As part of my German degree at the University of Warwick in England, I was given the fantastic opportunity to spend a year in Germany as an English teaching assistant. Before I had the chance to say Auslandsaufenthaltsvorbereitung, I had already arrived in Usingen at the end of August prepared to start work at the Christian-Wirth School. The fact that it was a Gymnasium pleased me as I went to the British equivalent, a grammar school. My first impressions were great, especially as I had read that it used to be a Schloss. The teachers and students were kind and welcoming. It wasn’t long before I was assisting in lessons, working on improving those English pronunciations, providing some context for what the students were learning, doing Vertretung and teaching my own conversation classes. It was a great experience to work with such a range of age groups, from Year 5 to Abitur and even teach a lesson a week at the Buchfinken Primary School in Eschbach with the youngsters.
Being given such responsibility allowed me to thrive and grow confident, not only in teaching but my ability to speak and think 'auf Deutsch'. My year abroad has made me realise that one cannot truly learn a language without spending a significant amount of time in the respective country. Similarly, I have found it is beneficial and more exciting for foreign students of English to have contact with a native speaker. I will remember my students and colleagues with fondness and am grateful for all the presents and cards I have received.
Of course, the work was of valuable experience but I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and travelling, not only around Hessen and Germany but Europe as well. Living close to Frankfurt made this easily feasible. Frankfurt is also a quirky place that I grew to love. I am already missing “Grüne Soße” and “Ebbelwei”. Not knowing much about Hessen seemed like a perfectly valid reason to apply to work there and I have no regrets.
Now I am enjoying the “summer” before I go back to university in October for my final year as a student. Many in Germany assumed that I want to be a teacher but at this time in my life, that is not the case. Luckily, studying a language in the UK opens many doors to a wide range of careers, ranging from management and accountancy to journalism and interpretation.
Obwohl ich mir nicht ganz sicher bin, was die Zukunft bringen wird, möchte ich auf jeden Fall meine Deutschkenntnisse weiterhin nutzen und verbessern. Deshalb werde ich mit Sicherheit nach Deutschland zurückkehren, worauf ich mich auch schon freue. Wer weiß, vielleicht werde ich eines Tages in Usingen vorbeifahren und einen Besuch abstatten.
Besonders möchte ich mich bei Familie Heinemann bedanken, die mich aufgenommen und unterstützt hat und bei der ich mich auch in Usingen wie zuhause gefühlt habe. Weiterhin wünsche ich den Schülerinnen und Schülern sowie dem Lehrerkollegium der Christian-Wirth-Schule alles erdenklich Gute.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen