Living in Germany has really been a mixed bag! At times exciting and ecstatic, and others emotional and nerve wracking, but one thing is omnipresent, you always learn. Whether it’s the language, culture, or simply, just the German way; Germany really helped me in self development and growth. I did my exchange in Nürnberg, in the southern state of Bayern, Germany, in the region of Franconia and enjoyed everything about it. The city is perfectly sized (not too big not too small) and is steeped in history. I loved the proximity to big metropolises such as Munich (1 hour away) and Frankfurt (2,5 hours away) and precisely, loved the Baryrisch (Bavarian) and Frankisch (Franconian) culture, it was interesting and enriching, and really expanded my overview of Germany and gave me a more comprehensive judgement of the country, having previously visited other cities in the north.
My favorite thing was the freedom of travel and mobility the European Union brought about, this allowed us to travel to any of the 26 Schengen states without needing to go through immigration formalities and controls making the process easier and cheaper. Spending the weekend in another country, while returning to university classes as usual the following Monday was definitely a favorite. In total, I visited 20 countries in the region in 6 months! It really fueled and fed my wanderlust, and helped me learn things, I never could have learned in a classroom surrounded by 4 walls. Also, being a history buff, I used to enjoy the immense history everywhere in Germany; just walking around the city made me excited and was really a dream come true, and nothing topped any day off more than relaxing in the park with a beer while connecting with nature. My host university (TH Nürnberg) has really helped us in integrating and meeting new people and now, I have friends from over 15 countries, and we are well into planning trips to visit each other in our home countries!
The biggest challenge I faced was the language, particularly with the Franconian accent, but as soon as I got here, simply listening, practicing and embracing the language helped me further integrate and improve my fluency and linguistic skills. Speaking, listening and reading; that is the recipe for improving one’s fluency, even if at first the grammar is not perfect, with time it all gets better, and it got me more confident allowing me to further speak and integrate into the society. Another thing that I found challenging at first, was the cultural shock, as coming from a very collectivist culture, it clashed briefly when I arrived in Germany, which is a highly individualist society and culture, but it all teaches you to be flexible and blend in, which is a highly sought after and important skill in today’s globalized world. Germany really provided me with immense opportunities to grow and develop myself, and I will never forget that, and it will always remain in my heart and soul, as it allowed me to grow and develop myself in ways I could not have achieved back in my old comfort zone at home.