Thursday, February 27, 2014

Test #2 and Only a Month Left in Germany

We've officially completed our second final of the course, which means we officially only have a month left in Germany. It's kind of crazy to think of how fast this time has gone by. In the beginning I felt like it was going to last forever, but now I see that time is flying by. As far as actually learning German while I've been here, that has been a success. The tests aren't too hard and the professor is really awesome, so paying attention in class and understanding what is happening is pretty easy. He will only speak in German, but it really helps with picking up the language. It's strange how much can change in the span of a few months. On the first day of class I was so intimidated and I second guessed my decision of participating in this program. Now, I can pick up on what most Germans are saying and I can communicate fairly easily. I'm glad I didn't follow my instinct on the first day and fly back to the states. Culture shock can be killer the first bit you're in a foreign country, but if you just push through it everything turns out okay.

Now the next stage of culture shock is about to happen, the culture shock of returning home. The prospect of returning home, while welcoming, is more intimidating than how I felt when I left for Germany. I am excited to get home and being back in the comfort of my family, but it's going to be strange to re-acclimate. While you are studying abroad you kind of forget that others lives keep going and things keep happening even when you aren't around. Your best friends will have inside jokes that you don't understand, some people will have changed in little ways and things won't be exactly like the way they were before you left. While leaving for a foreign country you are prepared to be thrown out of your comfort zone, in most cases, that is why you chose to travel abroad. But we seem to forget that returning home is going to be out of comfort zone as well. You will be more aware of the parts of your home country that you don't like and you will miss the little nuances of your host country. You'll be able to share your memories with your friends, but they won't be able to truly understand your experiences. In a sense, you are returning to a slightly foreign environment.

But, before I have to worry about that I have one month left here, which includes a trip to Frankfurt and Berlin. I plan to enjoy every second of it!

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