Erasmus Exchange in Freiburg. Prologue

To begin with I will post the entry I wrote in May 2014:

I am Laura Karpyte and in the past two years I have changed my living place quite a few times. One of the bigger changes was leaving Vilnius (Lithuania) and coming to Edinburgh to study, thus moving to a foreign, unfamiliar place is not a new thing for me. And yet, standing just a few steps away from going to Freiburg and studying in the university there for nearly the whole year I can feel both worry and excitement boiling inside of me.

I guess the primary cause of worry for most students who will be going away for their year abroad is the language. I am no exception in this case. My level of German is lower than my English level was when I first moved to UK and I can already feel that talking in German will be a ‘sink or swim’ situation for me (yes, I am aware that most Germans speak English, but speaking in English all the time would just beat the point of the year abroad…). Thus one of the things I plan to do during summer is to practise ‘swimming’ by talking more often in German with the native speakers, reading some books in German and going to Germany to do some volunteering for a bit more than a week.

Another thing which hinders my excitement is the daunting amount of documents and bureaucracy I will have to deal with once I arrive to Freiburg… But there is nothing I can do about it and students deal with it just fine every year. It will be challenging due to lacking knowledge of the city and specific terms in the language, but I believe I will deal with it as well. Somehow. Eventually…

Looking to the brighter side, there are lots of things I am certainly looking forward to. First of all, Freiburg is situated in a wunderschön area which is called Schwarzwald (you have most likely heard of it if you know the Black Forest cake). Since I absolutely love hiking and nature photography, having forests, hills and mountains within my reach is a massive cause for eagerness for me. What is more, it seems that Studentenwerk in Freiburg tends to organise quite a few trips around the area and some really interesting activities (e.g. rock climbing) all of which appear to be very reasonably priced.

Of course I do look forward to the more serious part of my year abroad as well, that is, studying in the university and improving my German language skills. If I will be able to take the courses which I indicated in my provisional Erasmus Learning Agreement, the first semester I will focus more on getting better in German and in the second one I will take up a few more specific and more challenging courses in the areas of my interest (Germanic mythology, German medieval literature, Goethe…).

To conclude this post, I would like to quote Tolkien:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
Just a few months away from setting my feet on this road I can say, I am ready for a new adventure.

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