Thursday, 24 September 2015

Year Abroad - 6 weeks in

So I thought I'd write another update now since I've started my classes at university and have had a couple of fun weekends, and share what I've been up to so far!

Year Abroad blog

So my new favourite thing, other than Fleischkäse (which isn't actually 'meat cheese' as it translates), is the Wurstmarkt (which also isn't a sausage market - C'mon Germans, play nice to the non-natives.) Anyway, Wurstmarkt is the biggest wine festival in the world and not far from Mannheim in Bad Dürkheim. So naturally, I went twice. I mean, what's not to love about a fair and a giant ferris wheel, pint glasses of wine, and tents and music akin to Oktoberfest. It's great fun and felt a very 'German' thing, something like this just wouldn't work in the UK, and I love Germany for that. 
Year Abroad blog
What else have I been up to other than drinking copious amounts of Weinschorle? Well, I've been to a Stammtisch which is great event for meeting people. I've been to Ludwigshafen for a game of bowling. I've also been to the Schlossfest at the university, basically a night of entertainment and stalls and cultural things at the castle that is my uni, with a party afterwards - unfortunately I had a really bad head cold and couldn't face a club so didn't quite make it until the end of the night. 

One of my favourite things I've done so far is visiting a German fraternity with my flatmate. It was a brilliant experience, and in a way what I imagined a year abroad being about. A German fraternity is not dissimilar to an American one where all the guys live in the same house, however a German one is much more traditional. The night I went they were raising the flag to celebrate the start of the new term. We held a candle, stood in a circle and sung a song. And afterwards there was ample amounts of alcohol and Fleischkäse, which, for the record, is delicious. Being British, the German guys had a million questions about what it's like living in Britain and us Britons, some of which amused me. My favourite comment was "why are the British so care free, they don't care about crossing the road when the light is red".  I also taught them some classic drinking games, 'never have i ever' being the most popular. 

Year Abroad blog

I also went to an internationals party with a new friend and her friend and met a whole load of people. Mannheim is ridiculously international, in our group there was someone from Australia, America, Chile, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Norway, Germany of course, and a fellow Englander. That was a rather spontaneous night out, but those are the best ones right?! It's amazing meeting so many people from all over the world.

So yeah, Germany is fun. But what I'm actually here for right, *cough* university *cough*, that's been good too. I really, really like my Practical Marketing course, and my other classes are good too. I've actually already completed 2 courses. They were intensive seminars, so 2 x 4 hour classes each, which means I've had a busy couple of weeks (my first day of classes was 7.5 hours long!) but now I have less classes so I can hopefully get some travelling in! This weekend I'm heading to Bonn and Cologne, so expect to see some pictures from there soon...

Bis bald!

Hannah Lane

P.S If you fancy seeing some more snaps, check out my instagram! @hannahemilylane

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

My 5 favourite AW15 must-have trends

Hannah Lane
I think I'm spending more time on fashion blogs and browsing shops online and pinning away because I know I can't buy all these gorgeous new autumn clothes as I won't be able to bring them back home. Yep, living out of 1 suitcase is challenging. Have I said that already?

Anyway, these are my favourite trends for the coming season, and the ones I wish I could spend all of my erasmus grant on...

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Year Abroad - 3 weeks in

Ok firstly, HOW has it already been over 3 weeks since I arrived? It genuinely feels like I got here only last weekend. This year is going to go SO quickly. 
Year Abroad blog
I still haven't actually started at university yet, my lecture period began yesterday but I don't yet have any classes scheduled until next week. I have had a few introductory lectures though and my first impressions of the university are really positive. The president of the university himself, Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, seems brilliant, and it was lovely to hear him give a small shoutout to the 6 Syrian refugees who are studying at the university this year. 

Besides attending welcome sessions and tours, I've been up to a few other things. Okay, I feel like I've spent most of my time watching Netflix (in German!) and mooching around my flat, but I have seen a little bit more of my corner of Germany and met up with quite a few people.

