I haven’t written a year abroad update in what seems like forever, so this post is a little overdue. You can read all my older updates here, in case you missed them!
I don’t know how many times I say this, but my year abroad has absolutely flown by. It’s got to the point where I’m not saying how long I’ve been here but how many months I have left - which is only 2!! It’s just gone so quick and all I keep thinking is ‘have I made the most of this?’.
In case you haven’t read my previous posts and want a quick update on what I’m doing on my year abroad, I studied for one semester in Mannheim University, then moved in with Tom in Frankfurt at Christmas to start a work placement at a marketing company.
Here's what's been going on since my last update:
This isn’t the first time I’ve worked full time or a 9-5 job, I’m sure it won’t be the last either, but it does take a bit of adjusting too. For the first time in my life, I’ve started relying on a coffee every morning, I didn’t even drink coffee when I was getting up at 5:30am for my shifts in M&S. The first few weeks of work were so tiring. It was mentally exhausting, but also the early mornings, long commute, and the fact it was dark when I left and when I got back took its toll on me a little bit. I’m definitely handling it all much better now.
I really, really enjoy my job. I work with such a fantastic team and I find everything super interesting, so I’m pretty happy when it comes to that. There’s some awesome projects going on which I’m getting more and more involved with and I’m building up some really good friendships. My German should be improving too seeing as everything, all my work and the office language, is in German. Now I’ve only got 2 months left I’m going to start pushing myself as much as I can because I want to make the most of it!
Trip to Wiesbaden and Mainz
Over Easter, Tom and I were pretty gutted not to be going home as it seemed like every other person on their year abroad was! The weather was mostly pretty awful too, but we had a really sunny day on the Saturday so we headed to Mainz. We’ve been there a couple of times but just for dinner and not really seen too much of it. I can confirm that if you’re ever stuck for something to do in Frankfurt, it makes a great day trip!
There was a big market going on when we were there and so many people around - it was lovely to walk around in different surroundings and explore. We sat by the river for a while, walked around the markets, found all the statues and landmarks, found a shop that sells Rifle Paper Co. :o (I will be revisiting once student loan comes) and grabbed lunch, then headed to Wiesbaden.
We weren’t in Wiesbaden too long, but from what I saw, it looks beautiful. There was some really pretty buildings and the high street was full of good shops. Another great day trip from Frankfurt, should you ever find yourself there with nothing to do.
I love wandering around new places with no particular purpose, just taking it in and appreciating it all. It works great for combatting homesickness and I love seeing everything Germany has to offer.
Warwick uni has what they call an Easter vacation school, where all students studying German for their degree all meet up for a few days. The German department picks such a gorgeous location for this (even if it is in the middle of nowhere) - Schloss Dhaun.
While we are all there, we have discussion sessions to talk about our experiences on the year abroad, as well as current affairs in Germany, a piece of text by Kafka, a film and a translation session, as well as meetings with our personal tutor, a careers advisor and a general careers talk. I think we were all thinking *ughh, work* when we arrived, but it’s been so so helpful. I’ve actually really enjoyed doing some university work again and it’s such great preparation for final year.
As well as that, we went on a long walk in the countryside and ended up in the bar ever night. It was really so great to see everyone again! We all had so much catching up to do and it’s so great hearing how everyone is getting on on their year abroads. I’m really looking forward to going back to Warwick now, even though we are all very aware now of how much work we will be doing. The library will basically be my second home.
Making the most of it
I have 2 months left. 2. Have I mentioned that? But I know how bloody quick that’s going to go, as the whole year abroad has gone so quick. Saying that, my whole degree has flown by in the blink of an eye. Wasn’t I a fresher just last week? I remember as clear as day being told on the Open Day about how Warwick rents out a castle for the year abroaders and now that’s been and gone???
Schloss Dhaun was the break I didn’t know I needed. I’d got stuck in a routine with work and the time had just been going past without me noticing, and I’d become a bit (the only word I can think to describe it as) blinkered. But talking about our experiences, hearing everyone else’s good and bad times, seeing what I need to do for final year - I feel like I’ve come back from the trip with a fresh perspective and more motivation.
In terms of my language, my German IS improving, but I still lack the confidence which is holding me back from becoming more fluent. I’m going to really push myself to talk more at work, say something even if I’m not sure it’s right, put Netflix back into German again and finish reading Harry Potter (auf Deutsch). I need to make the most of being surrounded by German.
When I count how many weekends left I have in Germany, that’s even more scary, and I refuse to waste a single one of them. My mum is visiting for the weekend this week, and a couple of friends and I are planning a weekend trip to Freiburg and hopefully my friends from home are coming in June too. I really want to visit Koblenz again soon and tick a couple more things off my year abroad bucketlist as well.
I hope you enjoyed my year abroad update (sorry it’s been a while! I won’t leave it as long again I promise).