An Ominous Brown Envelope
I am very excited to say that after months of waiting, I finally know where I am going for my year abroad! I shall be in the biggest city of Thuringia, Erfurt. From my rushed research on Wikipedia (more to come later), its seems to be a beautiful city with around 200,000 residents. It is also the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany which is perfect for me as travelling around the country shouldn’t be too difficult!
For months I have been refreshing my email account multiple times each day in the hope that I would have finally ‘heard from Germany’ but to no avail. Instead, after a leisurely bike ride to the pub with my mum and brother, I was putting my bike back in the garage when I suddenly heard my mum calling my name. I looked round the corner to see her dancing like a mad woman waving a brown envelope around and saying “It’s addressed to Frau Emma Benson!!” It took me a moment to realise what she meant. IT’S FROM GERMANY.
Well, to cut a long story short, half an hour later I still hadn’t taken my shoes or coat off but I had rushed through most of the paperwork in the envelope. I’m going to a Berufschule (Beruf meaning job). My understanding of this is that it is a vocational school that people go to around two days a week after they have finished secondary school, if they are working towards an apprenticeship. It is possible to gain lots of skills there to prepare people for specific industries and it would seem that students there will already be being employed as an apprentice at a company but are there to gain any extra skills required. All this means that my students are likely to be either my age or older, not something I had really considered before now. This presents a whole new challenge to me but one I’m excited about and I have no doubt that working with students I can connect with more will be a very rewarding experience.
After the initial excitement I felt totally overwhelmed. This was all the news I had wanted to hear since I first applied for my assistantship in December. However, before I had the news, many of the things I need to do before I leave couldn’t be done yet, I didn’t have enough information. Now though, all the things I need to organise, flights, accommodation, erasmus grants and so on and so on, can actually be done. This news brings with it a wonderful sense of empowerment. I can now actively prepare and I should feel much more in control. But there is a LOT to do and every time I seem to get something done, I seem to find two more things I need to get on with.
That’s always the way with these things though isn’t it. In order for it to all work well, things have to be organised properly and I do love a bit of organisation :). I’ve woken up this morning with a new, very very excited, head on my shoulders. I have been granted a place at a completely different sort of school than any I have had experience of previously and whilst that was daunting at first, now, I just can’t wait to arrive. Also, Erfurt is just about the best place I could have ended up in Thuringia. Finally, I don’t have to go until the end of September which is later than I expected, leaving me with lots of extra time to make sure I’m completely ready.
This new development has made my year abroad real in a way that it wasn’t really before. That’s scary, definitely but its exciting too. My year abroad is edging ever closer and let me tell you, I can’t wait.