Lorna Simpson – Case Study, Germany 2022-2023

Moving to Germany for 6 months with the help and support of The John Speak Trust, didn’t have a huge impact on my life. It changed its direction completely.

My mum was born and raised in Germany, but moved to England when she was in her early twenties. My parents for various reasons, raised me in a solely English-speaking household, which left later in my life, what can only best be described as a ‘jigsaw puzzle piece’ misfaf32e10-a11a-4d2a-bcbf-8e52d376c518sing from my identity. I attempted many times over the course of my teens and young adult life to learn German, but it became quite clear that in order to reach the level of fluency I desired, I had to immerse myself in the country, its culture and its people.


In September 2022, with the help of a bursary from The John Speak Trust, I moved to Germany with the intention of significantly improving my German before returning to England to continue my studies in Primary Education and German Language Studies. What I didn’t intend on happening, was falling in love with country, throwing myself into so many new experiences and encounters, and meeting some of the most amazing people in my life who I will treasure forever.

The first couple of months came with its challenges, but the positives, absolutely outweighed the negatives.

I set myself the rule from day one, that I would immerse myself as much as possible in the language. This meant only German TV, only German music (that was a struggle!), and at all costs, only German to communicate. This last point in a country such as Germany, was at times quite difficult, as Germans are known for being good English speakers and many jump at the chance to speak English when they have the opportunity. However, I stood firm, and also when it was difficult, pushed through to have myself understood.

IMG-6861In terms of meeting new people and making friends, I 100% landed in the perfect setting. Landau is a university town and although there are also many families and older people living there, the town is for the majority, populated by students. My WG (flat share) was a mixture between working young people and students, and this absolutely worked to my advantage as there was always someone around who had free time to share with me. This mix also allowed me to meet new friends of all different age ranges and backgrounds.IMG-9324 (1)

Over the course of my 6 months in Germany, I experienced so many firsts. My first ever German Birthday celebration, a pumpkin carving party, Eintopf (Typical German casserole/soup) in a Palatinate Hut in the woods, my first ever ‘real’ German Christmas Market, fireworks in the street on New Year, and Carnival (or Fasching as it is known here), are just to name a few.

Saying goodbye to Germany after 6 months was really hard for me, as I truly believe that I found myself there, and the boost it gave me in my German knowledge and speaking was phenomenal. After some hard decision making, and reflecting on what I really wanted in my life, I made the decision to return to Germany to continue my studies here at Landau University, with a focus on English Language teaching in German secondary schools, along side improving and perfecting my own German.

IMG-7584My intention is to encourage and inspire more young people to go down the route of foreign language in their careers, in the hope that in particular, Germany and England can remain fiercely united in working together.  IMG-6684

Words almost seem not enough to describe how beyond thankful I am for this experience.

The bursary itself helped enormously, but apart from that, The John Speak provided me with the guidance and improvements I required through my monthly reports, and even down to my first initial interaction and conversation with Mark Green at The John Speak Trust, this is what inspired me and gave me the confidence to take this huge step in my life.

Thank you. I will be forever grateful.

Posted in Case Study, Monthly Reports