This past week I had the privilege of showing my sister around Freiburg. She visited over Germany's Ascension Day break for 6 days. It was so much fun to have her here because I missed her but also because it gave me a chance to realize how much Freiburg has become my home.
There is nothing like getting to show family members around a place you have grown to known well. Seeing their expressions as they try and see news places is exciting. It reminded me of how I felt when I first arrived abroad - excited and ready to take in lots of new knowledge. One of my favorite moments was taking my sister to my favorite Freiburg cafe. We got to eat pastries together and I told her how I sometimes leave for class early just to stop and get a croissant. It helped her get a glimpse into my daily life abroad.
It's hard to explain to family what it's really like to be abroad. While pictures and blog posts can help show it, it's difficult to portray what everyday life is like. It's easy to show travel photos, but much harder to describe more mundane things like how I walk to class and where I like to sit outside with my friends to do homework. Freiburg has a very lively, but also subtle culture that's hard to capture unless you're here.
It was also exciting to show off the German that I have been learning while abroad. Although I am far from fluent with only a couple of months abroad, it was fun to show my sister how I can order food and get around on my own. It's exciting to get to show off a skill that I would not normally get to use in the United States. I even got to teach her a couple of phrases that she was using by the end of the week.
While I use my German and the confidence I have gained while abroad every day, having a family member here to show it off gave me a good benchmark. It was a reminder of how much I have grown while abroad. It makes you feel accomplished when you are able to recommend restaurants and take someone you love to the places you love. Getting to share your abroad experience is a special gift and one that I appreciated more than I thought I would. I can’t wait to have my parents come and show Freiburg to them as well!
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<p>My name is Sarah and I am studying environmental studies and journalism. Although born and raised in upstate New York, I now go to college in Washington, DC. My perfect day involves eating lots of good food and getting lost on a hike.</p>