sneak peek of my texan desk 👀 my second week of school as an exchange student starts tomorrow! my first week was great—my professors and classmates are really friendly and welcoming. now to get started on all these exercises and projects…
This is my #1 language learning tip!I’ve been asked to explain this many times so here we go
This map is from an app called periscope. It is a live streaming app much like Facebook or Instagram live, and it’s super easy to watch live streams from all over the world!
“Why is this so great?” You might ask. Well…
1. You can get great listening practice with native speakers talking about real life things (how their days was, a funny story, listening to and talking about music)
2. You can hold a convo through their commenting system to practice reading/writing
3. It’s easy to make friends! Finding people to follow is as easy as picking a country and browsing who is broadcasting at the moment
ALSO red broadcasts are happening right now and blue are old ones. If you feel intimidated, watch some blue ones with no pressure of them knowing you’re there. I hope this app helps some of you with your language studies!
Quirks About Germans Americans Still Can’t Get Over
If you live in a country long enough, which many American exchange students do, you start to become desensitized to what once struck you as odd. You no longer stand in awe of the number of toilet buttons or scoff at people waiting for walking signals when no cars are coming. Some things, however, just never become familiar. We asked former American exchange students to Germany what cultural quirks still give them pause.
Wearing clothes more than once
Generally speaking, Americans grow up somewhat fussy about germs and dirt. We carry around hand sanitizer. We carefully wash all of produce. We also throw into the laundry clothes we’ve worn for only one day. In Germany, unless you worked out in them or spilled something on them, there is no shame or stigma attached to wearing clothes again–even multiple days in a row.
Greeting people with “Mahlzeit!”
Can you imagine walking past someone at work in America and greeting them with, “Lunch!” But in Germany, this is a common way to greet coworkers during the mid-day hours.
How they count on their fingers
If you’ve seen the movie Inglorious Bastards, you are already on the up-and-up on German counting behaviors. Americans show numbers with their palm faced away from them and start with their pointer finger. Germans count with their palm faced towards them and start with their thumb.
Tugging of the eye
In America, sarcasm is best served subtly. Since sarcasm is a bit of a national pastime and is brought to artistic levels in some circles, it can make it tricky to know when an American is joking. In Germany, sarcasm is presented visually, by pulling at the bottom of an eyelid to indicate that everything you say after that is meant in jest.
Fake names on social media
Met a cool German and want to connect with them on social media? Well, GOOD LUCK. Germans tend to be more concerned about their privacy and often change their names on social media to something completely unrelated to their actual name.
Buying your own birthday cake
Nothing knocks the wind out of an American’s sails like being expected to bring their own cake to their birthday party.
English is “german-o-fied”
When Americans travel to Germany, they often expect to be fully immersed in the German language. This is not exactly the case. The German language is speckled with English words like googeln and tweeten and American music is played on the radio or at events. Dipping in and out of one’s mother tongue can make it difficult to learn a new language.
Enthusiasm for carbonated beverages
Bubbles! Bubbles everywhere and in everything! Oh, it doesn’t have bubbles? Well let’s mix that juice with some carbonated water.
Shoes just for the house
House shoes, or slippers, are like normal shoes but softer and comfier. They’re like something in between socks and shoes.
You finally escaped the whipping wind and cold outside. It’s snowing and you look out the window and express your gratitude that you aren’t out there anymore. Then, across the room, someone complains about stale air and requests some frische Luft and OPENS THE WINDOW IN WINTER. Now the air is “fresh” but you are freezing. Who is winning here?
What is going on with your beds?
Arguably the most efficient set-up for bed-making: The pillow takes up like half of the bed and there is just one thick sheet that has it’s own case.
That’s good [being an exchange student]. That’s scary. That’s exciting. That’s brave. You know what they say: travel is the antithesis to bigotry. If you really go out there, and you really see the world and you meet different people and you experience the reality of people that have different languages and religions and different ways of life then, you know, it makes you a happier, more accepting person. So you go and be an exchange student. That’s rad. Go, you.
As someone who went on exchange myself and have traveled a lot with my family, if you get the opportunity to experience other cultures please take it. You won’t even believe all the things you’ll learn.
Yeah you, the ones who are so excited to fly away in just a few months or weeks. Take a deep breath, this is really exciting - I know! Here’s a few tips from a girl who is not ready to leave her host country, hopefully they are a bit different from the “don’t hide in your room” tips you always hear:
1. Take photos. Of everything. A good meal, your friends, a dog you see on the street. Do not be embarrassed to take selfies in front of random things. The locals won’t get it, but they don’t have to.
2. Eat the scary thing. It might be nasty, it might be amazing - either way you have a story.
3. Don’t take a single moment de granted. Because one day you won’t see that view of the town on your long, rainy walk home. You will miss it.
4. Exchange weight is whatever. Eat all the things. Eat Japanese sweets and Italian pasta with your friends until your stomach hurts from good food and laughing.
5. A good way to make friends is just tagging along. My best friends here, I made by pretty much following them around for weeks until I became a part of the friend-clique. It works!
