Some things to bring back from your study abroad experience

By Hannah Wheeler, Vrije Universitiet, Netherlands

Going back home always holds challenges. Sometimes it is easy to fall back into old roles and forget about the experiences and developments that you have gone through. Even just going back from university to your home city with your family, it’s easy to slip back into old habits. This was something I was worried about when I thought about going back to Manchester after my year in Amsterdam. I was scared of returning to my default student ways. Not that all the defaults are a bad thing, but also some I had grown out of in my year away. Your environment is a massive impacting factor in how you behave and what you focus on. So naturally, moving countries will affect you. It’s not easy. 

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The Highs and Lows of 2nd Semester

By Lauren Howie, the University of Manchester

After an incredible 4 months off uni, the stress of essay deadlines, 9ams and rushed breakfasts has become a strange and distant memory.

Before coming out to Australia I was anxious about my second semester. Would I have friends staying the whole year? Would I need to find a new house? Would I be ready to go home? 

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Auf Wiedersehen (Pet!)

Berlin, Jan 2013. Wearing approximately 8 layers.
Berlin, Jan 2013. Wearing approximately 8 layers.

By Joanna Harris (Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany).

The time has finally arrived for me to move to Berlin. When I applied to go on exchange over a year ago it almost seemed like it would never really happen… But now it feels like time has flown by!

So here I am. As I sit in the airport writing this I have such a strange mixture of feelings… a fuzzy flutter of excitement mixed with a small (but definitely noticeable) twinge of nerves. Firstly though, the excitement: I am so looking forward to being in Berlin again – I visited for a few days last year and loved it, despite the slightly chilly -15 degree temperatures. I had only paid to bring hand luggage, and found myself wearing every item of clothing I had packed, constantly, for the four days I was there. I’m so excited now to see Berlin in the sunshine, it all its graffitied glory!

Now the nerves: as I said, there is only a twinge. This twinge is almost countered by my excitement. Not quite though… What has been crossing my mind occasionally is: ‘you have a house and friends in Manchester. Why are you choosing to move to a place where you have no friends, and nowhere to live?’ This has worried me occasionally, but I also find it quite exciting. It’s a bit like a challenge. I know (or at least, very much hope…) it won’t be like that for long!

My mum sent me a text earlier which said: ‘Have an amazing time. I hope you won’t be lonely’. This, coupled with a card I received from a friend which concluded with: ‘I hope you make some friends’, has made me consider that perhaps I am giving off some sort of vibe indicating that I will struggle to meet people. I hope this is not the case (!).

I am waiting now to get on the plane and I wish I could cancel out all the travelling and just be there in Berlin. I hate the waiting around! I just want to get there and explore. I have booked to stay in a hostel, provisionally for 10 days, whilst I look for a room I can sub-let for a few months. I have heard this can be quite tricky in the lively areas of Berlin where I (and apparently many others, unsurprisingly…) want to live. But I am going to stay optimistic. My thinking so far has been along these lines: I’m definitely not going to live nowhere…

So in conclusion, I am: 1) Getting very impatient waiting for my flight; 2) A tiny bit nervous about my living situation; 3) Mainly just really excited to start getting to know Berlin in the summer! I have heard on the grapevine that a beach bar is created by the river throughout the summer months, and this sounds juuust lovely to me…

Bis bald! (See you soon!)


Ps. For anyone wondering about the title, ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet’ was a TV programme about Geordies living in Germany. As I am leaving my home in Newcastle to move to Berlin, this seemed quite fitting…

This is what Berlin looked like the last time I was there... lovely, but very, very cold!!
This is what Berlin looked like the last time I was there… lovely, but very, very cold!!

I hope I can find more stuff like this when I get there!