Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Getting used to life in another country

by : 

I recently had a conversation with a friend that made me think. 

We were sat in a restaurant in Germany, where we are doing our year abroad, and he said how strange it was that the German way of life, that once felt so out of the ordinary, has now become normality.

I remember when I first arrived in Germany, everything felt so strange.  Not only getting up and going to work in a foreign country, but also, simply cooking a meal; or sitting and watching television, receiving post, catching the bus, and even just walking into town felt strange.  Nothing felt normal.  Everything felt surreal.

However, some five months on, everything now feels ‘normal’.  When did this happen?  I don’t quite know when things changed, but they did.

I now wake up in the morning and walk to work, waiting at the traffic lights, not crossing until the ‘green man’ shows, even when there is no traffic on the road, something that is a huge difference compared to in England.  If there is no traffic in England, we would be tempted to cross even when the ‘red man’ was showing; however in Germany this would be considered a crime!  I will spend the day working in a German school, sitting in a German staff room with everyone around me speaking German, and somehow, this feels normal to me.  I catch the bus into town from the bus stop that is marked with a big green ‘H’, completely different to that of a bus stop in England.  I go to the supermarket, where I pay with Euros, which previously felt like monopoly money, but is now my everyday currency.  I catch the train to the University in a nearby town, where I take part in classes that are conducted completely in German, which doesn’t seem to faze me anymore.  Even being in the train station – seeing all the destinations that before moving to Germany in September, I had never heard of, and hearing all the announcements in German, that are no longer a novelty, and have now just become an everyday occurrence.

Above all, the aspect that shocks me the most after actually taking a step back and thinking about it, is that fact that I now hear and speak German on a daily basis without even the blink of an eye.  When I first arrived in Germany, I would accidently lapse back into English without realising because it was such a difficult habit to break.  This, to my amazement, is no longer a problem.

If there is at least one thing that I will take away from my year abroad, it would be how quickly and easily you can completely change your life, and make something that would normally be such a novelty into your reality.  It has made me realise that you are completely in charge of your life, and you can make it go in whichever direction you want it to go in.


How quickly and easily do you think you would adapt to living in another country? Do you agree with Zoe that you are in charge of your life and you can decide which direction your life takes? 


sona's picture
sona 23 October, 2015 - 17:51

I'm from Albanian.I have never been abroad in my life,but I like to study in England. Please,can you tell me what to do to win a scholarship ? Which tests I have to do? I will really appreciate if you help me,so I am looking forward to seeing your answer.

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hadia's picture
hadia 4 October, 2015 - 13:46

I completely agree with you Zoe! In the start, it's difficult but as the time passes away, It becomes normal and we manage it as well! :)

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dzeni's picture
dzeni 18 February, 2014 - 16:00

Living in another country will be difficult for me because I miss my family, friends, town and school but if is it only way to succeed I will do that. I really agree with Zoe. If we choose right direction we will have better life.

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beatiful's picture
beatiful 15 February, 2014 - 06:07

I catch the bus into town from the bus stop that is marked with a big green ‘H’, completely different to that of a bus stop in EnglanD...

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Bosnianchild's picture
Bosnianchild 5 February, 2014 - 19:24

Yes, I agree with Zoe.
The most importantly is have one direction which you take. But you can't do it without persistence. Yes, at first you would miss you family and friends, but..

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justcricketforme's picture
justcricketforme 4 February, 2014 - 13:50

It would be hard for me because I would miss my friends, school, family and home! I do agree with Zoe that we are in charge of our life and which direction we take.

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