What connotations spring to mind when you hear the word Germany? A country whose inhabitants while away the days dressed in Lederhosen, drinking Beer out of Stein’s, and eating Wurst and Sauerkraut? A land of strictly organised people whose technological minds have no equal and whose car firms brag about their ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’?
Esther is 22 years old, and is studying Politics and International Relations with French at the University of Kent. She spent her year abroad studying in Lille, France, from September 2012 to June this year. Here are her experiences of the four stages of a year abroad.
Why is Spain in a crisis? What is this ‘siesta’ nonsense? Why is the Mercadona jingle so catchy? These were just some of the seemingly unanswerable questions I asked myself when I started my Year Abroad in Spain five months ago, but perhaps the most pressing question, and the one that required the most urgent response, was: when is it socially/morally/ethically acceptable to give a besito?
How hard could it be to move to another English-speaking country? How much culture shock are you really likely to experience? Actually, quite a bit. The thing with doing a year abroad in Canada is that you expect it to be British with a few quirks and slightly American sounding accents. And then you arrive and the signs are in French and the people speak at you in something which sort of resembles French but also really doesn’t.
Rosie is doing her whole degree in France, so she has a unique insight into the differences between French and English approaches to university life. Here's her advice for students preparing for the culture shock of studying abroad in France...