Yesterday, I got up hideously early to catch a one-way flight to Deutschland. And here I am, a day later, sitting in my new flat, about to fill you all in.
As you may or may not know, I study a joint honours degree - German and Business. As I'm now in my third year (how did that happen! feels like only yesterday I was waiting for UCAS Track to update...), I am on my YEAR ABROAD. Now I've known ever since I decided I wanted to study German (circa 3 years ago) that this day was coming, but it still doesn't feel real. It didn't feel real packing, it didn't feel real at the airport, it didn't feel real moving into my flat. It feels like, yeah i'm staying in Germany, but I'm going home in 2 weeks-a month right? Nope.
ANYWAY. In the run up to leaving, I loved reading other people's year abroad blogs and posts, so I'm hoping you guys might enjoy these too as well as me being able to keep a record on the year, and I'll try make them at least a little bit useful too.
So. Thursday morning consisted of much packing. I took 1 checked suitcase in the hold as well as a small suitcase as hand luggage and my gorgeous Kate Spade bag as my second hand luggage bag (perks of BA). I also left a suitcase of things at home that I will either get sent out or my mum will bring if/when she come visits, but by not taking it with me, it allows my family to add any stuff I've forgotten or realise I need before sending it.
After a celebratory brunch with my family, as my brother got into Loughborough uni, I headed down to Surrey to Tom's house. He conveniently lives 10 mins from Heathrow airport which meant a slightly less early start for our 7:10 flight the next day. Friday morning. After many goodbyes and hugs and the odd tear, we headed for security (which was a nightmare) and then the departure lounge. I'd just like to add here, that doing this with a friend/boyfriend = so much easier. I am so grateful that Tom is doing a year abroad as well and is living in Frankfurt which isn't too far. So grateful.
When we landed in Frankfurt, our first challenge was to find Tom's flat. Which meant getting a bus, a train, and a taxi. We were so relieved when we found it, and it was just like expected.
TIP. We both found our accommodation through WG-Gesucht, which is what most people use. The majority of adverts suggest you should visit in person so you can meet them and see the flat, however that obviously wasn't very feasible. So if, when looking, you see something suitable, it's worth suggesting a Skype interview - we found most are OK with doing this. Also send out lots of emails as many don't even reply D:
We had a walk around his area and grabbed some lunch, before heading back to his to pick up my luggage and to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof. Then the train to Mannheim. My flatmate picked us up from Mannheim station and we got the tram to my flat. She also recommended a place for the best Dönerkebab in Mannheim which conveniently happens to be opposite of the entrance to my flat - so you can guess what my first dinner consisted of.
Note. When I say flatmate, she technically isn't. My actual flatmate is on holiday in America, and so the girl who picked us up is actually the one who's room I'm moving into. Hence, I am all by myself in my flat until my flatmate returns, but Tom's staying with me for the first couple of nights to help me settle in :) (note: still sooo grateful)
So that's kinda the start to my year abroad. Today (Saturday) consisted of unpacking, food shopping, and exploring. My first impressions of Mannheim are positive, it seems a lively city with everything you could need in walking distance and the university looks incredible!
As much as I'm still nervous and missing England a tiny bit, I can't wait to see what this year has to offer!
P.S I will post a flat tour in the next couple of days, for those who might be interested, and maybe a post on what I packed/tips. :)
P.P.S If anyone is about to start their year abroad, or previously did one in Germany, get in touch! :D