Are You Even Studying?

Sam Hubbard
November 3, 2017

It’s really easy to romanticize studying abroad with amazing pictures of countless beautiful cities. I’ll admit that I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of only posting pictures of my days that are “cooler” or more interesting than my average day. However, I think there’s much beauty to be had in the seemingly mundane, and I want to share what my average day looks like in order to keep it real.

My day starts at 7:30am, sometimes earlier depending on how early my little German brother decides to start yelling for his mom to get him out of bed. I make my bed and get dressed and then head upstairs to eat breakfast. By this point, I can hear my host mom battling her kids to get them to brush their teeth. I think I find cross-culture similarities even more interesting than differences. There’s just something about brushing teeth that children seem to hate, even German ones. The children come upstairs and put on what seems like a thousand layers of clothing, even though the high for the day is only 60. Then comes my favorite part of the day: my little German sister and brother saying bye to me before they head for school. No matter the mood that they’re in, their mother always has them say goodbye to me before they leave, and it’s always the most precious thing to hear them say “Tschüss Samantha,” which sounds more like “Semanta” due to pronunciation differences and the lake of the “th” sound that we have in English. I look forward to this part of my day everyday.

I finish eating and brush my teeth and then head out the door to walk a few minutes to the tram. After riding for approximately twenty minutes, I get off and make my way to the student center for class. Depending on how late I get out of class, I might stop by one of my favorite cafés, The Holzmarkt Café or Café Haus, to grab a chocolate croissant, Spiegeleier (sunny side up eggs), or small coffee. The workers at the cafés are always so friendly, and I feel like a local when I go there because I have a coffee stamp rewards card at Holzmarkt (only three more coffees until I get a free one!) and the waitress at Café Haus has my order memorized.

Typically for lunch, a few other students and I will head to the Mensa, which is the equivalent of a cafeteria or dining hall. It offers (at least I think) four options for lunch and is super cheap. It definitely has the vibe of being a part of the university, which is why I think I like it, because although the portions are really large and inexpensive, it’s pretty hit or miss when it comes to the taste.

After lunch I’ll either head back to the IES Abroad student center or to the university library to work on some homework before afternoon classes start. By the time I’m done with class it’s pretty late in the afternoon/evening and I feel like my day has been eaten up. I’ll head back home and my host family is usually eating dinner by this point. While they eat, I’ll workout in my room or work on some homework. I’ll start making my dinner when they come down stairs to read before going to bed, getting to hear another “Tschüss Semanta” (my second favorite part of my average day) before they start their bedtime story.

Following dinner, more homework. Though I don’t have as much homework as I do at my home college, it takes me longer to complete a much smaller task because I have to stop to look up words and then typically reread to understand the entirety of my homework. Just like at home, I have readings and presentations to prepare, just entirely in another language. After homework is complete, my day is concluded.

Although it’s definitely easy to paint the false impression that everyday is an adventure while studying abroad, that isn’t how it actually is. Just like back home, I have good days, bad days, and average days. However, I find that it has been in these days that I rediscover some things about myself that I had forgotten before coming here. As much as I look forward to more of my adventures, I hope that I continue to learn and grow just as much in my average days as I do in my adventure days.

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Sam Hubbard

<p>I love my hometown of Lexington, SC, where the weather is usually VERY hot. There are few things I love more than cozy-ing up with a great book to read! I also enjoy writing, exercising, and playing sports. I dabble in painting and photography, though I am new to the art of taking photos. I can't resist a coffee date filled with good conversation.</p>

2017 Fall
Home University:
Wofford College
Lexington, SC
German Language
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