Rosalind Lane Hamburg Case Study
My year in Hamburg has had a huge impact on me. I want to start off by saying thank you to the John Speak Trust, who have sponsored me throughout this year. The charity enabled me to travel around new Germany, meet new people and make the most of the wonderful city that is Hamburg!
I moved to Hamburg in September 2022 to study a Master’s in German law. After working for three years, I wanted to take a break after finishing my grad scheme to both study further and experience life in another country. It was a brave decision to leave my job and friends in London, and move to a brand new city, but what a decision it was! I completed my Master’s (including writing a whole Master’s dissertation in German…) and have managed to have some fun along the way.
As anyone who has lived abroad will tell you, moving to another country forces you to learn a lot about yourself. Not only how best you learn languages (an important one!), but how you like to meet new people and overcome the numerous challenges that life in another country brings. However, with the challenges come great joys: I have made new friendships with people all over the world, totally immersed myself in another culture and even managed to find a job!
There have been several highlights of this year, but a couple of them stand out. A big one was the opportunity to spend the whole of March in Vienna, exploring the city and writing my dissertation in Viennese cafes, something I had always dreamt of doing. I rented a studio flat for four weeks, packed my bag and decided to immerse myself in another city. Although Vienna is also German speaking, its culture is a world away from Hamburg in Germany’s north. More traditional and laid-back, I loved being able to gain a deeper insight into one of my favourite cities.
Another clear highlight was finishing my Master’s dissertation. This had taken a huge amount of work and is one of my proudest achievements to date. From picking a title, to researching a specific area of German law, to trying to articulate a reasonably well-founded argument, this was definitely a challenge for my language skills. However, the saying that the best way to learn languages is by being thrown in the deep end is completely true, and I’ve come out the other side feeling much more confident in my German.
The rest of the year also had great moments. I made the most of living in a city with a beach, drank mulled wine at the Christmas markets and was able to show visitors the highlights of this great city. I’ve also become a lot more comfortable travelling by myself, one of the aims I set for myself before I moved, so that’s another achievement to celebrate.
And for those looking to move to Germany, a few words of advice: meet as many new people as possible, try and get a regular hobby, and travel wherever you can. Oh, and apply for your visa early!!