If I could put it in a simple phrase of what my life has been like the past week I would say that it has been very exciting and life changing. It’s hard for me to believe how much I’ve done since I’ve been in Germany, not to mention how much German I have already learned, and I’ve been in Germany for only a week! It’s crazy how doing something out of your comfort zone can really change your perspective on things, since I’ve been in Germany I have been overall happier, enjoying things around me more than when I was in America. So now that I have explained how I feel about my experience so far, let me talk about my first week in Germany and what exactly I did.
On August 2nd around 13:20 hours (Yes I do use military time now, a lot more efficient than AM and PM in my opinion) Aeroflot Airlines flight 2336 from Moscow to Stuttgart arrived in Germany and that was the beginning of something that would change my life even a week into the program. Once I got through Customs and left the airport I took bus line 828 to Tübingen Hpf station where I eventually made it to the program check in.
The first thing that came to my mind while I was in Tübingen was the fact that I was at the city that I would talk about moving to for months. What a weird revelation that was for me, realizing I would be living in this city for most of the next year. The first night was a blast, everyone in our program went to a local store, bought some beer and took it to the church steps in the “alt stadt” (old city). This is a citywide tradition, as every night I spent in Tübingen thus far the stairs at the church is a main hangout spot. There I met many people from the program who really are in the same situation as me, leaving everything they know to spend a year in Europe. That’s when I realized that I am not alone in this whole experience and that things will be good and work out well.
That night I also felt a sense of peace, something I have not really felt in a long time. That realization of being away from familiar places for a while and having an opportunity to really find out about myself through something different than normal really came to me that night, on the steps meeting new people. All I could think about is how I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, I still think that about Germany to this day.
The two days following that were days to get all the forms I needed filled out and a welcome orientation. These two days were important but not as exciting, but of course there were some exciting things we did. For instance one of the days they surprised us with a free trip on the rowboats that run through the town, and it was so awesome to see the beauty of Tübingen not just through a computer screen.
After the two days of orientation we headed on a bus to a town called Horb am Neckar. This small town is located southwest of Tübingen, and actually is half the size of it as well. We are at Horb to do a six week language program called the PLP (Preparatory Language Program). This six week, six unit program is designed to boost your confidence in German by the time you start the fall semester in October.
Because we are staying in this village 45 minutes away by bus, we are staying with families who live in Horb on a home stay program. I was very lucky to get a family who is very nice and treats me very well, because it’s really a luck of the draw with these families. We have been in Horb since Friday, and we have been to two parties already (one with the family of the Hosts, and a small village party not known to many locals). They speak very good English, but I try to not speak it with them whenever possible because I need to practice my German.
They live in a village 5 km from the city center of Horb (about 3.1 miles) and since it is close enough, and they have bikes for us to use I have been riding my bike every time I go to town. The great thing is it is good exercise, and it gives me a good workout to and from town going 6.2 miles round trip.
Oh and since I am in Germany of course I gotta talk about the beer! The beer is hella cheap, I can buy a good bottle of beer for 0.62 Euros. Also, even the cheapest beer in Germany is better than any of the beers I’ve had in the US (and Russia for a fact). Not only is beer cheap, all groceries and food in Germany is hella cheap. I got a meal of Curry-Wurst and fries in Horb for 3.80 Euros, I can’t get really anything filling in America for that price!
But that has been my life for the past week, so much stuff in only one week and I have about 45 more of these to go! Life has been pretty good and I have only the best things to look forward to. Tschüss!