I travelled back to Frankfurt to surprise Tom and go shopping because well, Primark. I thought I could cope with 1 suitcase and a minimalist wardrobe - it's a challenge. I'm still undecided as to what I think about Frankfurt as a city. It seems a bit less friendly, and people seem to be more like typical Londerners than typical Germans. But I've not spent much more than a couple of days there and have only seen a few small areas so hopefully when I see more of it, it will grow on me (as I'll be living there after Christmas!)
Year Abroad blog

Mannheim on the other hand I am still quite fond of. I took a (less than 10 minute) walk to the 'Neckarstrand', a small beach area with a bar on the Neckar river. It was a really hot day (over 30 degrees) when we went so it was great, almost like being on holiday! Hello cocktails and sun beds and warmth. Just also a river instead of the sea and a few blocks of flat the other side of the river, but hey, it's still nice having that almost on your doorstep. There's also a really beautiful area behind the Wassertürm with fountains and wisteria trellis... so pretty. 

I also went on a day trip with friends to Heidelberg. Temperatures reached 35 degrees and above that day so we spent most of it in and out of pubs and shaded beer gardens just to cool down, but I will definitely be taking another trip back (as I can get there for free with my Semesterticket - thanks Mannheim Uni!) to explore some further and take many more pictures. It's such a picturesque and charming German town, lots of old buildings and beautiful views of the castle and hills surrounding the city. 

Last weekend I went to my first Universität Mannheim party - the welcome party. A friend joined us in Mannheim who's living in Heidelberg and Tom from Frankfurt, and we met with my 'buddy' (the uni offers a mentoring scheme between Germans and internationals) and his friends for pre drinks and then we headed to the castle to party. It was a really fun night and I met so many great people from all over the world. 

So yeah, so far so good. I've only felt a little bit homesick but I think I've settled in pretty well. My flatmate also arrived a couple of weeks ago, and she's super nice and helpful. Having a German on your side who knows the ins and outs of Mannheim and the university and job applications forms and contracts is a godsend. For you future year abroaders, live with natives, seriously. It's also really good for your language, I already think my German is improving. I'm now just really looking forward to starting my courses so I can meet more people and have more to do during the week, and also you know, learn :P. 

Bis bald! 

Hannah Lane

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

40 thoughts everyone has before their Year Abroad

I'm pretty sure we all have more than 40 - heading off on a year abroad is such a whirlwind of emotions! For all you readers who have a year abroad to come, these are thoughts that will more than likely go through your mind, and for us current third year abroad students, I'm sure you will all relate!

Year Abroad blog

1. Living in another country for a year? SUCH FUN
2. Omg all these new pretty places
3. I want to go everyyyyywhereeee
4. I'm going to learn so much of this language
5. I'm going to experience so much
6. And make so many friends
7. Such fun
8. Why do I have to fill in so many forms
9. Another form?
10. What's this form even for?
11. Everyone's going back to uni, they will have graduated when I get back
12. Such FOMO
13. I'm going to miss my uni
14. I'm going to miss my home
15. And my dog
16. Maybe my little sister, maybe
17. And omg *insert typical english food*, how will I cope without it
18. Why am I doing this
19. Who said learning a language would be fun
20. Should I take my onesie?
22. Mummy don't make me go
23. Right. I'll drop out of my degree. At least working as a customer assistant isn't scary
24. How on earth is everything going to fit in this suitcase
25. Did I renew my passport?
26. Have I filled in the 198392th form uni wanted?
28. Student loan early though, sweet
29. Maybe this will be ok
30. Right?
31. I can so do this
32. This WILL be fun
33. Currywurst? Yes pls
35. Ok changed my mind, take me home
36. SO MANY emotions
37. Did I pack socks?
38. I wonder what my flat is like
39. This is a little exciting

Hannah Lane