Well, I realise that if I had to write for a living, I would have been broke by now. Anyway, I am in Tyulenovo (my favourite Bulgarian summer destination) again for my vocation and I finally found some will to fight back the laziness (and also the weather is pretty bad today) and write a bit about my exchange semester abroad in Munich. Actually, the term “semester abroad” is not particularly proper in my case since I am doing my entire bachelor’s degree in a university which is not in my home country, but let’s not get away from the topic.
If I have to be honest, I did not write earlier because of nostalgia. A week or two after I came home I was still sad about my 4 months in Germany as I was missing my life and friends there. Don’t get me wrong, I love coming back to Bulgaria but I genuinely felt like being taken out of a dream. Also, It’s just hard to express in words what is inexpressible, but I’ll give it a try. In short – I loved it! The whole experience, the people I met , the cultures, the nature, the castles, the lakes, the beer, the travels…
I congratulate myself for deciding to go on an exchange despite all the paper work I had to deal with beforehand. I recommend it to everyone who has the chance to do it. One essential detail though…nobody will come to you and tell you “Hey, wanna go to exchange? We will organise everything for you, just pack your stuff!”. The truth is you have to inform yourself on time and take care of the preparations. But it is worth it! It takes you out of your comfort zone, especially the ones that are doing their undergraduate studies in their home town or country. For me, it did not really matter whether I am in Germany or Scotland for my daily life. What came as a bit of a shock for me was the university system as I am used to the British way of teaching and examination. I appreciate my home uni even more now. The classes structure in Scotland provides you with enough time left so as to do something outside of studies. Back in Germany I had to take so many courses and had to go to the classes on regular basis just like in highschool. To be accurate, however, I could only choose from the English exchange courses and maybe it is different in the German regular ones. Just keep in mind when you go to an exchange that the classes and the teacher’s expectations might differentiate from what you already know.
However, let’s not fool ourselves that exchange is about studying…cuz the most significant and amazing part is meeting new people and travelling with them. I don’t remember visiting so many new places in such a short period. This burst of wandering energy in me was due to the fact that having a limited time in a place made me want to take and see the most of it. I reached the conclusion that I should stick to the same mindset back in Scotland in terms of organising and scheduling my travels without delaying them to the undefined later. That’s a major positive (in my opinion) change in me as a result of the last half a year.
Have in mind the location and the options for travelling in the city you are thinking of going to. It was convenient that Munich is so central and well connected. Neither from Bulgaria nor from Scotland can I travel as reasonable as from Germany. My friends and I, we used mostly http://www.flixbus.de for the transport and http://www.airbnb.com for accommodation. Compared to my Canadian, American and Mexican friends, who were constantly on the way as they have flown from other continent, I only managed to go to a few destinations within Germany and the border countries. Those were Prague, Strasbourg, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Hamburg, Berlin, Stuttgart, Nurnberg, as well as the numerous lakes and attractions in and around Munich. My top favourite places besides Munich (which is just part of my heart now) are the Neuschwanstein castle ( www.neuschwanstein.de/englisch ) and Königssee. Both are as if taken out of a fairy tale. In fact, I even heard that the castle is used by Disney as a model of the ones in their movies. I am not gonna spend time to give details about the destinations since we can all use “Google search”. Here are some photos though to boost your interest.
The other major part were the people. To all my friends from and outside of Germany (you know who you are), I have said it before, but again..thank you! I was extremely lucky to meet each and everyone of you. Thank you for sharing the travels with me, putting up with my constant talking and singing along in the bus during the night. Also, I had the chance to see again with all my German friends from my first year in Scotland. In fact, they were one of the reasons I went to Germany at first place. So double gratitude for you
I can write a lot about the city of Munich itself, could probably tell you about the picnics, the walks across the Isar, the Festivals, the International dinners and the charm of the German gays…but I actually want to save some parts just for myself.
However, here’s just a glimpse of some of my favourite moments ^^
P.S. I realise this post was not super informative and ends up in the middle of nothing but well…that’s my own online diary 😉