Four months, one drained bank account and more than a few embarrassing incidents later, I’ve returned to the ever so slightly warmer shores of the UK. It was a somewhat surreal transition, as I went from an exam in Germany to lectures in London in the space of 48 hours.
I instantly knew I was on my way home when I boarded the plane. A man was unreasonably blocking the aisle and, perfectly on cue, a very matter-of-fact Englishman used some rather strong language to suggest that he should take his seat, promptly.
The two questions I’ve been asked repeatedly since my return have been ‘how was it?’ and ‘so did you learn any German?’. Along with most returning students I’m not quite sure how to answer the first one. Seeing as ‘it’ is 4 months of my life, ‘good thanks’ doesn’t quite seem adequate. Although I’ve been reliably informed that I should try not to go on about it too much.
As for the second one, you will inevitably find that in a group of multiple nationalities whose only common language is English, you might get less language practice than you were expecting.
My main accomplishment was learning to count to ten in Italian, although one of the checkout ladies at my local supermarket was convinced I spoke German right up until the bitter end. I almost felt guilty finally having to break my mantra of ‘hallo, ja, dankeschön, tschüss’ during my very last shop. . . .