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Merete's Germany Exchange Year

Thu Nov 15 2018

My original plan was to go to the US, but somewhere along the way I changed my mind. I have learned German since grade 8 (4 years total), and I decided I wanted to learn it fully, not just the textbook version, but every aspect of the difficult, strange and -someone might argue- Beautiful German language. It was now or never! Although it was hard to turn my back on the American school spirit, homecoming and all the experiences I once dreamed of experiencing, I am 100% sure I made the right decision, and that this is where I am meant to be!

To better understand my journey, here are some facts about me ~ I am Half Norwegian and Half Filipino. I have gone to school for two years in the Philippines, however grown up most of my life in Norway. I am a dancer both in a studio and in front of my bedroom mirror. I am allergic to dogs, which happens to make out 33% of my host family. My favourite food is Lasagna and I always wear lipstick😊

I have been in Germany for two months, and in this amount of time I have changed host family, moved city, changed my school and gone through grade 9, 10 and 11, all in two months! I basically haven’t settled down since I came here. But that’s all what I signed up for, to expect the unexpected in a completely new setting.

I have now been with my new host family for a month, and I am so happy things turned out the way it did. My family consists of my host mom, dad, to twin sisters who are 15 and my 8-year-old brother. I live in a little village with a ten-minute car ride to a bigger city. This is also where I go to school. I got to join the choir and I am taking Russian as an additional language. How cool isn’t that? While we’re on the subject of cool, my school is like a mini version of Hogwarts! And I am not even exaggerating, it’s a cathedral building type of thingy made into a school, it is so amazing its even called the “cathedral school” translated. It also has a modern building attached to it where most of my classes are, but we still have a good view of the original building.

In my school there are 7 other exchange students like me😊 we actually all got together with our school advisers and talked about our experiences and got to know each other. I think it is really nice of my school to care so much for their exchange students, it makes things feel easier, and yes, we all have each our adviser for the school year to guide and help us with what we need.

Right now, I have fall vacation and haven’t done much other than relaxing. But to sum up my experiences up to this point I have spent a weekend in Hamburg getting to know other STS students all over Germany, there were many Italians, and I became really close with one girl from Czech Republic, which happens to live not so far away. It was really awesome. We went to the movies, the Hamburg dungeon and the Miniature Wonderland museum. We also took a city tour bus to see the entire city. Other than the Hamburg weekend I have catered a private Oktoberfest birthday party, serving people drinks and pretzels. This was the first night I moved in with my new host family, and the party was held by my host parents friend, so the entire family, except the youngest attended. I got to know my new host sisters as they catered besides me the entire time. We were all dressed up in traditional clothing from Bayern, and even though I hadn’t gotten to pack out my suitcase, I still found something to wear. The celebration was quite the sight to see, almost like a copy of German stereotypes in one place. It was truly an awesome experience.

Other than that, I have visited neighbouring cities, met wonderful people and walked in beautiful streets. keep up with me as I tackle the journey of language barriers, embarrassing moments and gain of wonderful experiences. Viel Spaß, and let’s go😊