Settling in

Authored By:

Mary P.

It’s nearing the end of September. The air is finally starting to become colder and crisper. And it’s nearing the two-month mark of being in Germany.  

Settling in has been a roller coaster of emotions, but I’ve finally started to feel more adjusted. Unexpectedly, the first two weeks were the hardest for me. It feels so weird to be living with strangers and figuring out how to communicate despite a language barrier. But I’ve started to create a routine of some kind and I’ve found strength that I didn’t know I had.  

I’ve already learned so much from these weeks of immersion. When I say this, I don’t only mean that I’ve learned lots of German (which of course I have) but I also mean life lessons. I’ve learned how to deal with knowing absolutely nothing about a situation but remain calm, I’ve learned to try foods that may not look great because they usually end up tasting so good, and I’ve learned the importance of saying yes to every opportunity.  

I’ve also created many unique memories recently. I’ve gone swimming with the girls from my class at a nearby lake and was able to become better friends with all of them, I’ve gone ice skating in Hamburg, I’ve attended a parliamentary meeting with my host dad (who serves as a local politician), I’ve found fields and bookshops and tranquil lakes and castles that I’ve spent lots of time at, and I even was able to go to an amusement park yesterday that’s right next to the Baltic sea (with many fun roller coasters and drop towers).  

To future exchange students I’d like to say: whenever you doubt your ability to get through a difficult situation, remember how far you’ve already come. As my language camp roommate and fellow blogger Zoe reminded me after I’d had a bad day, it's all going to be so worth it in the end. Even if I’ve had really tough moments, I’ve still never regretted doing this program. This was one of the best and most life-changing choices I could’ve made and I’m so excited to learn and grow even more in the next eight months.  

This fall I plan on enjoying the process of settling in. I want to visit the opera in Hamburg, begin volunteering at my local animal shelter, and learn how Germany celebrates Halloween. I’m also so excited to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my Host family in November! And, with that, I will leave you to enjoy the rest of your September.  

Best wishes,  

Mary P.