Good news, I made it to Germany! I got here about 4pm on Tuesday and so far so good, I love it.
One of the things I have found strange though is the difference between the attitudes in student halls in Leicester and the halls I’m in here. In Leicester my best friends were the people I lived with; we’d leave our doors open and just pop in to have a chat whenever, go down for meals together, go on nights out together etc. Apparently in Germany the attitude is much more focussed on working hard then playing hard, so when the students are in their room they are working, and keep themselves to themselves a lot more.
I’ve tried to leave my door open for people to pop in, but it’s been wholly unsuccessful. On the first day I heard voices on the floor below so I knocked on and introduced myself as a new Erasmus student, and I just got stared down until I felt so uncomfortable I made my excuses and scurried back to my room.
That’s not to say I’ve been lonely here. My flatmate is wonderful, we have a shared kitchen so we got chatting there and now we’ve been out exploring together every day so far. There is also an Erasmus group on Facebook who have been arranging things, so I’ve been to all of their events and met some really friendly people there.
So if you’re moving into halls in Leicester in a couple of weeks, or will be doing so next year, here are a couple of tips:
-Make sure you are accessible. It is a lot more socially acceptable to leave your door open in England (with you inside of course, let’s not be lax on safety!), maybe stick your name on your door or something, so that people know you’re approachable. Hiding in your room isn’t the answer
-Spend time in any communal areas. Having a quick chat whilst you make a cup of tea every day will quickly turn into knowing each other quite well, and if people spot you around the place they’ll want to get to know you.
-If you are having trouble with making friends in your halls, know that sometimes that just happens. In that case, try and find a group, a society or a sport etc, so that you can meet people that way. The first meetings can be a bit scary, but stick at it because it is worth it. Sometimes you’ll be tired and won’t want to join in, but try your best to go to as much as you can in the first few weeks because it’s how you get to know everyone. There’ll be plenty of time to sit in your room watching the complete Friends box in a few weeks time.
-Sometimes you probably will feel a bit rubbish and like you’re not getting on with people as well as you want to. Don’t worry, it’s normal, and it usually wears off. If that happens then either try and get out of your room by going somewhere, speaking to someone, or do something to treat yourself.
Well that’s that. Unfortunately I can’t upload any photos of my new hometown at the moment because I’ve got to work out how to make the files smaller first, but hopefully in the next post I can show you some 🙂