So, I started writing this post more than a month ago, at which point I had intended it to be my “one month in” update for my Year Abroad, but sadly, I wrote a few sheets on a train in Austria and since then, they’ve been gathering dust on my desk. Funny, how life runs away with you.
It’s more than two months since I arrived in Tübingen. At risk of sounding like a cliché, it feels both as though I arrived just a few days ago, and like I’ve lived here for years. Maybe I was always supposed to be here, then. Perhaps it’s that I’ve had so long to get used to the idea.
Of course, I’ve already been off travelling within the first couple of months of my Year Abroad. There’s no such thing as a day off from travel this year, I suppose. I’ve gotten into a routine now, so it’s a bit strange to keep remembering that I am travelling, that I’ve really moved to Germany. Maybe I’m reaching the point where it isn’t all so new and exciting now – the whole things feels less like a holiday or a journey to some new, interesting place, and more… settled. I suppose that’s a good and bad thing at the same time.
Moving abroad, and finding yourself bored in class, or reluctant to get out of bed on a rainy morning. Just like Exeter. Really. Except for the challenge of language, and bureaucracy, and adjusting to an all new environment with all new people.
I scoffed when the teacher in our Language Immersion Course said that we’d probably experience a lull in the excitement, maybe even homesickness, a couple of months in, once the novelty of the move had worn off. Not me, I thought. How could I, a self-professed travel addict, ever be bored when I’ve just moved to another country?
And yet, here we are.
Tübingen suits me well. A university town in Baden Württemberg, in the south-west of Germany, with approximately one in every three residents of the town being students – it’s the youngest city in Germany, and an even smaller world than Exeter. But I do love it. Classes started a couple of weeks ago, and whilst it’s very different to how I study Theology at home, I think I’m adapting reasonably well.
Throwing myself into the deep end of Evangelical Theology at one of the best faculties in Germany seems like no mean feat when you phrase it like that, right? Maybe I can be kind of proud of myself already for being here at all. As far as the language goes, I don’t feel completely out of my depth. Yet.
Ask me again when I’ve had to write my first essay?
Naturally, the longer I live in Germany and immerse myself in the language, the easier it will come. I admit to taking the easy option and mainly speaking English with my international friends and Erasmus students. I mean, we speak German in classes, right? But who’s got the energy to keep that up when you’re a few drinks in, surrounded by people speaking languages from all over? However, I matched with a German student for a language tandem through the Foreign Languages Centre (shout out to Magdalena and Friday coffee meetups!), and most of my housemates are German, so that’s something. It’s not like the opportunity isn’t there.
I enjoyed the breather from 24/7 German whilst I was taking the intro course with the international students, and my week in Austria. When I came back, the immersion hit me like a ton of bricks.
I’m going to try and write these updates at least semi regularly because being honest, a lot of stuff happens to me and maybe I’ll want to remember some of it one day. Maybe. At least monthly? Potentially bi-monthly. Life gets in the way, alright? I barely have time to post on Instagram. The horror. Anyone who knows me can tell that when I’m quiet on social media, it means shit just got real in my everyday life. Too busy living – I guess that’s for the best!
It’s hard to spare time to edit pictures, or write posts, when there is so much I want to do, and I don’t want to waste a second of the limited time I have here. Although I will admit to a few evenings wasted, watching Netflix and feeling sorry for myself. Adjusting to life abroad, the creeping in of winter and the usual seasonal fluctuations in mental health will do that to even the best of us.
Going on a Year Abroad in Germany is something I’ve been telling people I plan to do since I was at school. Maybe that’s why I felt so comfortable here from the start. But actually being here now is a bit surreal, even if it’s just the next step forward. I’m not sure how it’s going to feel, returning to Exeter next year. Reverse homesickness?
Not to mention the angst I’m going to experience when a load of my friends here leave in February… Stay for the whole year, please? Special mention to the boys who put up with me being an absolute waste every weekend. <3
I feel like if I only stayed for one semester (5 months), I’d barely have arrived before it was time to go. As it is, I’m here for a full year, so Tübingen is really going to become my home. If I let it, that is.
But I’m loving how comfortable I already feel, even if there have been some bumps along the road. 8 more months to go! Not that I’m counting. Someone whose opinion I value very much recently gave me a great piece of advice – don’t wish the year away. Easily done, I think? This time next year, I’ll probably be back in Exeter thinking wistfully about this little town.
I feel this has been something of a boring post and not so valuable travel-wise, but I haven’t really posted much about my personal feelings regarding my travels recently and it’s always nice to keep people in the know, I suppose. Shout out to anyone I know in real life who is reading this because you all know I’m the queen of good intentions with this blog but at the moment it’s sporadic as hell.
Thanks for sticking around x