was so beautiful! I posted some pictures on Facebook, but they didn’t really seem to capture how cool it is here. Later we went to the “Supermarkt” and they let me help them pick out foods that I like, which was so nice.
Right now it’s still pretty hard and I get sad easily but hopefully soon I’ll be able to catch up on sleep and become more accustomed to life over here. I miss everyone so much, and thank you all for all the support you’ve given me 🙂 Bis später!

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Why not?

Fernweh is a German word that means “an ache for distance” or “a desire to travel”. This word couldn’t be more appropriate for describing what inspired me to sign up for this exchange year. So many people have asked me “why?”, and I always think to myself, why not?

Why not apply for foreign exchange?   Fernweh is something that I can relate to (something that I think everybody can relate to in some way), and has obviously had a big impact on my life. I’ve never even been out of the country, and I’ve only been on a plane once in my life that I can remember. This is a huge, and honestly terrifying leap for me, but I’ve never been so excited in my life. I feel entirely clueless, so I can’t even imagine how hopeless I’ll feel at times over there. But that’s the reason I’m doing exchange: so I can experience all the things that I have yet to understand and so I can meet all the wonderful people who will help me along the way.

As I prepare to leave in 4 days, feeling terrified, exhilarated, low-spirited, anxious, ecstatic and just about everything in between, I’m keeping in mind that no matter what this year turns out to be, it will be the best learning experience that my life has to offer yet. So why not?

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