When I signed up to go and live in a country where I don’t speak the main language, I figured that some embarrassment might be involved – at least in the first few weeks anyway.
What I didn’t bargain on was how quickly or frequently this would occur, which was a little overwhelming for my sleep deprived self after a 3:30am start.
My first venture into Bonn left a trail of bemused and angry waitresses, checkout assistants, taxi drivers and mobile network employees in my wake.
It also quickly became clear that things I thought I had sorted were, in fact, not; such as there being somebody to get keys from at my accommodation.
Thankfully, an extremely helpful Jordanian student was able to translate my absentee building manager’s voicemail, which told me that he was away. A quick TripAdvisor search secured me a hotel for the night and, aside from the financial setback, I was none the worse for wear.
There is, however, a point to these ramblings, beyond giving you something to laugh at. I’ve travelled a fair amount, and as a result of this I thought I was beyond prepared, I thought that I would breeze through any culture shock and instantly acclimatise.
As I discovered, this can be a risky attitude to take.
Some lessons can be learned from my mistakes. First of all don’t get complacent; if there’s any ambiguity in the arrangements for your arrival, then get them clarified (this may involve you annoying some people). . . . .