Continually thinking in German

I'm now back a month after spending two months in Germany as an exchange student. It was an amazing experience and I'd even go as far as saying the best two months of my life!. I had soooooo much fun. I made many friends who I hope to have for a long time (some are planning on visisting me in the summer hols), I got to experience another culture and have grown to love it, I've tried many new things, become more organised and independant and my German has improved immensly.

Brid McConnell and her classmates in Germany. Brid spend 2 months in a German Gymnasium, living with a German host family and living the life of a normal German teenager.I'm now fairly fluent and confident at speaking the language and I can understand what people are saying quite easily. My goal for the two month was to improve my German so that I'd be able to have a normal conversation with natives, to get to know and appreciate the German culture and to make friends. I achieved what I wanted to and even more. I'm now in the process of reading my second book in German. That's something that would have been unimaginable 3 months ago. Some might think I'm weird but at the weekends, when I have time I even watch my favourite German T.V. programmes.

When I first came back, I was constantly thinking in German and spoke a few words here and there by accident! I was delighted to see my family and friends again but I really do miss my German family, my friends, the schoolsystem and the lifestyle in general. I found it quite easy to adjust to the German way of life and it was a pleasant experiece but when I returned I found it quite hard to get back to my old routine. The school in Germany started  at 8 and finished at 1.15/3.15,  there was no uniform, the schools were mixed and their was not as much emphasis on written homework. This meant that I had loads of time for hobbies in the afternoon, I could spend time with family and friends and just relax. As you can imagine, it was a lot different when I came home as school and schoolwork practically dominates the day. I also experienced culture shock for a while. I kept complaining about Ireland and comparing it to Germany and almost everything here seemed to frustrate me! Things are only getting back to normal in the last week

I've enjoyed sharing my stories and experiences with my classmates and friends. I even told them the  stories where I made a complete and utter fool of myself trying to explain things without the propper words. We all had a laugh at my expense but they learned many "need to know" phrases :P People seem to be quite interested in hearing about my time in Germany and some of my classmates are even making the effort to speak to me in German outside of the classroom! After doing the exchange, I have more respect for Irish culture and realise that it is unique like every culture is, I've more respect for the German culture and every other culture in general. I'm more interested and passionate about learning languages (though especially German)  Learning languages in my opinion is never boring, because no matter how much you know, there's always more to learn and there's always room  for improvement. I'm even considering learning another language

After spending 2 months in Germany, I'm 99.9999% sure that I want to pursue a carrer in German. I plan to become an Irish/German teacher or become a translator.

I'd like to thank EIL for giving me the opportunity to participate in the "Secondary School Abroad Programme", my German teacher for telling me about the travel award and nominating me and also my school who allowed me to go to Germany for 2 months. It sounds a bit cliché but it was a dream come true!!!!

Bríd McConnell <3 88888888