6. Take a deep breath. Some days, everything will suck. Remember how lucky you are to explore the world.
7. Go to school. But also skip class. Be lagom, as the Swedes say. It doesn’t translate to English properly, but it means not too much, not too little - just right.
8. Remember that you go through 5 years worth of growth in exchange. That comes with five years of emotions in one year. Feel these intense feelings, and roll with them. Let them come. It will make you better.
Good luck, my little exchangers! You’ve got the world ahead of you - go take it all in!
I’ve been nearly 3 weeks in Korea and I’ve been doing little stationery shopping since university starts soon! I’ve only visited Muji and Artbox so far but can’t wait to see other places too, everything is so pretty and cute here when it comes to stationery!
Exchange is change. Rapid, brutal, beautiful, hurtful, colourful, amazing,
unexpected, overwhelming and most of all constant change. Change in
lifestyle, country, language, friends, parents, houses, school, simply
everything. Exchange is realizing that everything they told you beforehand is wrong, but also right in a way.
Exchange is going from thinking you know who you are, to having no idea
who you are anymore to being someone new. But not entirely new. You are
still the person you were before but you jumped into that ice cold
lake. You know how it feels like to be on your own. Away from home, with
no one you really know. And you find out that you can actually do it.
Exchange is thinking. All the time. About everything. Thinking about
those strange costumes, the strange food, the strange language. About
why you’re here and not back home. About how it’s going to be like once
you come back home. How that girl is going to react when you see her
again. About who’s hanging out where this weekend. At first who’s
inviting you at all. And in the end where you’re supposed to go, when
you’re invited to ten different things. About how everybody at home is
doing. About how stupid this whole time-zone thing is. Not only because
of home, but also because the tv ads for shows keep confusing you.
Thinking about what’s right and what’s wrong. About how stupid or rude
you just were to someone without meaning to be. About the point of all
this. About the sense of life. About who you want to be, what you want
to do. And about when that English essay is due, even though you’re
marks don’t count. About whether you should go home after school, or
hang out at someone’s place until midnight. Someone you didn’t even know
a few months ago. And about what the hell that guy just said.
Exchange is people. Those incredibly strange people, who look at you
like you’re an alien. Those people who are too afraid to talk to you.
And those people who actually talk to you. Those people who know your
name, even though you have never met them. Those people, who tell you
who to stay away from. Those people who talk about you behind your back,
those people who make fun of your country. All those people, who aren’t
worth your giving a damn. Those people you ignore. And those people who invite you to their homes. Who keep you sane. Who become your friends.
Exchange is music. New music, weird music, cool music, music you will
remember all your life as the soundtrack of your exchange. Music that
will make you cry because all those lyrics express exactly how you feel,
so far away. Music that will make you feel like you could take on the
whole world. And it is music you make. With the most amazing musicians
you’ve ever met. And it is site reading a thousand pages just to be part
of the school band. Exchange is uncomfortable. It’s feeling out of
place, like a fifth wheel. It’s talking to people you don’t like. It’s
trying to be nice all the time. It’s bugs.. and bears. It’s cold,
freezing cold. It’s homesickness, it’s awkward silence and its feeling
guilty because you didn’t talk to someone at home. Or feeling guilty
because you missed something because you were talking on Skype.
Exchange is great. It’s feeling the connection between you and your host
parents grow. It’s knowing in which cupboard the peanut butter is. It’s
meeting people from all over the world. It’s having a place to stay in
almost every country of the world. It’s cooking food from your home country and not messing up. It’s seeing beautiful landscapes that you never knew existed.
Exchange is exchange students. The most amazing people in the whole
wide world. Those people from everywhere who know exactly how you feel
and those people who become your absolute best friends even though you
only see most of them 3 or 4 times during your year. The people, who
take almost an hour to say their final goodbyes to each other. Those
people with the jackets full of pins. All over the world. Exchange is falling in love with this amazing, wild, beautiful country. And with your home country.
Exchange is frustrating. Things you can’t do, things you don’t
understand. Things you say, that mean the exact opposite of what you
meant to say. Or even worse… Exchange is understanding. Exchange is unbelievable. Exchange is not a year in your life. It’s a life in one year. Exchange is nothing like you expected it to be, and everything you wanted it to be. Exchange is the best year of your life so far. Without a doubt. And it’s also the worst. Without a doubt.
Exchange is something you will never forget, something that will always
be a part of you. It is something no one back at home will ever truly
understand. Exchange is growing up, realizing that everybody is the
same, no matter where they’re from. That there is great people and
douche bags everywhere. And that it only depends on you how good or bad
your day is going to be. Or the whole year. And it is realizing that
you can be on your own, that you are an independent person. Finally.
And it’s trying to explain that to your parents. Exchange is dancing
in the rain for no reason, crying without a reason, laughing at the
same time. It’s a turmoil of every emotion possible. Exchange is everything. And exchange is something you can’t understand unless you’ve been through it !