Mittwoch, 14. Juni 2017

A Summary of April and May

Ok so like I said im going to try and smash this blog out so I can catch up to where I currently am in May. Lets go from the end of the last one.

The UK. Well lets just say that was one pretty intense week. After the exam for my language course I had a solid 10 days in which to travel before orientation week began. I didn’t want to waste this time so I took the plunge and bought some tickets to fly to the UK. I wanted to go there to catch up with an old friend who I had met in Sydney the year before. I managed to get some very very cheap flights with Ryan air, 50 euro return in fact. It wasn’t long however before it became apparent why Ryan air is so cheap. For those who have never flown with them before, here are some tips. Check in online. If you don’t it’s a 50 euro fee to check in at the counter. The size of your carry on is effectively what’s restricted. That’s right, even though your carry on baggage is well under 7kg, if it doesn’t fit into this rigid rectangular box you’ll be slapped with another 50 euro fee. Ryan air makes its dollars by slapping you with plenty of hidden little fees that even the most vigilant of customers will miss. My bag didn’t actually make the cut when I arrived at the airport but luckily, I only had clothes and it was just a matter of rebuilding the way it was packed until it fit. Once I arrived in the UK we hit the ground running. There was a lot planned and not a lot of time. We went straight to London right on the first day where we spent two nights. There we naturally did plenty of sight seeing, making it past big ben, the tower of London, the tower bridge, Saint Pauls cathedral, Buckingham palace and the Camden markets. We spent the nights drinking plenty of beer and meeting some pretty cool people in our hostel. As a complete coincidence, some of them were actually Germans who lived and studied in Munich and whom id later catch up with. On the first night, we also decided to take part in possibly the worst pub crawl on earth. We were told that on weekends it racks up over 100 participants which led us to believe that on a Monday we could expect at least 30. In the end there was a total of 7 of us and the minute we had had our free drinks we were well on our way back to the hostel to hang out with our new friends from our dorm. After London, we headed to Dover which was a surprisingly good stop. The castle there has awesome views of the surrounding landscape and inside has actors performing small skits throughout to give you an idea of what life would have been like in the middle ages. The war time tunnels also had some very thorough tours that gave an insight to war time dover. For my week in the UK I was incredibly lucky with the weather and from Dover we could see Calais and the French coastline. I actually didn’t pack properly because I didn’t even check the weather. I just naturally assumed that the word England meant cold and wet, in the end I actually got burnt. After the castle and the tunnels, we went to take a look at the famous “white cliffs of dover” but to my surprise they were not actually that impressive. From land, you can’t actually see them and of what you can see it’s not actually that white. We then spent the night in Canterbury which turned out to be a really neat little student town. From what we saw, there were plenty of small bars, clubs and cafes on the main strip and the cathedral was fairly impressive. It was a shame we didn’t spend the day there, but nevertheless a night out instead turned out to be not too bad. With a fairly solid hangover, we hit the road the next day towards Eastbourne and the town of Battle. Battle hosts the original field on which the battle of Hastings was fought. It was a decent history trip but maybe not as impressive as dover. We then spent a night in Eastbourne watching the sunset and drinking beer at beachy head (Not sure if that’s the name but something along those lines). Here there were more chalk cliffs and if anything, they made me question the hype over the cliffs at dover. If you’re a real white cliff enthusiast I would implore you not to waste your time with dover, go straight to the south coast. Here the cliffs with their views over the ocean and the downs were 100 times better, especially at sunset. From Eastbourne, we travelled to Brighton and if anyone has ever been super enthusiastic about how beautiful Brighton is, it’s because it is. The boulevard and the peer is a complete step back in time. The feeling is so old fashioned, or better yet old world. If you took a black and white photograph of it I bet you 9 times out of 10 someone else couldn’t guess when it had been taken. There I did the typical “English thing” and have fish and chips on a stony beach. It was alright. After another heavy night out we went to Stonehenge. I have seen countless TV shows and documentaries from the discovery channel on Stonehenge and so was naturally keen to see the monument. Although in the end the stones weren’t as big as I had thought, the story about how they were brought there was still impressive. I spent my last two nights in my friend’s home town where we sussed the local brewery, went rowing on the Thames and saw a very old village. I covered a lot of ground in the UK and had a great time but it would not have been the same without the hospitality of my friend and his family. The whole time I was there, instead of having to catch trains and buses everywhere, my friend offered to drive. In addition, I was also able to spend a few nights at his place and a night in Eastbourne at his grandparents. With this, I was able to get a more authentic English experience whilst saving countless pounds at the same time. For that, I am immensely grateful.

