It seems that I have finally cleared my desk of the apparently never-ending pile of paperwork and now there is nothing in my way. I’m Emma, I’m 19 years old, originally from Aberdeen and now studying German at Edinburgh University. In 3 weeks time I’ll be boarding a plane, ready to wave goodbye to the familiar and dependent territory of my home country, Scotland, and poised to enter the unknown and exciting realms of my host country, Germany.
It will be my first time there and I’m throwing myself in at the deep end – I’ll be living in Berlin, the second most populated city in the EU and studying at the Freie Universität (or FU) , a uni with over 31,000 students (compared to Edinburgh’s 24,000). I’m staying in a flat which I’ve never viewed in person, with people I’ve never met.
Some may question my sanity for deciding to uproot myself to a country where I have never been before but I truly believe that in terms of academic and personal development, it’s my most sensible move yet. I have armed myself with as many guidebooks and internet articles I can lay my hands on, but I know neither of these can compensate for the experience itself. It’s terrifying, it’s exciting and I can think of no better way to be spending my third year of uni.
There are many things I hope to gain from my Erasmus year. First and foremost I’d like to get to grips with the language – it will be great to put into practice the grammar that I have been grappling with for years! Textbooks and videos are only so useful when learning a language and it will be amazing to finally converse with native speakers and experience all of the different dialects and colloquialisms first hand. I also hope to meet loads of new people, observe (and eventually integrate into) a culture different from my own and just get out of my comfort zone. Scotland has been a wonderful home to me for the past 19 years but I’m definitely feeling like now is the time to do something different! Of course I’m terrified that my language skills aren’t good enough, I’ll become homesick, I won’t make any friends… but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my fears are natural and I’ll be able to overcome them in time (I hope!). It’s up to me to be brave and confident and learn from my time away. I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have an experience like this and so many people have told me to make the most of it, what more can I do but take their advice?!
Berlin is famous for its Currywurst and beer but I’m hoping to discover its hidden gems. It’s frequently described as a metropolis, a vibrant and trendy city with something for everyone. I’m excited to see what it has in store for me. My next entry will be coming to you from Germany – bis später!!