As I started to unfold my life as an exchange student in Germany, I began to behave a bit differently as if I had finally achieved what I had longed for. This was a psychological cure to encourage myself since I had never thought of living in Europe for such a long time, nor did I know any German.
However, after 10 months, it turned out that living in one of the European countries was an incredible experience. First of all, it gave me the pleasure of travelling around. I was not a travelling person until I experienced such practical and easy transportation system of Germany. It was possible for me to take a train anytime I wanted to travel within Germany or nearby Eastern Europe countries like Austria or Czech. Also thanks to Germany’s geographical advantage of being located at the very center of Europe, I could fly to the neighboring countries at a very low price. Do not miss this great chance when you happen to be in Europe. All you should do is be an early bird. What’s more, you can even get a free ticket.
Another unforgettable memory was my dormitory life. There were no big dormitories in Halle, the city which I lived in, like one could imagine. My dorm was a flat house with two roommates. Nevertheless, I was guaranteed to have my own personal space and time because we only shared the kitchen and bathrooms.
For two semesters, I had Korean, German, and Japanese girls as my roommates and we were very friendly to one another. Besides, since my Japanese roommate introduced her friend who was studying in Korea as an exchange student, I was able to meet him and be his new Korean friend when I came back to Korea.
However, I cannot say that every single day was wonderful because most people in Halle preferred speaking in German to English. When I was out of school, I regretted not having learned German before going there. Incomplete communication made me feel dull sometimes, but I overcame this weakness by enjoying my hobbies.
After all, I do wish I could visit there again because I have been so satisfied with my choice, although it was a little spontaneous, and my new friends with whom I shared all these good memories. Lastly, I would like to say that I learned an important lesson that every opportunity has its benefits, even if it is not exactly the same as what you have planned.
* Han Ji-hee (’06, English) studied at the University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany.