Q&A Responses!

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag! A few posts ago I mentioned wanting to do a Q&A to answer any questions anyone had about well, anything, and here are my responses!

Q: Is the style of education/teaching significantly different from American schools?

A: I have actually found quite a few differences between the education and ways of teaching in America vs. Germany. For starters in America I feel that the teachers are always there to help you and remind you of anything. (When papers are due, when a test is going to be, what the homework was, etc.) While here in Germany the teachers seem to put a lot more expectation and responsibility of the student in this area. And if you as a student don’t know when something is then you better have a friend who does or else you’re going to be lost. Another big difference I have seen is in the responses that students give to questions. In America often times it’s perfectly ok to give short answers to a question, unless of course it is a class discussion, but here in Germany almost every student gives an in-depth answer on the subject at hand.

Q: How do you feel about the ‘norms’ or the way students treat each other? 

A: I feel like before I came many people told me that at first glance Germans can seem somewhat closed off, or indifferent to you as an exchange student. This has not been the case for me! Everyone has been so welcoming and open to me being here. And I am glad to say that I have made quite a few friends at both schools I have attended here in Germany! As for social norms there are a few differences. One thing that I absolutely LOVE is that every morning when I see the friends that I am close to we will welcome each other with a hug. In America a simple ‘hello’ is enough, which is also okay! I think a lot of people told me that students were a lot more invested in school than social lives before I arrived, and while that may be partly true, I get the feeling that my school is very connected and everyone is there to appreciate and support one another. Overall I think the teenage German and school norms are pretty cool!

Q: Do you feel you can comfortably understand the lessons?

A: Comfortably? Maybe not yet. But I am getting there. In September I was completely lost, but I am learning more German day by day, and now I have gotten to the point where I can AT LEAST pick out the main topic of the class. I still have a long way to go with fully and comfortably understanding everything, but I am positive that by the end of the year I can get there!

Q: Would you consider a German school for your college education? 

A: Absolutely! I love Germany. The people, the culture, the language, the food. 😉 And I definitely feel like college seems a lot more affordable here than in the United States. That being said I am still not entirely sure what I am looking into as a degree, and I have no idea what kind of scholarships I could be offered next year when looking at colleges in America. Germany is definitely on my list, but I am not completely sure if it would become a reality. I think it would definitely be a lot cheaper to study abroad while in Europe. And I definitely would want to study abroad again while in college. Who knows?

Q: How is the weather/climate different from where you live in the US? 

A: I always tell people the weather in Ohio is pretty similar to where I live in Germany. I believe that Germany probably gets more rain than where I live in the US, but there are no drastic differences. The temperature is about the same most of the time.

Q: What do you like the most about Germany?

A: This is so hard! EVERYTHING?! I would probably have to say my favorite thing about Germany is the language. I truly do think it is beautiful and I love having the opportunity to learn it in the country its spoken in. And if not the language than all of the wonderful friends that I have made, and my amazing host family!

Q: What do you miss most about the US? 

A: My best friend. I have made so many amazing friends here in Germany, and I love each and every one of them, but if I am being completely honest I miss my bestie. She’s always there for me and I feel like I can talk with her about anything, even if it’s REALLY crazy. I’m definitely so excited to see her (along with all of my other friends), my family, and the little coffee shop in our town.

Q: Anything you were surprised about when you arrived in Germany?

A: How much English was spoken. Especially in the beginning when my German was really bad, or if I am in the city. Once someone figures out I am not really German they automatically switch to English and I have to ask them to speak in German.

Q: What is your current obsession in Germany?

A: Um…FOOD? Hahaha just kidding. My host family recently took me to see the new Star Wars movie. So probably the entirety of Star Wars, they’re all on Netflix so I’ve been rewatching them.

Q: What is the biggest similarity and the biggest difference you have noticed about Germany and the US? 

