So, here goes… starting again from completely nothing. Going to a foreign country to speak a language I do not properly speak. Living in a completely new family known only from the various emails sent months earlier. So there I was, sitting in the terminal of Finland’s largest airport waiting for my plane to arrive and me to fly off to a new adventure. With me was someone I barely knew, but who had also decided to jump into the adventure ahead of us both. Being an exchange student.
Upon arrival to Germany, we collected our luggage and headed out of the terminal. There in front of us stood a friendly face who had promised to take us to our “Gastfamilies”. The only problem; she only speaks German and neither of us had nearly ever said a complete sentence in this foreign language. I have studied German for nearly seven years now and can read and write German rather well, but getting into conversations where you would have to make understandable and hopefully even grammatically correct sentences by a moments notice scared me. So that’s why I came here, to do exactly that.
They said that the first week would be the worst, because every day brought something new with it. The first lunch, the first day in school, the first time to the local pool and so on. “But you can always ask if you don’t understand” you might say. Well, technically yes, but in reality no. The opening of a conversation can always be thought beforehand, but anything after that is a bit hit and miss. It is an interesting feeling when you try to figure out what the reply was, what is ‘towel’ in German and should the object come before or after the ‘no’.
And this brings me to the fact that people who speak German as a native language tend to speak really quickly. What on paper seems like a simple and a fairly understandable clause can seem really weird when spoken by a native.
But to summarize, after the first week I am in a surprisingly good shape. I am alive and managed to make new friends, get new experiences whilst keeping myself sane. Still after 1 week every day brings something new and after every day I have the feeling that I have learned something new and I understood more than yesterday. 1 week down, 11 to go.