Monday, September 14, 2009

Orientation and Deutschland

First off, let me complain a second about the fact that my computer adapter doesnt work so I have to use the home computer that has a totally funky keyboard. The y and z are switched and all the keys like $%(/ are in different places. OKAY cool, got that out of my system.


Orientation was an experience that I will never forget. Though I think everyone came into thinking it was worthless, I dont think anyone would skip it after they went through it. Along with learning a lot about AFS and Germany in general, the orientation allowed everyone to meet great people who were all willing and open to friendship. It was absolutely astonishing how fast we bonded and how strongly. For the last day or so it has been hard to deal with how much I miss everyone from orientation. Luckily, today it has been a bit better but I still very much look forward to seeing them again.

Travel to Germany

So on Friday I got on a giant plane full of Germans to go to Germany. The flight was okay, though I got no sleep and did'nt get to read the Time Travelers Wife or do my game book. But thats okay, I could read it on the way back. On the flight I was unexcited only because I could never imagine the feeling of being in another country. When I stepped off the plane the Frankfurt airport greeted me in its utter beauty (corny right? horrah!). But seriously, thats when I had my "oh fuck" moment where I realized what have done. From there I was on the train ride to Berlin. Luckily there were other American cb's on my train and I didnt even notice how long it took to get there. Stop after stop, exchange students kept leaving until it was just me and Jack from cb. We both got quiet nervous and I personally felt quiet sick. But my family greeted me off the train and we got drinks and then headed home. On the car ride home I managed to fall asleep a couple times, doing that awkward head-snapping thing.


This is probably not a good day to write about my impression of Germany because Ive had a rather bad day. We went to see my school, principal (direktor), and my teacher. To my surprise and displeasure we also ran into my class and it was incredibly awkward and intimidating. I did not get one My kind of class right there. Oh well, I just have to remind myself that this is not the first time I have started a new school and I should take it one day at a time. Its just hard being lonely, misunderstood, and starting a new school all at the same time D:


I'm absolutely baffled at my German skills. Somehow God blessed me with random German skills on the day I arrived. I came from a German class that hardly actually speaks german and Ive only had two years. But Ive totally held my own in the language department and have gotten compliments on how fast I talk. I think tomorrow that that will all go down the toilette when i go to school and realize that I cant really understand or speak much German. Blah...

So yeah, thats it. Right now Id kill for a hug from a cbyxer, or to have a good laugh with one of them. But I guess patience is a virtue and Im not supposed to be comftorble right now. Now I go to the bank to exchange my dollars and basically ask for the worth of my money to decrease.


  1. Hi Claire,

    I'm a random former AFSer and I sometimes like to peruse the AFS blogs to remind me of my exchange days. I was also on exchange in East Germany (in a town called Rathenow, in Land Brandenburg, about an hour west of Berlin) and your comment on the very sullen greeting from the German class really struck a chord. I too was greeted with a whole room full of blank faces, but the kids eventually warmed up to me, though I didn't get super-close with more than three of them in the time I was there and actually made more friends outside of school.

    The absolute best suggestion I have is this:get involved in extracirriculars ASAP. Most Gymnasien don't really have clubs like in the US, but I joined the town orchestra and took classes at the music school. The Germans are really into town music schools and youth centers, so try to take classes at a music school or join the orchestra or band, if you're interested. You could also look into a Volkshochschule, which will offer language courses or interesting art classes and that sort of thing. Even if you don't really want to take a class, it's a good way to meet people and you will also learn all sorts of specific words that you wouldn't learn otherwise.

    Also: don't get discouraged by German. Yes, it will probably get annoying to have to ask people what they are saying over and over again; also, the people in Brandenburg/Berlin have a different dialect than you would hear in other parts of Germany...but hey, no one in Germany actually speaks Hochdeutsch aside from perhaps those from Hanover. But just persist, even if you get the feeling that it's annoying people. The sooner you clarify things for yourself, the sooner you'll be able to talk normally to everyone!

    Anyway, sorry if my totally random comment has weirded you out. I just saw your blog on the main AFS blog page and thought I'd put in my 2 cents!

    Viel Glück!

  2. Dear Claire.
    Hug yourself twice, and then tell yourself that the first was from me and the rest was from the rest of us CBYXers. We love you!
    Tim Miller