My First Trip Abroad in Photos

My project “Austauscherfahrungen” has been active for more than a year now. To celebrate this occasion and reflect on the roots of this blog, I have put together this post—My First Trip Abroad in Photos.

There are two ways to “read” this entry: you can either start from this page and click on the photos that interest you, or you can start by clicking on the first photo and then go from photo story to photo story.

 

The first time I went abroad I was 18 years old. I went abroad the summer after my freshman year of university. It was not an organized trip with my university, nor was it a group trip through an organization offering study abroad opportunities to American students. I signed up for a summer language course with an international language school, Goethe-Institute.

I was from a small (southern) American town and somewhat bad at directions. Naturally, I had some expectations of Europe, but I was open-minded and unafraid to travel to Germany by myself. I wasn’t too nervous before I took off—I only worried about organizational matters. At first, it was a challenge to navigate train stations and flow with the pace of Germany, but I soon met friends at the language school and spent a fantastic summer abroad.

Some quick tips I have are: to enjoy the small things and give yourself time for reflection. Also, you have to be bad at something before you can be good at it, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Ultimately, I gained a strong motivation to study German further and changed my major to German once I returned home. For more on my study abroad in Germany summer 2015, check out this article~Getting Started with Studying Abroad

 

Introduction aside, here is My First Trip Abroad in Photos:

 

 

 

“I want to improve my speaking in a foreign language” (Pt. 1)

 

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1. Reading is a great way to improve your vocabulary, accent, rhythm and overall relationship with a new language. There are many methods to learn from reading: by reading aloud and training your accent, by finding unknown words in a text, and, simply, by immersing your thoughts in a new language you are helping your brain to connect different channels of information, so that you can use grammar and vocabulary naturally when speaking.

 

2. Writing a diary or stories to take some authorship. Do you just want to be able to introduce yourself and order food, or do you want to be able to converse about daily life, describe a special memory, talk about your hobby, or discuss your beliefs? Write about the things that are important to you.

 

3. Speaking and thinking in your target language before actually speaking. Many performers–let’s say dancers–will review their routine by quickly running through it before they go on stage. Take a few minutes and go through a scenario in your head about a possible conversation topic. This way you will be better prepared the next time you have a chance to practice and you can discover where some gaps in your knowledge are, so that you can later fill them with more studying.

 

 

More speaking tips coming your way~

 

❤ Stephanie

So, you want to start learning Russian? (Five Quick Tips & Book Recommendations)

Dear readers,

This will be a short post about tips on how to learn Russian efficiently.

These were suggestions from my Russian sociology professor (a Russian historian, Chekhov fan and funny guy) for our five-week stay in Russia 😮

For Part 1 in this series click here —->            russian-meme-1

 

1. Be a bit Russian .

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A bath house in the gardens of Catherine Palace, Pushkin, St Petersburg, Russia (SUMMER 2016)

2. Hear/watch music, cartoons, and movies . I LOVE Soviet Kino!

3. Read classic literature ...

4. Read about history ...

5. Take advantage of free Russian materials on YouTube and VKontakte.

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And to conclude this post… some books I recommend for learning Russian:

TEXTBOOKS

VOCAB BOOKS

RUSSIAN READERS

GRAMMAR BOOKS

 

More Russian Related Posts:

Online Resources for Learning Russian—>Free Russian Learning Resources on YouTube

Tips Part 2 (coming soon)

Tips Part 3 (coming soon)

 

 

Напишите мне что-нибудь на русском~

❤ Стефани

 

 

3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

Hello everyone!

I’ve been back State-side for nearly two months now. My plans have been going well and I’ve got to see quite a few old friends! We still have sunshine here in Georgia, but cold weather is coming and it may freeze soon.

 

Georgia On My Mind

 

I left the States in August 2017 as a senior and came back a year later as a college graduate!

