I wasn’t too worried about the journey to Germany but I’m happy to share that everything went smoothly anyway! I had a connecting flight in Charlotte and rain delayed the departure from there. However, the delay wasn’t announced until after we boarded the plane so we ended up just sitting on the plane for an hour before leaving, which wasn’t bad at all!
When we arrived in Frankfurt I heard a girl in the row behind me talking about the fact that she was studying abroad in Marburg this semester. I turned around immediately and told her that I was, too. Turns out we’re here for the same program! She knew someone else whose flight was getting in a bit later so we waited in the airport for her and then the three of us made our way to the main train station in Frankfurt and then to Marburg! Even though we’d just met it was nice to arrive to the city with others in the exact same position as me.
The first week involved a lot of ‘boring’ stuff. However, it wasn’t really boring because we were doing it all in a brand new city in Germany! We did orientation at our housing building, but even finding where the washing machine was and attempting to translate the instructions on it was somehow exciting to me. Every day (Wednesday-Monday) we had a couple hours of ‘red tape’ sessions. This involved things like registering with the city, finalizing class selection, and applying for visas. We also had some ‘ice breaker’ type activities, but we’ve also had a lot of time to just explore and settle into the city. (which is absolutely stunning; these pictures don’t come close to capturing it.)
So far, I haven’t been hit with too much culture shock (though I’m definitely still in that ‘honeymoon’ phase). I know enough German to be polite in public, but I can’t really engage in conversation (I’m hoping to change that!). Things like grocery shopping take getting used to just because the products are mostly different than what you’d find in US. I remembered from my last trip that stores don’t provide bags at all, so I remembered to bring a few reusable ones when I went.
Using public transportation regularly is something I don’t do back home, but I haven’t had any problems with it yet. We definitely missed our stop the other day, but we just got off on the next one and walked back; luckily it wasn’t too far. Since I don’t really use it in Tampa I guess I can’t compare/contrast it with the US very well, but I will say that it runs on a very exact schedule. The building I live in is about a 25 minute bus ride to the city, so I’m getting used to coming and going according to the schedule of the buses. It’s pretty simple because there are only two buses that stop at my building and both of them will take you to recognizable parts of the city. But again, I’m so excited to be in Germany that simple things like taking the bus are thrilling (& the ride into town is really scenic and pretty, so I don’t mind it, even if you have to hold on for dear life because the bus drivers take roundabouts insanely fast)