The thought of being away from the comfort of your home can be quite overwhelming at times. However, once you think about all the new adventures that await you when you step out of your comfort zone, you will feel excited and happy. I felt FREE when I arrived in Berlin for my 5-month student exchange programme. Learning to be independent is something which a textbook can’t teach. It has to be nurtured and experienced.
Arriving in Berlin was exciting. I was full of hope and excitement as it was the first time I was away from home for a long period of time and I hoped that it will be a fun learning experience. However, being in a foreign country, one has to adapt to the climate and environment. When your surroundings seem strange and unfamiliar to you, the feeling starts to overwhelm you. But once you get adjusted and settled into a routine, life in Berlin starts to feel normal. And, most importantly, it starts to feel like HOME!
But, during my first few days here, there were a few hiccups here and there. It’s the same for anyone who has ever been to a new country with a whole different culture.
Here’s some tips when you’re in a foregin country:
- Know sign-language or simple hand gestures. It’s exceptionally helpful when you don’t know the spoken language. For example, you can use your fingers to ask how much the price of an object is.
- Be smiley (: Being cheerful and having a smile on your face always helps. No matter if the weather is terribly cold, you’ll enjoy yourself throughout the whole trip. Just smiling to strangers on the trams or trains also helps, because you’d never know when your smile can brighten someone’s day.
- Know polite phrases or words in the native language. For example, ‘bitte’ and ‘danke’ in German, which respectively mean ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in English.
Those are some personal tips that I find useful to me. Till now, I still use them on a daily basis as I have yet to master the German language.
Coming from sunny Singapore, being in Berlin has been a whole new change. Different climate, culture and people. But I find that it is a whole new world where I have to live and grow in. It’s a nice feeling to be independent. Hope that I’ll become a better person after this 5 months.
If you want to know about Singapore, the city that I come from, please feel free to ask me (maybe I’ll even blog about in the future!)
Till next time, ta ta! (: