‘Have you seen my blue sheep?’

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Okay, so I’ve now been in Heidelberg for a month and it’s safe to say that I’ve learnt a lot.┬á Owing to the fact that I’ve just been doing a Sprachkurs (language course), I’ve been able to have a lot of fun, but of course there have been many, many things to get used to in moving to a new country and uni!

Heidelberg in the sun

You don’t have to leave H for a beautiful view ­čÖé

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T minus 10, 9, 8, 7…

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My bags are not packed. ┬áMy accommodation at Heidelberg University is unknown (it’s confirmed, but confusingly they can’t tell me where yet).

Yet as I wistfully consider how I’m going to miss Durham and stare out of the window at the pouring rain┬áoutside (pathetic fallacy: check), I’m overcome with excitement.┬á I want to run out the door and jump into the swelling puddles outside.┬á I might just do so after writing this. Continue reading

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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As my time in Germany came to an end I had the perfect end to a wonderful 6 months abroad, with a play that I directed and produced at the school I was working at.

The best thing about doing a British Council Placement is the flexibility that comes with it. It’s well paid, you only work twelve hours a week and it’s up to you to encourage and help the students learn English, and this doesn’t just have to be in lesson time. Continue reading

Carnival in Cologne

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Crazy, loud and just plain bizarre. 

This was the most exciting weekend that I have had in Cologne so far.

Cologne is renowned for its Karneval celebrations which take place mainly over one weekend in February, but the festival officially starts on November 11th. For the entire weekend Cologne is full of partygoers, dressed up as anything from Minions to iPhones. 

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Cologne Cathedral

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My housemate, dressed as an iPhone

┬áK├Âlle Alaaf! (Long Live Cologne!)

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Christmas in Cologne

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Christmas in Cologne is heaven of sweet cinnamon smells and glittering lights lighting up the grey city – despite the festive season being over, I felt that the markets could not go without a mention here. Many Germans still have their Christmas trees and light up in their windows, so I felt that it was still appropriate…

I really couldn’t recommend Cologne enough at Christmas.

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Stereotypes

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The topic ‘stereotypes’ is a difficult one to deal with – not only in a personal sense but also when living in another country, and when teaching in the classroom. On the training weekend for my placement in my German school we took part in a mock lesson about whether stereotypes are good. Difficult topic – everyone automatically said no, stereotypes are bad and false and we were advised to avoid them.

Yet according to my German flatmates, I embody all things stereotypically British.

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Germany! First impressions

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I have recently moved to Cologne in the North West of Germany for the second part of my year abroad to┬átake part in the British Council Assistantship scheme. I am based in a little town called Z├╝lpich, working in a Gymnasium (a German grammar school). I only work twelve hours a week there to support English lessons/teach English lessons. I had heard mixed opinions from previous students about undertaking an assistantship placement organised by the British Council and it seems that each person has their own very different personal experience in their own school. For me the British Council has provided an extremely strong professional and personal support system for this placement, and I couldn’t recommend it enough from my experience so far.

cologne cathedral

Cologne Cathedral

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T -3 Days

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It is now only 3 days before I head off to Germany to study at the University of W├╝rzburg and all of the paperwork is now in place. To give some idea of the kind of things that one is required to organise I’ve listed some of them here:

1. Erasmus forms
2. Flights
3. Trains
4. Travel insurance
5. University insurance and placement agreement
6. Accommodation
7. Academic programme

All in all it has taken around 8 months to get this far but now that everything has been arranged the excitement is kicking in (as well as the nerves).

The biggest tip that I could give to anyone about to start this process would be to keep in touch with the International Office, both of your home and host institutions a they will be able to help you with most problems and will make your life much easier!

Bis n├Ąchste mal