I absolutely adored Uni and wanted to share another post on this blog about American university! I was a German Literature major, so this post will be most relevant for students of humanities. However, everyone is invited to read and may find some inspiration for their coursework here 🙂

Even before I began university, I was fascinated by the variety of courses offered in just one major and there were many other departments that interested me.  I really don’t have any regrets about my college years, but, of course, I didn’t get to do everything I wanted. To share some of my experience as an American college student and reflect on my major and classes taken, I put together this little post: 3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

And before I dive in to the classes, I want to share a great resource for deciding on a major at college and, later, selecting a career specialization. “What Can I Do With This Major” provides an in-depth approach to career options with a particular major. I think it also gives insight into some steps you should take during your college career. So, I’m a big fan of the site!

 

3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

 

1. Business Writing: 

Upon taking “Women Lead in Business” at my Uni, I realized that there was a lot I did not know about the business world.

The reason for this class is simple–being able to adjust your writing according to the proper style/convention is important not only during your college career but also in your professional life.

Not only would I have improved my writing in this area, I think I also would have learned a lot about business culture, ethics, research practices and verbal argumentation. Not to mention, it wouldn’t look bad to have “Business Writing”
on your resume 😉

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

2. Drama/Theater:

Looking back, there are a few reasons as to why I wish I would have taken theater.

But to be honest, I was not interested at all in taking drama class at high school and was usually shy and nervous about giving presentations until university. So, I thought that theater wasn’t the right place for me.

Oftentimes the performance is just as important as the quality or depth (think about speaking with a great accent in a foreign language despite only knowing a few phrases), and I think that is where theater has its role in preparing you to speak and perform, to be witty and natural, and to entertain your audience. Also, I would love to build my technical knowledge of theater. 

people at theater
Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

 

3. Creative Writing:

Again, another writing class! While I have started adopting outlines and pre-writing techniques to improve my writing, I really would like to push my creativity and ability to describe something in words… to create a fictional world, to write a small scene or to embrace some lyrical rhythm in my prose.

I loved going to the Writing Studio at my school and getting feedback on my essays before turning them in! I would have enjoyed a creative writing class in poetry and fiction, which offered practice in styles, points of views, and structure.

I think most humanities majors would benefit from a creative writing class as they would not only get their creativity flowing, but also learn how to give and take constructive criticism, how to express themselves better, and writing regularly could serve as an outlet to relieve stress.

painting and drawing tools set
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

Let’s start a conversation! Which classes are on your list? Like and share with your friends.

Stephanie

 

**Coming Soon: “My First Trip Abroad in Photos/Roots of this Blog” & “My Favorite 5 Classes at University”**

Lake Bled ~ Slovenia

Lake Bled is a popular tourist destination and wedding venue in northwestern Slovenia. The town of Bled and Bled Lake are 55 km away from the capital of Slovenia—Ljublana.

Excerpt from my travel diary: Lake Bled was such a stunning and serene site. The lake was an amazing color and so clear. We had enough time to climb the steep hill and enjoy the view from the castle. The view was incredible! Being at the castle and looking down on the water was magnificent and fairytale-like. My eyes devoured the scenery.

 

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Bled 1
There are no major natural streams flowing into the lake; water supply comes from only a few springs. The thermal springs in the north-Eastern part of the lake now supplies the swimming pools of Bled hotels.
Bled 2
On Bled island are several buildings. Most notably is the Church of the Mother of God. The church has a stone-staircase with 99 steps. Ringing the church-bell three times is said to bring good fortune.

 

Lake Bled is a popular tourist destination and wedding venue in northwestern Slovenia. The town of Bled and Bled Lake are 55 km away from the capital of Slovenia—Ljublana.

The lake is surrounded by mountains and forests. It also has a small island. There are a few legends about the island: The legend of the Sunken Bell and one telling a story of Slovene pagan gods and the conversion to Christianity. There is a medieval castle at the lake—Bled Castle. A popular culinary delight at the castle is the Bled Cream Cake.

 

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Bled Castle has more than just tasty cake to offer. There is a museum collection and wine cellar, where you can bottle and seal wine. Not to mention, the view is splendid.

 

Bonus for nature-lovers: Close to Lake Bled is Vintgar Gorge. Vintgar is “gorge” in Slovenian. There are several touristically arranged, wooden bridges with great views of the 1.6 km-long gorge. There is also a stone bridge above Vintgar Gorge, if you would like a bird-eye’s view of the most intact nature of Bled. The gorge is also home to numerous plant species. Steep depths and beautiful fauna make the largest waterfall in Slovenia a memorable stop for Lake Bled-visitors.

