My Year Abroad Diary: My Final Week in Germany

Woah. I can’t believe it’s my final week here in Germany already. I’ve been here now 5 months and I can’t believe how fast my time has whizzed by! I’m really not ready to go home, because I have honestly had an amazing time. Although it’s by no means been the easiest things I’ve done in my life, it’s definitely been one of the best.

My final one has been a crazy one! With the school’s open day on my last day I feel like I’ve hardly had time to breathe!

On Monday one of my highlights was a class I taught about the EU Referendum. We had such an interesting discussion and hearing German perspectives made me realise that the Referendum isn’t just a British thing. It’s something that will affect all of Europe.

I also went out for lunch with Annette on Monday. If you didn’t know this from previous blog posts, Annette has been a really important person during my time here and I cannot thank her enough for all she’s done for me.

Tuesday was a crazy, hectic wonderful day. Unusually for me, I had 7 lessons with no free lessons, but I loved each lesson of my day. My first lesson I prepared a role play debate lesson for a whole class which they really enjoyed.

Then I had yet another chance to teach a whole class and what was really good about this one (other than the fact that it was really good fun!) was that their teacher gave me really helpful feedback and said I should definitely consider teaching as a career. As an aspiring teacher, getting feedback and learning how I can get better at it is something I really value and I’m so grateful that he took the time to think.

The rest of the lessons that day consisted of organising short role plays and practising for our play of Dick Whittington for the Open Day. I’m really going to miss this school!

Wednesday was comparitatively a fairly empty day. I only had 2 classes, both 7. Klassen. One was lovely and I helped with writing dialogues about how to plan a leaving party for me. That was great fun and at the end lots of the girls came up to me and said that they were really sad I was going and that they’d miss me.

The other class had actually prepared a leaving party for me. One of the boys, Arthur, had baked a huge cake coloured like the German flag and then we ate cake whilst they gave me presents. They’d been really thoughtful as to what I might like to take back from Germany. They gave me a school tshirt, a signed photograph of the class and my personal favourite, a ring binder of all their favourite German recipes that they’d each chosen. I can’t believe how thoughtful they were and it really made my day.

Thursday was comparitatively a normal day for me, but at break time I was formally said goodbye to in the staff room. My colleagues had bought me some tulips, a lovely card and a Käsespätzle maker so that my obsession can continue. They also sang old Lang syne to me, and I shed a few awkward tears whilst laughing at how silly I felt crying!

Friday was my real last day at the school, but it was too busy for me to reflect or feel sad at all. I spent pretty much the whole day organising scenery and posters, and practicing for the open day in the evening when my lovely 5. Klasse were putting on a performance of Dick Whittington. I was so so proud of them because they definitely nailed it. They had worked so hard to learn the script by heart although it was a pretty difficult one for their level of English. They worked so hard at it, and it really showed!

After the school open day I went out for dinner and cocktails with my lovely colleagues and had my lovely favourite cocktail once again. It was one that wasn’t on the menu and the bartender made for me, so I’m hoping that now if enough people go in and ask for “an abi cocktail” that the name will stick and I’ll become famous in Ravensburg. That would be super cool!

Cocktail Time!

 On Saturday I had a leaving party. The theme was “Denglish” so Carina and I made a bunch of German and English foods and drinks. It was a lovely way to say goodbye to such a lovely bunch of colleagues and I really enjoyed it.

The Denglish Party!

 Sunday was my organising and packing day, but at lunchtime I went for Käsespätzle with Carina at our neighbours flat. As anyone who’s met me in Germany will know, I love Käsespätzle and would love to eat it for the rest of my life. That lunchtime was the 4th lot of Käsespätzle in 4 days. My obsession is real. That evening Annette and I went out for dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant. It was so lovely to spend time with her, and the perfect end to my time in Germany, before flying back to England the next day.

Annette and I at Kantina

 Since I’m halfway through my official year abroad (not counting Belgium because that was just an extra!) I thought I’d write a reflection/memory post of my time in Germany – a summary as it were. Being in Germany has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have totally loved it, although I haven’t loved every moment by any means. Without trying to sound like the typical year abroad student, and accidentally sounding like one, this year has changed my and made me grow in ways I would never have imagined.

At points it was really, really hard to settle into a new place and try to make a new circle of friends when you don’t know anyone. Outside of school/uni, making friends is hard work, and my one regret is that I didn’t put myself forward more. I spent many hours at the start watching Netflix and feeling sad. Those moments now seem so strange to me as I’m leaving Germany today with friends who I know I’ll stay in contact with for a long time.

Maybe that’s why I don’t feel sad about leaving, it’s not really goodbye. Although I would have loved to have stayed longer in Germany, teaching at the school and enjoying life, I don’t feel like this is the end of my relationship with this place. I already have a trip back and a visit from my friends planned so it’s not like I will never see anyone from Ravensburg again.

Another thing I’ve learnt is that I love teaching. I’ve fallen head over heels in love with it. I love how active it is, getting to talk to people all the time. I love the fact that I’ve helped the older ones learn more English and that I’ve helped the younger ones to find English exciting and fun. It’s made me want to pursue teaching as a career.