A: Hmm. Good question. I really think that both Germany and the US can really be into sports. (As to which sport may be different.) The biggest difference I have noticed is first, the architecture. People have inhabited Germany far longer than the US so I have been able to visit some buildings that are older than the United States. And second is probably the way patriotism is shown. A lot of Americans are openly patriotic, whether its hanging the flag on your front porch, having a bumper sticker, or wearing a tee-shirt many Americans wear how patriotic they are on their sleeve, which is okay! Here in Germany its a little bit different. You won’t find as many flags hung by people’s houses, from what I have heard the national anthem is really only sung during soccer games, and I haven’t seen one German wearing a tee shirt with anything promoting Germany on it. Which is also okay, especially when you look at the history of BOTH countries you can see how the mindset of expressing patriotism has developed within the minds of the citizens.

Q: How is the German culture?

A: Pretty cool! I love how environmentally friendly Germany is! I also really appreciate the directness of the people. I honestly thought that Americans were pretty direct, but when I think side by side sometimes we can be pretty indirect people. I like how most of the teenagers here are really mature, and the fact that they have the ability to use PUBLIC TRANSPORT!

Q: What is the best food, not necessarily German, that you have tasted while on your travels?

A: One of my favorite things I have had in Germany is Fischbrötchen, which is basically a fish sandwich, but also not. I had it at the Hamburg Fischmarkt so the fish was SO fresh and delicious, and the Brötchen was baked perfectly and it was just so delicious.

Q: How is Christmas celebrated where you are? And how is it different from the US? 

A: Christmas in Germany is almost a two month-long ordeal. In the middle of November the Weihnachtsmärkte begin to pop up in the big cities. Here you can buy little trinkets from all of the vendors that are lined up, drink some Glühwein (or Punch), and listen to live music. As for the actual holiday, Christmas is mostly celebrated on the 24th instead of the 25th. The Christkind will come and deliver all of the presents under the tree and the family sits around and opens them. A traditional German Christmas dish is Potato Salad, but GERMAN STYLE none of that American nonsense. Things that are different to how I celebrate in the US are that in the States my family doesn’t buy a real tree, on the 24 my entire family celebrates with a big feast (yes I am calling our dinner a feast), and then on the 25th is when my brother and I open our presents from my mom. I enjoy Christmas in both countries though!

Q: What is the hardest German word for you to pronounce? 

A: Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher and I REALLY want one of these to bring back to America! (I have trouble sometimes with the ‘R’ sound in German, and the ‘ch’ and ‘chen’ and ‘s’ and ‘ß’ differentiation.)

Q: What has been your favorite moment so far? 

A: I can’t think of one moment that triumphs the rest for being labeled the ‘best’. I will say that some of my favorite moments are when I randomly get the feeling, or reminder per se, that I am in Germany. I am leaning this language. I am successful, and I am always growing into a better person every new day. Just the feeling of being proud of where I am and what I am doing make the best moments.

Q: Is it fun speaking German?

A: Most of the time! I really like the language, and think that it is interesting to learn the ins and outs of it. But there will always be moments where I want to give up, or I just HATE the fact that I can’t tackle a conjugation, sentence structure, or pronunciation. But that’s all part of the learning curve, and once I do get those things down it’s always a lot more motivating! Overall I believe that speaking German is a lot more fun than speaking English…but don’t tell anyone. 😉

I think these are almost all of the questions that were submitted! Thank you for sending them in, I really had a lot of fun answering them. If you ever have any other questions about anything feel free to message me, email me, etc.

Until next time!

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn

Goals for 2018

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

This blog post is going to stray from life in Germany a bit, because today I want to talk about New Year’s Resolutions. Now normally I am one of those people who say, “I won’t make a resolution because I don’t think I will be able to keep up with it.” I don’t like to set myself up for disappointment. But this year I am truly motivated to rethink everything in my life and ask myself, “Does this (insert object, relationship, social media, song, etc.) bring me Joy?” I already consider myself a pretty happy human being, and I try my best to spread joy to the other people inhabiting the Earth, but I think I can do better. For myself, and for others.

