Guten Abend! As promised, I am updating you all on what I have been doing to prepare for my upcoming travels abroad (a compulsory part of my Modern Languages degree).
Since I last posted, I have spent time with friends and family before saying a temporary goodbye. In just a few days I will be flying to Frankfurt Airport, and making my way to Heidelberg. Where’s that? It’s here:
I’m very fortunate to be taking part in a month-long summer school! I hope the intensive grammar classes are going to improve my confidence and fluency in German.
On the one hand, I feel very positive about what is coming: independence, new places, people, experiences… I am excited to return to Germany, to hear my favourite language spoken again. There will be the opportunity for trips to local tourist attractions and destinations further afield at the weekends, which should be a great break from the studying!
In the lengthy build-up to going abroad, however (and I know I’m not alone in feeling like this), the past few months and weeks have been filled with moments of unease and apprehension. Particularly in light of recent and tragic world events, my angst about spending the year out of my comfort zone has been understandably exasperated.
The administrative aspects of organising a year abroad also represent a challenge for any student, not least a dyspraxic student. For those with slower eye-tracking and visual processing, all the form-filling, signature-signing, and document-scanning required for my placements can be overwhelming.
If you don’t believe me, here’s a photo to prove the pickle I was in today with all my paperwork:
But the good news is that it’s manageable and well worth the effort – if I can do it, of course other dyspraxic students can too!
1. Seek support from your university. Make use of any contacts you might have. Can your study skills tutor help you put together placement applications, or help keep track of important dates?
2. Start planning early. It sounds easy, but when you’re in December, June can feel a year away. By applying early (and securing back-up options in case plans fall through last minute) you can help to ease the uncertainty involved.
3. Make a checklist – and cross tasks off as you go. (e.g. travel booked? Insurance? Finance? Erasmus+ grant?
I’m going back to the packing and paperwork, and will check in again once I have settled into Heidelberg.
Wish me Glück!