I’m so thankful for everyone who I’ve met in Germany. For the classes that I’ve taught, the colleagues that have welcomed me, for the friends that I’ve made. I want to thank Annette for taking me under her wing and always being there for me. For helping me to find my place in the teaching staff.

Annette and I at another Italian – food is definitely a theme in our friendship!

 I want to thank Carina for welcoming me into her flat and being a really great friend. Thank you for teaching me how to hit schnitzel with a saucepan, put on a dirndl and possibly most importantly, make Käsespätzle. Without you I would probably be far less happy, and maybe a little thinner!

Because silly faces.

 I want to thank Anke and Anna for a great trip to Vienna. It was so lovely to spend that time with you and it was such a great trip – even if Carina’s plastic tub still stinks of “Spittlauch”!

Throwback to big dumplings in Vienna!

  

Vienna! 

And I also want to thank all my lovely colleagues at Gymnasium Weingarten, it wouldn’t have been the same without you!

And lastly I want to thank all the friends and family that I’ve seen and those who have prayed for me. Just knowing that you’ve been there praying for me has been such an encouragement – thank you!

German Girlies

Sassy in Strasbourg with my french girlies!

Family Photo

Sisters!

Thomas at the Pancake Place.

 This is a not-so-final (like Terminator, I’ll be back!) Tschüss from Germany!

Abi xx

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My Year Abroad Diary: The Penultimate Week

Hello! I’ve certainly not been doing too well with writing these year abroad blog posts recently, but hey ho, there we go. Last week was my penultimate week in Germany, but it was a good one.

Lessons went well as usual, along with a bunch of extra work going into the play of Dick Whittington that my lovely 5. Klasse will be putting on for the open day. I really love working with this class, but I’ve also definitely lately been enjoying the range of classes that I get to teach. To go from teaching how to tell the time to 10 year olds to talking about politics with 18 year olds is probably one of the best things about my job here. There is so much variety, and I would hate to give any age up.

On Friday evening I cooked “Toad in the Hole” for dinner for Carina and Annette. For those of you who don’t know what that is – shame on you. Carina and Annette seemed to really like it, but it was me honey roasted parsnips that really stole the show. After dinner Anka came round and we all sat and chatted and drank wine together. A lovely evening!

Toad in the Hole

In Ravensburg there’s a market every Saturday but I’m ashamed to say that up until last weekend I’d never really seen it. Sure, I’d walked around a bit as it closed, but I’d never really “done the whole market thing”. Carina and I got the train in and wandered around eating cheesecake for breakfast (which apparently isn’t weird in Germany!), buying fresh food for the coming week and trying not to hate the terrible weather. We also stopped for a coffee to warm ourselves up before the walk home.

That evening Carina and I decided to go out for cocktails. We went to a couple of very lovely bars for a few drinks and really enjoyed just sitting and chatting. I got talking to the guy behind the bar and he made me a special cocktail that wasn’t on the menu. It was honestly the best cocktail I think I’ve ever tasted (other than maybe Vodka Rev’s Tennessee Mudshake – chocolate always wins!) and was made with fresh raspberries and chocolate.

Cocktail Ready!

Sunday was a relaxed day, but in the afternoon we went out for coffee, cake and prosecco for Annette’s birthday. It was so nice to finally celebrate it, as she was ill for her actual birthday so we couldn’t celebrate then. We went to Il Podio; an italian restaurant/café in Marienplatz in Ravensburg. The cake was good – the company was better!

That’s pretty much all for now. I’m now in my last week here in Germany and I really do not want to leave. It’s been a great experience and I’ve really loved my time here. If you do pray for me, please pray for this last week as I organise myself to go back and prepare for the open day on friday. Please pray for peace and that I would be able to leave in a happy way instead of just bawling my eyes out like I expect to happen!

Lots of love,

Abi xx

3 Apps that will Change your Life – University Edition

This is the first year in a long time in which I haven’t had January exams, but knowing that lots of my friends back at uni have had to has made me think about uni, exams and organisation. Today I want to share with you 3 apps which have really improved my time at university, and I wouldn’t particularly like to live without!

RefMe – I hate referencing, but this app really makes it simple. All you have to do is select your referencing style and add the information into the form or the IBN (with newer books you can just scan the barcode!). This app then formats the information into footnotes and a bibliography which you can copy and paste directly into your essay from RefMe’s online website. I used to find referencing really stressful, but honestly now it’s not half as big a worry!

Scanbot – Scanning documents at uni can be a real pain. This handy app’s in-built camera focuses in on the document you hold it over, before snapping a photo that it turns into a pdf. On year abroad I feel like I’ve had so many documents to scan and email for different things, and this has literally been a life saver. I’ve not tried this yet, but I’m thinking that it might be a winner when I’m not in the mood for lugging a bunch of library books home for the sake of a couple of quotations!

Quizlet – Maybe this is the language student in me, but I need notecards pretty much constantly. They’re so helpful for learning new vocabulary. All you have to do is add what you want as vocab onto Quizlet via your phone, computer or tablet, and then it’ll be available on all 3. For me, that’s amazing when I’m waiting for or on public transport. And my favourite thing? As well as normal flashcard mode, the app gives you a game or two that you can play with your flashcards – and I’ve found them to be a bit addictive!

What are your favourite apps for uni? I’m always on the hunt for more!

Abi xx