I want to cut out the bad in my life, so I can give myself the space, time, and nutrients to grow, and blossom. I will be turning 17 in just a few weeks, and while yeah, I am still a kid, I am also my own human being. I am responsible for myself, my actions, my words, and how I want to feel about the world. And I want to feel HAPPY about who I am right now, who I will look back at when I am 80 years old in a rocking chair, and how this will shape who I am in the future.

My blog is called The Guten Tag Blog. Guten Tag means “Good Day” and I know that it’s virtually impossible for every day of my life to be amazing, wonderful, and exciting, but I still can find one thing that made me feel safe, comforted, happy, or warm inside! And that my friends, can make every day a good day.

Things that come along with being happier about who I am, and how others view me, comes along with eating healthier, exercising a bit more, cutting off social media every once in a while, and being nicer to other people. I am so excited for 2018. I changed a lot in 2017, and I can tell that 2018 is going to be a good year.

I stated before that I don’t like to set myself up for disappointment, and normally having a list as big as this and even life changing, would have made me say “NO!” because I knew that I would have messed up or had bumps in the road. Well yeah, there are going to be bumps in the road. I am going to mess up, and sometimes I am going to hate trying to work for these goals I have made for myself. But I also know that this year I can be nice and forgiving to myself, while still being ambitious and motivated. Because I KNOW there are going to be bumps in the road, but knowing that means I can prepare for those, and how to move on from them.

I hope that every one had an amazing Holiday Season! The next blog post should be my Q&A! So if any of you have any more questions please message me, or email me about them!

Until next time!

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn

(P.S. I designed this really cute quote square, how do you like it?)

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Christmas Time in Germany!

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

Coming into the month of December was a lot of fun. Before I came to Germany almost everyone who had been during the Christmas season told me how amazing the Christmas Markets were. They were absolutely correct, but I’ll get to that a bit later!

On December 1st I had a nice surprise waiting for me from my host family! Annette and Christoph had put together an Adventskalender for me! Every morning up to Christmas I was able to open a small little gift. It was such a nice way to start my day, and I am very grateful to have a host family as wonderful as Annette and Christoph!

The second of December we went out to buy our Christmas Tree! My family in the United States, like many, has a fake Christmas Tree that we reuse every year. Here in Germany having a fake Christmas Tree is not common at all! Most families go out to buy their Christmas tree, and I heard from other exchange students that some don’t even put the tree up until the 22-23 of December! In the evening of the 2nd we had guests over to bake Christmas cookies! This was so much fun. (And very delicious!)

The 3rd we got to have brunch with Annette’s family, because it was her brother’s birthday. I was so happy to meet everyone. The entire family was so welcoming and kind. After the brunch I took a train into Düsseldorf to meet up with my friend Shaila. This was the first Christmas market that I had been to, and I was not disappointed! The lights, the people, the little trinkets, they were all so amazing.

December 4th I met up with a new friend! Lisa and I met up in Kempen and got hot cocoa, german snacks, and just talked. She is so nice, and I cannot wait to let our friendship grow the rest of my time here in Germany.

December 5th I went to Moers to meet up with Samantha, we got fries and a falafel burger from Planet 16 and caught up. I am very thankful to call her my friend. It is so great to have met so many people throughout my exchange year, and I am not even half way through!

December 7th during one of the Pauses I was able to go get hot cocoa with ANOTHER FRIEND! (Look at me being all social) Her name is Julia, and she is so amazing. I am so happy to be able to call her my friend and I can’t wait to see her in a few days from now! In the evening I went to a concert for my AP Music course. It was very nice, and was something that I would have done in the US too, so I felt pretty at home.

The 8th of December we had SNOW! Our house was decorated, not with what you’re thinking. We didn’t have Christmas decorations out, we had soccer decorations for my host dad’s favorite team. The FC Shalke. He went to see a game the following day, and had friends and family over who were going with him.

