… both on my study year abroad in 2017-18 and since returning to study for my masters about 18 months ago, I have frequently been asked the same question, ‘Where do you come from?’. Upon my answer of the UK, the second question usually follows, ‘If you come from the UK, why are you in Germany?’. My usual answer to this question is, ‘Well, why not?’.
Is it so unheard of that a British person would want to live abroad? I think people perhaps ask this question on the assumption that the UK is a good place to live, and therefore Germany cannot be that much better.
I hear you ask, ’Why study German in the first place when English is your first language?’ For many reasons.
But here are three reasons I chose to study in Germany:
I hear you ask, ’Why study German in the first place when English is your first language?’ For many reasons. Firstly, I’m lucky enough to have a brother who showed me that I could combine my degree and study two subjects I enjoy at the same time. In my case these were Geography and German. Support from my parents, good German teachers at school, school trips to Germany, persistence and hard work also brought me to where I am today. But the most important reason why I continued to learn German was…
Morris dancing is a form of English folk dance and is practised in the small village where I grew up. A couple who are members of our local Morris dance group, spend some of their time living in a village called Ungstein in Germany, and the rest near my village in the UK. In Ungstein they belong to a Trachtengruppe, a German folk dance group that wears traditional dresses. Of course, this called for a dance exchange between the two groups and soon our Morris dancing neighbours knocked on our door and asked if we wanted to host two Germans girls from the Trachtengruppe Ungstein. They had been invited to dance in our annual village carnival. Because my sister and I were of a similar age to the German girls and we were both learning German in school this sounded like a perfect opportunity. After a shy start all round, the four of us became friends, which led to many a visit both in Germany and in the UK from then on. Knowing and speaking German properly for the first time with people with German as their first language spurred me on to learn and find out more about the real Germany, not just the one that I saw in films or read about in my textbook.
Learning a language has taught me so much more than just words, it has taught me how to communicate more effectively and has opened me up to a whole new adventure in another country, where I have met some lovely people. After my year abroad in Germany, I knew that I wanted to come back. I had established relationships in Germany, and I was pulled in by Germany’s great study and work opportunities, especially as I already had a command of the German language and the semester fees in Germany are much lower than in the UK. So, at the end of my bachelor’s degree, the world (or to be more exact, Germany) was my oyster.