Nina Yewell’s Update from Birklehof, Germany!

Hallo from Germany! I can’t believe that I have been two weeks at the Schule Birklehof! Time has flown by and each day just gets better and better. In the beginning, I was really nervous about everything–the language barrier, classes, dorm life, etc. But I quickly found out that I had nothing to worry about! The people here are so welcoming and are always willing to speak English with me. I will admit, when I first learned that I was going to Germany for exchange, I did not expect there to be much of a language barrier because I thought that part of the school would be in English. But! Having been here for a couple of weeks now, I have barely let the language barrier affect me or anything that I do! The more talking and asking questions I do, the more friends I meet. Each day I am meeting someone new, despite the tiny size of the school (only 190 students total!).

Being in the middle of the Black Forest has been absolutely amazing! Everything is so laid back and a “go with the flow” vibe circulates everywhere. It’s like the words ‘stress’ and ‘worry’ don’t exist here. The school is only a 15-minute walk to a small town called Hinterzarten. The other exchanges and I walk there almost every day to go the small grocery store, Edeka. It is the perfect place to grab snacks and the best collection of German chocolates I’ve ever seen. Throughout the town are bakeries, small hotels, and one pizza place called Franco, where almost every weekend you can find Birklehof students there just hanging out and eating good pizza.

Since the school is in the middle of the Black Forest, there is a lot of hiking and exploring that I can do with the other students. Because the school allows for a lot of free time during the day and in-between meals, there is a hike almost every day.

I was skeptical about dorm life at first, but then I remembered when I shared a room with my sister for eight years and it’s been a breeze since. Everyone in my dorm is so nice and funny. There is always music playing 24/7 too–usually some American 80’s music. And, someone is always cooking pasta; the beautiful smell of pasta never goes away.

So far, my exchange to Germany has been amazing and I can’t wait for more experiences and memorable times to come!