The following day I rode a train to Moers because Samantha and I were riding together to go to a Christmas Market with our local AFS Chapter. The snow was still on the ground which made the atmosphere seem a bit more magical. That evening I spend the night with Samantha, and we were going to watch a movie, but instead we just ended up talking and eating snacks. (That always seems to happen) She has two really cute dogs that were so FLUFFY!

On the 10th of December I went out to the Kempen Christmas Market so I could play my Ukulele on the street for money. This didn’t work out because there was a storm that was coming which caused the market to be shut down early. That didn’t stop me from meeting up with Julia for a little bit though!

December 17th I had a choir concert! This was really fun, and I got to hang out with my friends in the Choir, so there’s no complaining there.

December 18th my host family took me to see the new Star Wars movie in 3D, also in German. I was shocked at how much I understood. I also was able to eat popcorn for the first time in 5 months, which is insane because that is a snack that we always have available at my house in the states.

The 19th Shaila came to visit me in Kempen to hang out. I took her to Stefan’s to get cocoa, and we met another American who worked there! Later we got pizza for dinner. This was a lot of fun, and I hope to go to Willich some time to see her city! In the evening I went with Annette and Christoph to a friend’s house for a live Adventskalender. They read a story, sang songs, and had tea. It was a nice way to end the evening.

20th of December was such a fun day! I only had school until 11:20 so right after I caught a train to Köln! I was able to visit multiple Christmas markets, and hang out with Keldon! He showed me around, and we just walked through the city.

On December 21st I got my hair cut, and colored. This ended up costing A LOT more than I thought it would, but it turned out good, and now I won’t need my hair cut or colored for the rest of the year!

The 22nd I got to help Christoph film a video about how to make German potato salad. A previous exchange student had asked, it was a lot of fun to make the video, and afterwards we were able to eat the salad! (Which was so delicious!)

The 23rd of December we drove to Wesel to spend Christmas with Annette’s parents. I had a lot of fun playing the piano that evening. The next day we decorated the Christmas tree. It was beautiful, a lot different from my family’s tree in America, but still beautiful nonetheless! One major difference I noticed was that there are no candy canes!

Christmas is actually mostly celebrated on the 24th in Germany, so that evening we got to open our presents from the family. My favorite gift that I got was a reusable water bottle. It is made out of glass, and I will be able to take it with me so I always have water to drink!

On Christmas Day we were just relaxing, so I was able to go spend the night with my fellow Ohioan, Alivia, who also lives in Wesel! We had dinner together, listened to music, talked about everything under the sun, and had a lot of laughs together! I hope to see her again soon.

On December 27th we  drove the whole day to get to…Denmark! The Ostsee is so pretty, and the house we are staying in is a lot of fun! Last night I made some origami things, we had a good dinner. And this morning we had breakfast, and then went for a walk along the sea. After our walk we swam a bit in the pool. And now I am writing this blog post! (And my Q&A)

With New Years just around the corner, I cannot wait to see how the rest of my exchange year will go! Things I am looking forward to: Hamburg trip with choir, my 17th birthday party, München for Midstay Camp!

Until next time, and remember…

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn

Many New Things!

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

Note: Even if you do not read my entire blog post please look at the very bottom before leaving this site! Thanks!

Fall is about to come to a close and Winter is just around the corner. While everybody I have spoken to says that the area where I am living in Germany doesn’t get much snow, I still have hope! Fall may be my favorite season, but winter, and Christmastime, come to a close second.

I was able to start off the holiday season on November 10th. My host family took me to a theatre show in Düsseldorf. This was such a fun thing to do, and I am very grateful that I was able to go. There was a rock band that played all of the music which was really cool because rock music is my favorite genre.

