Many people wonder why someone would spend several thousand dollars on an exchange.
Those that have been on exchanges would tell you that it is definitely worth it. It’s not just one amazing experience during the exchange that makes it worth it, but it is a culmination of all these wonderful experiences joined together. Sure, there might be times where it gets bad like when you are bored in school or when you are overwhelmed because you can’t understand the language but overall, the good experiences definitely outweigh the challenging ones.
For all the students that went on the German exchange this year, we can all say that it was an experience that we will never forget.
When you first arrive in Germany, you may feel a wee bit overwhelmed for a multitude of reasons. Leaving your family for the first time, the 2 flights that ended up being over 26 hours long etc. Meeting your host family also might be a wee bit interesting, perhaps because their speaking in a foreign language that your brain can’t quite process yet, leading to a lot of head nods without understanding anything.
However, as you slowly get used to the way of living in Germany, you get more confident in using the language and soon you’re able to form connections and have conversations with the people there (can’t use banter there though, Germans don’t quite get it).
The German culture is very different to ours here in New Zealand and that in part was what made the exchange so special. Whether it was seeing BMWs, VWs and Audis everywhere on the street or experiencing a German Christmas, everything was very new to all of us.
For many of us, Berlin was the best experience. Being able to visit all sorts of places ranging from the German parliament building (Reichstagsgebäude) to the bomb shelters during the second world war was a fantastic experience. It’s also great to see all your friends from New Zealand again and you can meet the other people on the exchange as well.
In conclusion, I can definitely say that the German exchange is a wonderful way to spend your summer holidays. It gives you an opportunity here at McGlashan that we shouldn’t take for granted. All of us that went on the exchange thoroughly enjoyed our experience there and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of going. The exchange really allowed us to improve our German and gave us an experience that none of us will forget.