I’ve realized that its been almost 2 months since I left for Europe, and much of that time has been spent living in Germany. Still, I have not really posted on daily life here or the experiences I have had. In a nutshell, I have loved being in Heidelberg, though adjusting to a new culture and different way of life has its ups and downs.

For the month of May, I attended a pre-semester German course at the University language institute. I tested into A2 level and attended class from the morning into early afternoon every day. The course increased my vocabulary, listening skills, and vocabulary significantly. My German isn’t great, but I can now generally understand what is going on and have the vocabulary to find my way around and make a bit of small talk. Another activity that has helped with this is SMD’s Life Cafe language course/Bible study, a Sunday evening event organized by local students to help teach German to international students through Bible stories. Getting to know and speak German to (very patient) native speakers has been so helpful. I’ve also been attending a German/English church that translates everything spoken in both languages, which has been helpful for learning new vocabulary and meeting local citizens.

The semester officially starts on April 15, so I have spent most of my time with other international students who where also taking the pre-semester course. There are several student excursions set up by the Erasmus student network that have been a fun way to get to know people from all over the world. That may be one of the best parts about the exchange so far – getting to experience such an international community.

Outside of class, I have done so many interesting things! I have done a lot of Hiking around Heidelberg, taken trips to Kaiserslautern and Waldorf, picnicked on the Nekar river, attended the Karneval parade, and explored the Altstadt of Heidelberg. Now that the weather is getting better, I am looking forward to more excursions near Heidelberg to local gardens, castles, and rivers. Below are some of the pictures of my little adventures as I have settled into everyday life here.