On November 11th I had to wake up early to go to the store to get a few snacks for me and Samantha’s movie night. These movie nights are seeming to become a regular thing and I’m very thankful to have Samantha as a friend. While I was out getting the snacks I had to wait 30 minutes before the bus came so I got some ice cream to pass the time. That evening I got to go to a birthday party for a friend who was on the Luxembourg trip with us!

On the 12th of November Samantha and I had our movie night, we watched part of The Skeleton Key, but then got caught up in talking that we couldn’t finish the movie before she had to leave.

The 14th of November was a very fun day! I got to stay after school to help some friends bake waffles for parent teacher conferences. It was really busy, and I was a bit nervous about having to speak in German, but I did it! I succeeded in serving the customers in German, and nobody asked any questions!

November 18th I took a train to Düsseldorf to meet up with some of my friends from the CBYX program, Audrey and Hayley. I was there early so I made my way to a book store, bought my favorite book in German, and drank some coffee while trying to read. (If any of you haven’t read it The Book Thief, or Die Bücherdiebin, is SO GOOD.) When Hayley and Audrey arrived we looked around the book store a little more, went to H&M, got some really good sushi, and drank boba tea. It was so good to see them!

November 19th was a sad day for me. I received the news that one of my best friend’s father had passed away. While I am so thankful to be abroad, I felt a little guilty for not being able to be there in person to help comfort her. I was able to text with her a little bit which was good. I am keeping her family in my prayers.

November 24th was Thanksgiving! I made a list of everything that I was thankful for and had time to reflect on the year so far during my hour-long bus ride to Moers to meet up with Samantha to celebrate. We went to a Cafe that both of us enjoy, but it closed before we were finished so we went to a restaurant called Planet 16. We weren’t able to get turkey, because I am sure they didn’t have it, not to mention that Sam is vegan, so instead we got some awesome sweet potato fries.

On the 25th I was able to see the Thanksgiving I am normally able to thanks to Mama Minton for sending me like 10000 videos via Snapchat. It was a nice way to start Friday morning. Friday was my last day at Frederich Speech Gymnasium, because I have switched host families. My former host family was very nice, but there were some personality differences and the chemistry just wasn’t right. My last day of school was bittersweet because I was sad to be leaving the friends that I had made there, but so excited to start this new chapter of my exchange year in Kempen. A few of my friends had chipped in a little bit of money to buy me a cup to carry my tea in while I am walking around the city. It says, “Du bist meine kleine perfekte Welt.” which means, “You are my small perfect world.”

Saturday I got to move in with my new host family! They are Annette and Christoph, and they live in the city of Kempen. This is not too far from where I was living before, so I should be able to see old school friends, and hanging out with Samantha is still a thing. Hahaha! We got to walk around the city, and talk, in the evening I went to a little dinner party with Annette, and when we got home I was able to play my ukulele for them. Christoph in return played his guitar a bit.

Monday I rode a bike for the first time in nearly a decade! It went a lot better than I thought that it would. “Mind over matter.” My host dad and I went out on bike ride together and rode about 12km! I have now ridden my bike to and from school every day this week! I was pretty nervous to begin, because I knew there would be mistakes to be made, but after diving in the deep end I learned that I can do more than I thought.

On Tuesday I got my school schedule, and I really enjoy it! This week I have missed a lot of classes just because teachers have been sick, or class was canceled because of exams. I love being able to ride my bike because it means that I have the freedom to go into the city quickly and whenever I want!

On Wednesday I went into the city so I could get my Aldi Talk card, which is my phone plan that I am using while in Germany. Once I was done with that I stopped in a little cafe/coffee shop called Stefan’s. IT’S SO DELICIOUS! There is a hot chocolate that you can  get from 60-100% bitter. I think my favorite is 80%. I got to help make dinner with my host dad on Wednesday too. We made noodles with cabbage, pesto, and it was amazing.