 

~Stephanie F.

 

 

*All photos are from Austauscherfahrungen.

**https://www.slovenia.info/en/places-to-go/attractions/bled

**http://www.bled.si/en/what-to-see/natural-sights/lake-bled

**http://www.bled.si/en/what-to-see/cultural-sights/churches/the-church-on-the-island

**http://www.bled.si/en/what-to-see/natural-sights/the-vintgar-gorge/Presentation

Inspiring Quotes for Language Learners

Here are three inspiring quotes for hacking your language learning approach.
German is known as the language of poets (Dichter) and thinkers (Denker). Test your German reading with these insightful quotes in German language!

Dear language learners,

Here are three inspiring quotes for hacking your language learning approach.

German is known as the language of poets (Dichter) and thinkers (Denker). Test your German reading with these insightful quotes in German language!

 

Sprache Deutsch

 

Das Problem zu erkennen (recognize) ist wichtiger als die Lösung (solution) zu erkennen, denn die genaue Darstellung (exact depiction) des Problems führt zur (leads to) Lösung ~Albert Einstein, Physiker

  • Instead of saying “my German is bad,” find your weaker areas.. “I make mistakes conjugating verbs” or “I need to improve my listening.”

 

Es ist nicht genug (enough) zu wissen, man muss es auch anwenden (use it). Es ist nicht genug zu wollen (to want), man muss es auch tun (do it).  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, deutscher Dichter

  • Put what you know into practice. If you really want something, you also have to do it.

 

Das Geheimnis (secret) des Erfolges (of success) ist die Beständigkeit des Ziels (endurance of the goal.)  ~Benjamin Disraeli, britischer Politiker.

  • Stick with the goals you set!

 

 

Why are you learning German or any other foreign language? How do you stay inspired? What approaches or methods have been most useful for you?

~ Stephanie F.

Returning Home After 13 Months Abroad

 

Returning home to Georgia, U.S.A after 13 months abroad was surreal. I spent 7 weeks in Kiev, Ukraine. And before that, I was an exchange student in Erlangen, Germany. During my 11-month stay in Germany, I didn’t visit home a single time.

 

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The Court Square ~ Newnan, Georgia

 

I left behind a different reality in Europe and had a hard time suddenly slamming my brakes to match with the pace of life in a good ol’ suburban town.

 
The population of my hometown (Newnan, GA) is approximately 30,000 people, which is about the same as the number of undergraduates at my alma mater, Georgia State University. Although it has been a humbling experience to revisit my hometown, I do not feel that my roots are here, and it is quite clear that the suburban lifestyle of southern American towns, or at least this one, is too mundane for someone like me.

 
I no longer have the stresses that I had here as a teenager and I feel as if I am on a different level than other long-term residents… as if I am not defined by or confined to the old rumors. I see that my hometown is continually becoming more modern and more culturally diverse. But, I still have sympathy for the kids, who feel stuck here and have not had the chance to travel, or the chance to develop their beliefs at university.

 

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It was hard coming back. Having conversations with family or old friends can be challenging. The best way to describe the scenario is Plato’s Allegory of a Cave. In other words, we limit reality to our perceptions. To become enlightened, it is necessary to see life outside of the cave. The cave represents the states of most human beings. Those who return to the cave and try to recount what they have experienced meet disbelief from those who have not left the cave. We need more than just the naming of things; we also need reflective understanding. Travelling and learning foreign languages allow us to grow past only seeing the shadows in the cave.

 
I am still learning languages and working on a few small projects until my “medium-size” projects take off—I am looking for local internships and work while continuing plans of travel in the States. And my “big project” is getting accepted into grad school.

 

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A few days passed, and I was no longer waking at 4 in the morning. I guess it’s also not so bad being around people who really know you and not just the exchange student version of you… with friends who have not just seen how you’ve bloomed, but friends, who also know the “Georgia Red Clay” that you grew in and how your branches developed.

 

Sincerely,

Stephanie F.