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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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 take part in the British Council Assistantship scheme. I am based in a little town called Zülpich, 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 Würzburg 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!

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