So in case you didn't know this already, I'm studying abroad this month in Germany! Somehow it seems that there are people I still have not told. This town is beautiful, and the architecture and history is stunning! But here are some things that took me a back a little at first.
1. The Homesickness
You might be thinking, "Really, Hannah? You should have expected that." Eh, maybe I should have. But I didn't. This whole year I was a 30-hour drive away from home. I should have been homesick then, but I really wasn't. I was blessed with a fairly smooth transition into college. However, the transition from the United States to Germany has been a bit more drastic than the transition from California to Tennessee. I wasn't quite prepared and got very homesick my second day here.
2. The Language Barrier
I've traveled abroad a lot, so I'm no stranger to being around a foreign language. But I know a fair amount of Spanish, and most of those travels have been in Latin America, so I've been able to do basic things like ordering food. But I didn't realize how much I really don't know German until I came here. I've been studying since November, but I haven't been able to really practice. So the language barrier has been a real struggle for me in the few days I've been here already.
3. Jet Lag
I've been here about a week and my sleep schedule is still skewed. I tried to stay up until 10 p.m. last Thursday to get it back to normal, but I just couldn't last past 8. The first few days I was here, I was seriously out of it. On the way back from the Waschalon (laundromat), I wanted to point out a really cool building. But instead I said, "That tree is really pretty." Don't get me wrong, the trees here are lovely, but that wasn't what I wanted to say.
4. The Outlets
Frst off, don't even dream of using a surge protector. I blew a fuse on the first night here that way. Don't do it. For European outlets, or really anywhere outside of America I think, you'll need an adapter. And for some electronics, like my beloved 3DS, you'll need a voltage adapter. I don't have one of those, so my games are put on hold for a bit.
International plans are expensive, man. Turn your cellular data off before you even leave the US because that bill racks up quickly. I'm surprised how much I miss when I leave wifi-land. When I get back, my phone just floods with random notifications.
There are other things that surprised me, but these were some of the biggest ones. Watch out for them on any upcoming trips you're planning abroad. I'm sure as the month continues, I'll become more accustomed to things here. I've already started hating mineral water, the main water of choice in Germany, less than I used to. I'm excited for the rest of the month.