Sunday, 15 September 2013

I'm moving to Germany for my Third Year Abroad. Tomorrow. And this is how I feel about it...

Well then. I am moving to Germany tomorrow. That is actually happening. Finally. After a build up of what seems like years. Actually, it has been years, as I've known for ages I wanted to study languages and would thus have to do a year abroad.

You may remember in this post months ago I said I was feeling pretty nervous, and unsurprisingly I still am. But now I'm more nervous excited.

Yes, there are butterflies fluttering around in my tummy; yes, I know I'm going to be munching my way through the pantry this evening (nerves tend to result in me eating my feelings. Wonderful); and no, I know I'm not going to get any sleep tonight, regardless of my horrendously early start.

Feeling nervous months ago, I was somewhat terrified of how bad it was going to get by the day before leaving, but it's actually got better, in a way.

Sure, I get the odd pang of "I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE HOME! MUMMY DON'T MAKE ME GO!" But after a few minutes of feeling like that comes a few minutes of feeling excited to begin this new challenge.
Why the change in attitude?

Well, it helps that I'm one of the last to go, and being able to talk to my friends who've already begun their years abroad, read their blogs and look at their pictures (I'm seeing a lot of Dirndls and a lot of beer in those of my fellow Bavarians!) has made me eager to join them.

Of course, I know social media is deceptive, and they're obviously not going to post photos of the time they started crying in the middle of a German bank - I'm prepared to be that girl - but still.

The thing is, I know I'm going to feel homesick at first, because I'm a girl who suffers from homesickness. Always have, probably always will a little, but I also know it gets easier every time. (If you're the same, have a read of my tips for dealing with homesickness - I've learnt from experience.)

Mama Hosie just makes home life so nice, and having had such a long summer, I've got really settled.
Still, I know challenge is what makes you grow, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is good for you.

I know the first couple of weeks are going to be hard, and I'm prepared for that. People say the first two weeks of your year abroad are the hardest of your life, but the rest is the best year of your life. And I am SO ready for that.

Actually, literally, I'm not ready at all. I have pretty much all my packing to do, which is always harder and takes longer than you think. Oops.

It's not looking promising
Dad said to me, "Your brother went on his year abroad with just one suitcase." I replied, "But he's a BOY! He doesn't need bags and shoes and makeup and jewellery!" Needless to say I am shipping a second suitcase. It's still going to be a struggle to fit everything in. I'm going to have to be ruthless in my nail varnish selection - it's going to be like picking teams in PE, but WORSE!

Obviously, I can't leave all my best handbags at home for the year, but how am I going to fit in my Mulberry, Kate Spade, Cambridge satchel (all bought by yours truly for yours truly, might I add), not to mention all my other high street bags?! A girl needs different bags for different occasions, am I right? Various colours, styles and sizes are a necessity. (I'm not even putting this on. It's a genuinely big concern for me.)

Naturally, I'm planning on taking all my Union Jack print stuff (tea towel, tin, tray, flag etc), and is it excessive to take these four mugs?

Probably, but I want them all. I hope my German flatmates don't think I'm some sort of overly patriotic nutter, whose bedroom is a shrine to the UK.

And I'll be so sad if I can't fit in some bunting, fairy lights, posters and photos. I think it's really important when settling in to make your new room homey (oh, and I wrote a blog of my top tips for doing just that too), and it really helps to feel comfortable in your new space.

It's going to be hard to see my friends back in Bristol going about the uni life that I love so much without me, but Bristol will still be there waiting for me in all its glory for the final year of my degree. And two can play at that game, facebook friends - I'll make sure to post appealing pictures of my year abroad life. Probably instagrammed. Wish you were here!

All these worries aside, I'm excited. I'm going to miss my family, friends, dog and puppy like crazy though. Oh yeah, remember a few weeks ago I treated you to these glorious puppy pictures? Well we finally got her for days ago! And what a fun four days it has been. I'm utterly smitten and can't bear to leave her.

Say hi to Tippy, everyone!

But I shall have to say goodbye to her and hello to my new life. I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I think I've got pretty lucky with my set-up for this first six months. It looks like I'm going to be working in two nice schools (as an English language assistant, by the way), and living with two lovely German girls who are both students at the Uni in my soon-to-be hometown.

Apparently, Bayreuth is the second coldest town in Germany, and everyone's been warning me to bring loads of warm layers (more to pack, yay), so spending winter there is going to be fun.

Seriously though, I've heard it's a really pretty town, and armed with my snazzy new camera (an early 21st birthday present *squeal*), I can't wait to explore it and as much of Germany as I can.

Oktoberfest in Munich, Christmas markets in Nuremberg, Dirndls, Wurst and everything else Germany has to offer, COME AT ME.

I only get one of these years, so I'm determined to throw myself into the experience and make the most of it.

Year abroad, bring it.

PS sorry if the blog is a bit quiet over the next week or so - I'm not sure if/when I'll have Internet or the chance to write, but I'll keep you updated as best I can. Wish me luck!


  1. Good luck! You'll have an amazing time - I actually feel a bit nervous and excited for you! X

    1. Oh bless you! Thanks so much Charli :) X

  2. Just stumbled across your blog, and I'm so glad I did! I'm going on my year abroad to France next week, so it's nice to be able to compare you're feelings to mine, and it's also great to find someone that seems to have a love for handbags even more than me! You've made me fall in love with Kate Spade as well :P Good luck on your year abroad! :)


    1. Thank you so much Sarah! I'm glad you share my handbag love and year abroad feelings.

      Good luck to you too and have a great year! Xxx

  3. Good luck Rachel, sure it will be great once you've settled in! :)
    Emily xx

    1. Thanks Emily... Hope you're right :) X

  4. Good Luck Rachel! I've been reading your blog since finding it thanks to the Cosmo Blog Awards. Can't wait to read about your time in Germany. Viel Glück! x

    1. Oh bless you, thanks Grace, that means a lot to me :) X

  5. Hi Rachel, best of luck on your year abroad! I'm about to go into my second year of a languages degree so this time next year I'll be off on mine! I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time. Quick you think you will come home at all during your year abroad? I can't imagine not spending Christmas at home but I don't want to break up my year too much. Emily X

    1. Thanks so much Emily! Best of luck with your second year! Yes I'm definitely going to be coming home... For weekends and at Christmas :) everyone has a Christmas break! X

  6. You'll love your year abroad! I studied abroad in Ireland (coming from Texas) and I wish I could've stayed in Ireland longer.

    Now that I'm living in Edinburgh, I do still miss things from the States (a tumble dryer, dishwasher, and not having to worry about the GBP kicking the USD's butt), but I love finding new things in Scotland to appreciate (Cambridge Satchels, beautiful landscapes, the Royal Family).

    Can't wait to read about your time in Germany!

    1. Thank you! I hope you're right and it sounds like you had a wonderful year :)

  7. I literally felt the same before coming to Austria to start my year abroad (I came on Tuesday). Although the paperwork sounds hard, there are always people willing to help you. Go to your school(s) once you're sorted in your accomodation and the office there will be able to help with everything. I didn't get help with setting up a bank account, but it wasn't too bad. People are nice! Good luck, hope it goes nice and smoothly for you.

    1. You're so right Gabrielle, people have been very helpful. Thanks for the advice and good luck :)


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