Student blog: Helen – “Reality check – Settling in and missing home”

Two weeks in and I feel like I’ve been here a month at least. This week, well, Wednesday to Saturday was the advisory course for international students on how to study in Tübingen; I think it was really great. There was a lot of getting to know new people (I finally met some other people from England!), learning more about German culture (e.g. at a cafe you should leave a tip of 10-15%, as the waiting staff don’t get paid much) and finding my way around the city a little more. The more I’m here, the more I realise what people mean when they say it’s a small place- I keep seeing people I know. Additionally the course helped with navigating the CAMPUS system, which is a bit like the student portal (but with a really confusing layout), finding my way around the bars and experiencing some typical tourist attractions, like punting on the Neckar. It’s been a busy week!

Something else I wanted to mention, which I feel a lot of people skim over when talking about study abroad, is being homesick. It’s a difficult subject because it varies from person to person; for me I thought it would be similar to last year when I wasn’t homesick much at all (except when I got ill; being ill for the first time by yourself is horrible), but being in a different country changes the experience rather drastically.

When I first moved my belongings into my room in the beginning of September I was here for around four days by myself, without internet, and I loved it. It was fantastic. However, when I arrived back home I began to realise just how much family means to me, which was great, as I had nearly a month at home and I could spend a lot of time with my parents, siblings, pets and just really enjoy the home comforts. The problem with this, however, is that when I left England I got really homesick- my flat didn’t feel homely and that was really problematic. Luckily nowadays we have Skype and Whatsapp and Facebook messenger (my dad has Facebook, how did that happen?) which makes it a lot easier to keep in touch, but it’s never quite the same.
Two weeks on and it’s a lot better, I feel at home with my flat and my room. I do still miss home sometimes, but I think it’ll fade when I actually start my lectures (in a week, it’s so late! Not that I’m complaining…). Honestly, whilst horrible to experience sometimes, being away from home definitely makes you appreciate your family and home comforts a lot more, as well as readying you for leaving to go to university again next year, and then permanently soon after. Until then I’ll make the most of the apple crumble when I’m home!

That’s it for now; talk soon?

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