Thursday I only had one class to go to…my music class! I am really excited for this class. I learned that I am able to join another choir, which means I will be a part of three choirs. Mwahahahahaha. And I can also take part in the school musical they’re doing Evita, in German of course! After school I rode my bike into the city to buy some shampoo and conditioner from DM. This is a store that is somewhat similar to CVS or Wallgreens, but better. After DM I went back to Stefan’s for more hot cocoa. I also was able to buy my mom’s christmas gift today, and I can’t wait to mail it back to her!

My plans for the next few weeks: Baking with my host family, going to brunch with my host family, hopefully going to a Christmas Market with AFS, meeting up with Samantha in Duisburg for a Christmas market and then going to get cocoa and massage, probably another christmas market or two.

That’s all for now!

Stay Gold

-Jocelyn

P.S. I WOULD REALLY REALLY LIKE TO DO A Q&A WITH Y’ALL IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT GERMANY, AFS, CBYX, MY EXPERIENCE, LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE, AMERICA, YOU CAN FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME FROM MY CONTACT PAGE ON THE WEBSITE! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING!

Sleepovers, Luxembourg, France, and the Oldest City in Germany!

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

Since my last blog post about my life in Germany a lot has happened. To start off I was able to have a sleepover with two of my CBYX friends, Samantha and Alivia! We walked around Geldern, ate a TON of candy, and watched a scary movie. It was so good to see my friends again, and I can tell that while I didn’t really have a lot of sleepovers in the states, this is one of my new favorite things! 🙂

The next thing that I did was bowling with my local AFS chapter! I didn’t win, but that’s okay. The next day I took a bus to Duisburg to meet up with Samantha again. We walked around and got breakfast. We got vegan cake, and it was good at first, but then it weighed us down. That day I also had a pinched nerve in my neck, so my head was tilted to the side the whole day.

On the 22 of October (The day after Duisburg) my host family and I went to Ghent for Eveline’s father’s birthday! It was a very fun day, I didn’t understand anyone because while Dutch and German are similar, they are VERY different. I got to meet Eloise’s cousins, they reminded me of my brother Luke. It was cool to play some Minecraft on my computer. (They spoke English very well so we were able to communicate),

On October 25 I went to Düsseldorf to meet up with some other AFS exchange students. I got to meet up with Yaismin, my friend from CBYX, and Felipe who is from Brazil! We walked around the Altstadt (old city), got some near authentic Mexican food, and I bought a delicious vegan chocolate cupcake!

On October 26 Eveline, Eloise, and I went to Kleve to pick up my residency permit, unfortunately it wasn’t ready yet, but we still got to see a little bit of the city. We all ate Currywurst for lunch with Pommes and mayo. That evening Samantha and I had another sleepover, this one was also filled with candy and scary movies. We also got to have a nice real conversation with each other which was AWESOME.

On October 27th my mom Facetimed me from my school in the States. My brother had a science fair, so I got to say hi to him. My mom walked around the school and I got to say hi to my teachers, and even my friends. It made my day!

October 29th Eloise and I left for our AFS trip to Luxembourg! We meet in the Duisburg Hauptbanhof with the other exchange students. There were three other CBYXers there, Christina, Keldon, and Audrey! The bus ride into Luxembourg wasn’t as long as I thought it was going to be, only four hours. Once everyone got settled in at the youth hostel a group of us went out to explore the city. Luxembourg is GORGEOUS! Part of the city sits inside of a valley and there are so many old buildings.

For lunch that day I got pizza, and then Keldon and MJ and I went to get coffee from this cute little coffee shop that was pretty close to the youth hostel. That evening around 18:00 we had a tour guide show us around the city. Luxembourg has three official languages: French, German, and Luxembourgish. Luxembourg was also where the EU was first spoken about and founded.

On October 30th we drove out of Luxembourg into France to the city of Metz. There was a large group of us walking around the city at first. We found a pastry shop and I got a chocolate pastry. It was so good. The cathedral, one of many, that we saw was very pretty. On the inside there was so much light from the sun shining in, and the windows made rainbows glow against the walls. When we were done looking at that cathedral we walked around a little more and found another that was right along the river. As we walked more and more somehow Christina and I got split up from the rest of the group. We texted them to let them know we were okay, and then made our way around the city on our own.

