As part of my International Business with German course at Sheffield Hallam University, I have the opportunity to live in Germany for 18 months: 6 months studying and 12 months on a work placement.
I received support from the John Speak Trust in the first 6 months during my study semester at the Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Thuringia.
Here I undertook regular language classes in addition to business modules taught in German alongside native speakers. This allowed me to progress my language skills more rapidly than I have previously experienced. My reading, writing, speaking and listening skills all felt like they were improving as the language became my main focus. Weekends and my free time also provided opportunity to explore the rest of Germany, allowing me to experience the things that cannot be found in a classroom, such as the extensive use of slang and the true variety of German dialect, as it is such a linguistically diverse country. This was most evident when I visited Stuttgart just before beginning my work placement with Bosch, as the contrast in language, dialect and culture compared to, for example, Cologne was remarkable. The Swabian dialect is definitely something that takes a bit of time to get used to, but is a much softer way of speaking and I’m beginning to rather like it. The people I met whilst living in Jena and Stuttgart have only enhanced my experience.
Finding myself in new cities but feeling so comfortable with a solid group of friends is one of the many highlights that I will always remember.
I will now enjoy the rest of my time on placement abroad before returning to Sheffield to complete my course.
I am hugely grateful to the John Speak Trust, as without the funding I would not have been able to explore nearly as much as I have and would have felt much more restricted.
The monthly reports have also left me with something to look back on and reminisce in a way that would not otherwise be possible. Thank you.