Eastbourne cliffs


After the UK I returned to Munich only to jump straight back into O week. As I hadn’t properly moved into my new apartment yet, I arrived home to a bunch of suitcases and a fair amount of admin work. For the next couple of days the reality of having your own apartment settled in and with it the hidden costs that you never really thought about when you wrote your budget. Towels, a clothes line, a washing basket, a bin, just some of the things that you casually don’t think about when you’re faced with the cost of bigger things such as flights, rent and insurance. After finally settling in so began what I call the month of the endless hangover. What’s this you might ask? Its called being an exchange student, studying at university and living in student housing simultaneously. It is an endless timetable of parties, socials and activities that involve more than enough alcohol. All I can say is the month was a blur and as much as at the time it was super fun by then end of it I was left with an empty feeling inside and a realisation that I hadn’t really achieved a lot besides falling comfortably behind in university and murdering countless braincells. Despite that, there are some of the events I’ll never forget and one of these few was my time at the Frühlingsfest. There I caught up with my new pals from London and armed with my new Lederhosen, in which I felt like a million bucks, we danced, sang and drunk the night away (also danced, sang and drunk my house keys away which cost me 150 euro to replace).

During this month of the endless hangover I also started university and with it my first German lectures. Entering my first lecture was nerve racking. Here I was, where I had worked so hard to reach. The lecture started with the Einführung (Introduction) in which I understood everything boosting my confidence dramatically, however this was short lived as when the professor started with the actual Inhalt (content) I did not understand a thing. Leaving the class I was in shock, instead of writing notes I had written a vocab list. After sending a few shell shocked messages to some friends I was assured that this was normal and once I had learnt the vocab then I wouldn’t have a problem.
Now that Uni had started, I was moving a lot more around the city of Munich. The public transport is actually really good so this is a piece of cake, however when one travels with the train they miss a lot of the city. As a result, I thought that buying a bike would be a good idea. Not only that, with a bike I would be able to ride to some of the lakes around Munich which would make for some good day trips. I thought that it would be a good idea to hit up one of the flea markets around town and pick myself up a bike. So there I was in a very dodgy carpark looking at dodgy bikes being sold by dodgy looking people. I gave some of the bikes a go to see how they ride and in the end I managed to find one that was pretty good for a decent price. It had solid breaks, new wheels and the gears seemed to work just fine. I therefore proceeded to hand 70 Euros to the shady Russian man, took the bike and rode off. It was kind of strange as the whole procedure was very unofficial for all I know the bike could have been stolen. It had been hot the entire day with not a cloud in the sky, however as soon as I got on my bike the clouds decided to roll on in and open up. It absolutely poured down and on my first ever ride I got completely drenched. Not only that, the minute I arrived home I noticed some strange noises coming from my bike. After no more than 20 minutes riding, the gears all of a sudden sounded kind of funny. I was worried that I had been conned and I became frustrated with myself but in the end, up and until this day, the bike works just fine. With this bike, I have ridden to the Ammersee and around the Starnbergersee. These are two lakes just on the outskirts of Munich which to anyone who comes and visits I would definitely recommend.


It is fast approaching 6 months in Germany and I need to admit that I finally have felt a bit of homesickness. It hit me in the early weeks of May. I found that Uni was hard, I was drinking a lot, not achieving anything and I was spending a lot of time at home, on top of this it wasn’t getting any warmer, in fact it was so cold on one of the days it snowed. As a result, I began to miss my time in Stuttgart and slowly but surely being at home. In both of those places I was in control and in familiar territory. To this day I still feel a bit home sick but in the last couple of weeks it has really warmed up and I have become more accustomed to the life style.

As for my German in the last couple of weeks, I believe that I have hit a wall. What I mean by that is that I don’t feel its improving anymore. My day to day language is still English and as a result when I start talking with German people I need about an hour to familiarise myself with the language. After that I can hold a decent conversation, however the problem is that the next day I speak English again. When I meet with these German people the next week, because I’ve been speaking English the whole week, I go right back to where I started and require that hour again to familiarise. I personally think that the next step is really switching languages. I need to spend every day speaking in German in order to improve from here on in.

Today is the first of June and as you can see it has taken me a long time to write this blog again (Edit: its actually now the 14th of June it took me even longer just to post it). Now that I think I have caught up, from here on in hopefully I can do shorter smaller blogs that describe individual experiences in a lot of detail.

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