Along the way Christina found a cute little park that had the beautiful leaves of Autumn grace over the pathway. There was a statue in the middle of the park that we were both intrigued by. Christina had taken French in high school so she was able to translate the quote that was on there. Once we both got to the bottom of the quote we saw this name: Lafayette. As in the Marquis de Lafayette! Both of us are HUGE Hamilton fans and so we took some videos of us jamming out to Guns and Ships while next to Lafayette himself. (Fun Fact: Metz is the city where Lafayette left from France to go help the States win their independence, some say that he dressed as a woman to leave the country because the King didn’t want him to leave)

For lunch in France Christina and I met up with Keldon and Sabrina. Christina got this delicious looking Quiche, I kind of wish I had gotten that, but I got gnocchi with pear and gorgonzola cheese. It was delicious! After lunch we got crepes. I got a Nutella and banana one. Everyone was done looking around for the day, but we still had some time before we had to be back at the bus, so I went on Trip Advisor and found a cute little coffee shop that was close to the bus station.

It was called the Fox Coffee Shop, and it was one of the cutest coffee shops I have been to in Europe. They had a lot of delicious looking treats, and the coffee was amazing. I got a pumpkin spice latte because I wanted to be in the Autumn spirit. We waited there until we had to leave to meet at the bus. One of my favorite memories from the coffee shop was when Christina played on the piano in front of everyone, she did a gorgeous job and it sounded beautiful!

That evening we didn’t need to be back at the hostel until 23:00, but Christina and I decided to stay in. We talked about a bunch of things, and shared our different tastes in music. We even had a little dance party.

On Halloween we had the whole day to explore Luxembourg. In the morning a group of us went to a museum where we could see this tunnel system that former guards used to protect the city. When we were done there Christina, Sabrina, and I made our way around the city. We went to the church that was there and looked around inside. When we were hungry we found this place called the Persian Food Box. They had amazing food for really good prices. That evening Christina and I wanted to celebrate Halloween a little bit so we stayed in, instead of going out like everybody else, and watched Hocus Pocus with Sabrina. We ate Reese’s, Ben and Jerry’s, and paprika chips. It was a great night.

November 1st we began to make our way back home. Along the way we stopped in Trier, which is the oldest town in Germany. It was founded by the Romans in 16 BC! We got to see a bit of the city, but unfortunately since it was All Saints Day everything was closed. When we wanted to get lunch Sabrina and I wanted American food, and we found a restaurant that was opened, but the waitress forgot to tell us that they didn’t serve lunch until 14:00. So in the end we went to Pizza Hut and got back to the bus on time!

Now I am preparing to get ready to go back to school after my two-week break! That’s all for now!

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn

 

 

 

Reasons to Go on an Exchange Year (Plus CBYX Application Tips!)

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

The time is coming around for applications for the 2018-2019 CBYX Program to be submitted. Because of this I thought that I would make a short post about some reasons why going on exchange is awesome, and some tips for those of you who are thinking of applying! First I guess we will start with why you should think about going on an exchange program.

A lot of people asked me if I was going to miss things from my home country before I left the states to come to Germany. OF COURSE I am going to miss my family and my home country, but I always told them that while a year may seem long now, it isn’t forever. I will get to see my family and the States again! So far my exchange year has been amazing, and I have only been here for about three months!

So I suppose I will just make a list for y’all.

Reasons To Go on an Exchange Year:

1. You get to see a part of the world from a different perspective than if you were just traveling. While vacationing, and traveling, are both very amazing experiences, there’s nothing like living in a different country for a year and seeing exactly how the locals live. All of the good things, all of the maybe not-so-good things, they make up a community and a town, or a country, and you don’t get that full experience within a two week vacation.

