I am writing this post from the comfort of a home I lived in from 2016-2017 just outside of Hamburg, Germany. I took a gap year after graduating from high school and worked as an au pair here, looking after two children whose mother was my au pair when I was a child! It was a cool “circle of life” kind of experience because she has known me since I was young, plus she knew what it was like to be an au pair herself. I have had a wonderful week playing with the kids, going back into Hamburg, and catching up with my host parents and friends I have not seen for two years. I decided to come back here before heading to Berlin because I missed them all so much!
To give some background about myself, my interest in learning and studying German began from having au pairs from Germany. When I found out my high school offered German as a language option, I knew I wanted to try it out. I got hooked on the language and had an opportunity to do an exchange program in high school, allowing me to host a German student for a month and then live with her during the following summer. I caught the travel bug and knew I wanted to go back. During my gap year, I had the fortunate experience of being able to travel on weekends to many different cities throughout Europe. I had been itching to go back to Germany upon my return to the States, and the opportunity finally came when I applied to study abroad.
I have been to Berlin a couple of times to visit, but only for a few days each time. I am looking forward to spending more time there, exploring areas I have not visited before and getting to know people from the city as well as in my program. I play ultimate frisbee for my college club team, so my goal is to find others to play and throw around with. The frisbee community in the States tends to be friendly and inviting, so I am hopeful to find that in Berlin as well. I am also excited to use my German regularly again, both in class and in everyday life, because I have not used it much since being home from my gap year outside of classes. It will also be fun to live in Europe again to continue my travel adventures!
That said, I have to acknowledge how fortunate I am to be in my position. I am familiar with the language and the culture since I have lived in Germany before, I already know people here, but most importantly, I can blend in. I am white and cisgender, like many of the people I will encounter in Berlin. I can also afford to come to Germany—multiple times in the last five years—and have had the opportunity to not only explore this country, but other European cities as well. Although I can whine all I want about how much I hate packing, how annoying jet lag is, or how inconvenient a long layover is, I recognize it is a privilege to embark on yet another German adventure. I approach this experience as an opportunity to further immerse myself in the German culture. I cannot wait to start my classes, meet my host family, and begin my semester in Berlin!
That is where my head is at as I prepare to catch my train to Berlin. I have another fantastic opportunity to live abroad, work on my German, and make new connections. I am ready for my new adventure to begin!
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<p>I am a rising junior at Connecticut College majoring in Architectural Studies. When I am not studying or constructing three-dimensional architecture models, I can be found playing ultimate frisbee or helping run the Womxn's Empowerment Initiative at Conn. After graduating from high school, I took a gap year to work as an au pair near Hamburg, Germany, so I could not be more excited to return to the country and share with you my adventures!</p>