In the Summer of 2012, I began the transformation that is study abroad in Giessen, Germany. I went with who I thought I was, and with all the people that I met, I got to know me and my culture the most.

Imagine you’re a dog, happy enough in your own backyard, food, toys, walks and your friends at the local dog park. Now imagine that you were taken and placed in the wild, a place you only dreamed about. There are so many smells, sounds and interseting creatures you discover. It can be really scary at times, and all you want is to curl up in your doghouse and chew on your favourite toy, but, somehow, you know that going back will never be the same. This is how it is when you leave Brisbane and get to Europe.

Go with an open mind and an open heart, don’t use too much Australian slang. Prepare to feel dumb at times because you only speak one or two languaes, not 5 like your Ukranian neighbour. Prepare to meet people from places you have never heard of, make friends you never want to lose and learn to eat sauerkraut. My time in Giessen was out of this world. I grew so much, I partied in castles, protested in the streets, dressed up for the football (Germans are acutally insane when it comes to football), and drank more beer than you can imagine. I would suggest you just go there and see for yourself. Don’t be shy, you are interesting!

I do have some tips for Giessen, so here they are.

  • GET A BIKE the city centre is a city centre – but the rural surrounds are PERFECT and there is no where a bike cannot go! You can pick them up for as cheap as 30 euro from the local Flohmarkt (fleamarket, bus 12).
  • Don’t bring clothes – they are better and cheaper everywhere here
  • Hold of alcohol for a few months before you get here so your liver has time to cleanse and prepare. – think of it as a clean slate.
  • Everywhere you go, every ticket you buy or coffee you drink, flash your student card for royal discounts.
  • Don’t be shy to ask the international staff at JLU a million and one questions.
  • When on your bike, or even the buses, go explore the surrounding towns!

They way the University operates is very different from UQ. You can’t do lectopia and you will have a lot of presentations to do. It’s so good, I loved this way of learning.

Giessen is a town that is designed for students, by students. Any sport, language, food, dance class or what have you are there for you.

Drink Apfelwine and be merry.

 

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