2. FRIENDSHIP! I love meeting new people. And I have had the pleasure to meet so many new people these past three months. From other exchange students from around the world, to natives here in Germany, to people on the street in the Netherlands or Belgium or Cologne. My CBYX friends are like a second home and it is great to have a community, a family, of people who are willing to help one another. Because we all understand the situation the other is in (rather more than someone who isn’t an exchange student would.) My friends from school are amazing, and they are all so funny and willing to help me with my German. And when I go home next year in July I know that I will have made life long friendships that not every person gets to have.

3. Language Learning. Depending on where you would like to study abroad you may have to learn a foreign language. This is a challenge in itself, but completely worth it! The natives in your country should be willing to help you out when they can and you will get the hang of it in no time! The best way to learn a language is by immersion. I was always told that, and it is so true!

4. Going on exchange is a life changing experience. You will mature as a human being, and be more culturally aware of the world that you are living in. When you go back to your home country you will be able to have different insights on topics and be able to connect with more people!

Tips for CBYX Application

1. DONT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE! I am not a good example for this because I only found out about the program a week and a half before the deadline, but if you know about the program, and have the slightest interest in it, start applying! You can always back out if you realize this might not be something you want to do.

2. Keep all of your paperwork organized. There are so many things that you need to read through and sign. Make sure that you send each of them in, but also keep a copy for yourself on the record. I brought a file folder to Germany with me so I would have all of my paperwork if something were to arise.

3. For the essay questions try to get to the maximum word count. Be straight to the point, but also be honest. Don’t be scared to write about difficulties that you have been through, but also don’t let that be the only thing they read about. Make sure that you re-read them and submit them on time.

4. Don’t be scared! You got this!

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn

 

One Month With My Host Family!

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

I have officially been with my host family for one month! There have been ups and downs, but altogether it has been a good experience so far! I am excited to see where the rest of the year will take me.

Recently of interest to all of you reading, October 3, known as Mean Girls Day in the States is a national holiday in Germany. Not for Mean Girls though, for the reunification of the East and West. Since the 3rd is a holiday we didn’t have school. My host family decided that it would be a good idea to go to Belgium to visit family that lives there. We were in the city of Ghent.

It still amazes me how when I travel for three hours in the states I can either be in Kentucky, Indiana, or Cleveland. Here when I travel for three hours I could be in Amsterdam, Ghent, or even France!

Ghent is a beautiful old city in Belgium about an hour West of Brussels. When we first arrived we visited with Eveline’s parents and had lunch. They prepared a nice meal that was a type of cabbage leave wrapped in ham and covered in cheese. It was delicious, and I hope that I will be able to have it again sometime this year.

After we met with the family we went out shopping in the town. There is a river running through which makes place for multiple bridges. And bridges also mean good photos of the gorgeous architecture. Some highlights in Ghent were the Opera House. I only got to see the outside, but it was still really pretty. The clock tower, which we got to go up snide and get a view of the whole city. And the church we went inside!

Aside from Ghent I have also been able to explore a bit more of Germany with my host mom! We had read in the newspaper that there was going to be a food festival held in Kevelaer. Since I am interested in different cultures, I actually mean to say that I am interested in foodwe decided to go! On Sunday we drove to Kevelaer. The food festival was a little bit smaller than expected, but I was able to get some platanos from Jamaica! I was so happy about this! When I went on my mission trip in Brazil we had platanos for breakfast every morning. And I love to get them whenever we go to Florida.

We also got to sight see a bit in Kevelaer! There is a gorgeous church that is decorated on the inside really nice. The outside reminded me a bit of Hogwarts if I am being completely honest. The rest of the city was also very pretty and I am glad I was able to spend that time with my host mom!

Since then nothing TOO exciting has happened. I am buying a pullover from that has my school’s name on it to remember my time here. Supernatural season 13 comes out on Thursday which is SO EXCITING! And I am planning on having a sleepover with a few friends from CBYX on Saturday.

That’s all for now! Until next time!

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn