LingoMap: Being a young person in a German speaking country

Hallo! Welcome to my very first LingoMap blog post! It seems a little strange writing my first post having already been here for one semester, but that just means that I have more to write about!

Since my arrival here I’ve been living with a German lady in her house. I was told von Anfang an that the Norddeutscher are a bit frosty, but I’ve found the complete opposite to be true. My landlady and her daughter and granddaughter (who come every day for Mittagessen with us) have made me feel like I’m a part of the family, and the little village where I live has become a real Zuhause. According to my landlady, or Gastoma, sind die Norddeutscher wie ein Kuhlschrank – sie können ein bisschen kalt am Anfang sein aber wenn die Tür geöffnet ist, wird es gleich schön warm. And in my opinion, das stimmt!

Das niedersächsisches Schulsystem

One of the worries which would nag me before I got here was the cost of living, but thankfully there is a lot in place to help arme Studenten un Schülern. For example, it’s quite common here to have to pay monthly for a Bankkonto, but for students it’s kostenlos – just take your Studentenausweis with you to set up an account. Similarly, students often receive discounts on Busfahrkarte, although I have yet to find a UniDays alternative here! But the German government doesn’t just help young people to find their feet by offering günstige Fahrkarte und Bankkontos – the education system is designed to give pupils every possible opportunity to study what they want to and be what they want to. I started to notice this in the Primary School that I work in, where I often hear Year 4 students talking about whether they want to go to a Realschule and later do a Praktikum, or whether they want to go to a Gymnasium and take their Abitur. Schools here are divided a bit differently to those in the UK. After graduating from the Grundschule, pupils decide whether they would rather attend a more academic secondary school (Gymnasium oder Gesamtschule) or a school with a more hands-on approach to learning (Realschule oder Hauptschule). After five years there, pupils can decide whether to take their Abitur, which are the German equivalent of A-Levels, or to complete a Berufsbildung. A lot of young people also apply for a job alongside their studies, usually as a Kellner/in or Nachhilflehrer/in (which is also a good idea when you’re on your Year Abroad – it’s a great way to practice the language and meet new people!). After that, like us, they can choose to study in a Universität or to jump straight into der Welt des Arbeits. That’s quite a lot for my Year 4 students to be thinking about already, but they’re well prepared for the Entscheidung!

On the other hand life in Germany isn’t all just full of worries about what school you’re going to go to. There are a lot of Vereins to help take your mind off the bad grades you got in Maths last week. Whether you’re into gardening, sowing, playing an instrument or learning new languages there’s a different club for everyone. Einfach anmelden und los geht’s!

Das Arbeit unterbrechen: Weihnachtslieder spielen am Tannenhof mit meinem Musikverei

Im Zusammenfassung, habe ich mein erstes Semester hier in Deutschland total genossen. Durch meiner Gastfamilie habe ich eine Quelle von Unterstützung und ich freue mich sehr, ein Teil der Familie zu sein. Ich habe auch Glück gehabt, neue Freundschaften durch ein Lauftreff und Musikverein zu schlieβen, sowie als auch bei meiner Arbeit in der Schule, aber darüber werde ich in ein zukünftiges Blog schreiben!

Ich hoffe, dass ich dich ein kleines Aussicht in das Leben als Jugendliche in Deutschland gegeben habe und bin gespannt, gleich mehr von meiner Erfahrungen mit dir zu teilen.

Bis bald!

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