Today is my 3-week anniversary in Germany! Although it’s only been 3 weeks, I do feel quite settled here. I think I know my way around Hamburg a bit better after countless hours of wandering and walking 5-6 miles almost every day.
I am also not intimidated by the public transportation here anymore, although it was complicated at first. Hamburg has an app one can use to plug in their desired destination and the app will automatically show various route options. I frequent the U2, U3, S2, S21, and a few other bus routes.
In this blog post, I want to talk a bit about my first impressions of German school and how my weekdays usually go. As you can see from the picture of my school schedule above, Mondays are my longest day.
Every day except for Friday, because my classes begin later, I leave my house at 7 am and head to the bus stop a few minutes walk from my door. After the bus, I switch to a train for a few stops, then to the underground for one or two stops. This journey takes about an hour so I usually arrive at school at 8 am when my first class begins.
Something that is different about German school (and can sometimes be frustrating for me) is that the rooms my classes are in change nearly every class. Luckily, I have only walked into the wrong class and sat down once, which was quite embarrassing, but being an exchange student is all about embracing awkwardness.
School is difficult because it’s in German and I can’t say I’m fluent yet :) However, I’m getting better at understanding each day (I think) so it’s becoming better.
I really enjoy the 30-minute breaks I get between each class because it means I get to explore the area around my school to get my bearings and eat a snack, which is usually bread.
After school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I attend a German class online. I think it’s really helpful, but the time is a bit inconvenient because I have to leave school early on Mondays and Fridays to make it on time.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays when I don’t have to head home quickly, I like to explore the city by myself or meet up with friends to do something.
Thus far, I’ve been to a few famous spots in Hamburg; The Elbphilharmonie (the viewpoint), The Elbtunnel, the Elbstrand, The Alster, and more!
After my adventures in the city center, I take my usual combination of subways, trains, and buses home. Although my journey is long, I get to listen to lots of podcasts that keep me updated on the news and help me with my German.
I usually have Abendbrot with my host family and this is definitely one of my favorite parts of the day.
With my remaining free time, I study for my upcoming SAT exam or work on my college applications. I think I’m doing well with balancing each commitment, but it can be difficult to consistently be good with time management.
I don’t want to portray each week here as boring and grueling because my time here is not at all like that! I will write about some fun adventures in my next post but I also don’t want to portray my exchange year as a time where I was able to adventure and travel all the time. I suppose it’s a fine line.
Thus far, my time in Germany has been fantastic!