I thought a fun way to sum up my year abroad would be to show some pictures. I have taken SO many photos since I started my year abroad so this was a really difficult task haha. There's soooo many more I wanted to include, but I ended up just picking my favourites. Hopefully one day I'll have some time to sit down and make a scrapbook but I don't see that happening anytime soon with final year coming up, so this is the next best thing...
I'm so sad my year abroad has come to an end, even though I am currently travelling around Europe, it's such an experience to actually be living in a different country and I have grown to love Germany. It'll always be a special place to me now, and if the UK goes tits up because of Brexit, then hopefully they'll accept me back!
My first photo had to be the first photo taken that marks the start of my year abroad. This was taken on the day we flew from Heathrow to Frankfurt Airport, at about 5:30am. I was really nervous, but excited too. This feels so long ago now.
My university, formerly a palace. Universität Mannheim was where I spent the first few months of my year abroad. It's an absolutely stunning building, inside as well, and though the rest of Mannheim can look a bit questionable (it was flattened in the war unfortunately), the university looks over the rest of the Quadrat adding some beauty to the city. I made a lot of amazing friends here and had some brilliant nights out in the Katakomben and of course, some interesting lectures as well!
I had SO much fun at the Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim which is essentially a wine festival. Picture Oktoberfest but with wine. And this was great for me seeing as wine > beer. I went twice and it was brilliant, there was a fair with lots of rides and a giant ferris wheel, SO MANY food stalls and lots of tents with long tables and benches and a constant supply of almost pint glasses of wine.
This picture is probably my favourite from a photography point of view, taken in Cologne. Tom and I went for a long weekend to Bonn, Cologne and Königswinter to celebrate 1 year of being together and I had such a lovely time exploring these German cities. This view was absolutely incredible too. You can read about that trip here.
Another one of my weekends away with Tom, this time in Strasbourg, France. This isn't very far from Mannheim and my Nanny (hi if you're reading this!) recommended it to us. I'm so glad we went as it was such a lovely city. A more detailed post here.
This was one of my favourite nights of my year abroad. I met Chloe, the girl to my right, in a lecture beforehand and we decided to go for a drink afterwards. This soon turned into a spontaneous night out despite me having a load of work to do for the next day but I met so many awesome people that night from literally all over the world and I'm just so so so glad I agreed to go and didn't chicken out like I might've done not that long ago, as I'm in still in touch with all of these lovely people.
I couldn't pick just one photo from our trip to Schwarzwald (The Black Forest). It was the most picturesque place I have ever seen. When we arrived on the Thursday night there was no snow and it rained absolutely non-stop on the Friday, but it turned to snow Friday night and I woke up to an absolutely beautiful scene. We stayed in the hills in a ski lodge and the views from the mountains were absolutely incredible. We visited Triberg on our way home which was equally stunning.
Frankfurt's skyline at sunset was absolutely stunning. I loved walking down from one of my tube stops after work to the River Main to see the sun setting and the skyscrapers and lots of people sitting along the river or going for an evening run. It was so lovely.
Schloss Neuschwanstein had been on my bucket list for probably as long as I've been studying German. It's the castle the Disney castle was based off and I'm so happy I got to see it in real life. It was absolutely stunning despite the grey weather and really quite magical. You can read my post on visiting here.
This wasn't one of the things on my bucket list, but I'm so glad I went. The same weekend as visiting Schloss Neuschwanstein, we stayed with friends in Munich and headed to watch TSV 1860 München (the other football team in Munich) to play a game at the Allianz Arena. Things I learned: Germans are passionate about football, German fans have a lot of chants, football pitches aren't as big as they look on TV and beer is still cheap at football games.
Another one of Frankfurt's skylines, taken from the top of a cathedral. I went up the top a few times and I will miss this view a lot! I love the mountains in the background and the mix of old buildings with shiny new skyscrapers.
I started playing Polo in my second year of university and I absolutely love the sport. It's almost as fun watching it as it as playing and when Tom saw a poster for the Bucherer Cup in Frankfurt, I nearly peed myself in excitement. I had such a fab afternoon watching chukkas and beautiful ponies in the sun.
Summer in Germany is so lovely. It seems that cities really come to life and people flock to the parks for picnics and meetups and BBQs and runs and sports and I love that. We had a few picnics and BBQs and I love the German's attitude to life. Because so many people live in flats and lack gardens, the parks in cities are such a little community and they're always buzzing. I wish I could have spent more of the summer months there.
I had such a lovely trip to Freiburg with friends and it's such a beautiful city. There was a lovely atmosphere and the weather was amazing for us despite heavy rain and storm warnings predicted (I actually ended up getting very burnt in near 30 degrees weather haha). Great company, delicious brunches, lots of wine and cocktails, sunshine, and picturesque views = a perfect weekend. You can read my post on the trip here.
On my last full day in Germany, we went to see Coldplay in Hamburg on their tour. This was such a special end to our year abroad and I'm so glad I finallllyyy got to see them live! It was such an amazing show and I wish I could see them again!
I wish I could do my whole year abroad again! I've had a lot of fun. I hope you enjoyed looking at my photos, there was quite a lot but it was so hard to narrow it down to just these few!!