On the 8th of January 2018 I left my home in Ireland for a month away in Germany. I’ve always wanted to do something like this but I am quite a “home-bird”  so one month was perfect for me as I wasn’t away for too long. It was an amazing experience and I would most certainly recommend it to anyone who wants to do. The first week was definitely the hardest for me as it was my first time away from home without a member of my family but my exchange family made me feel completely at home straight away. The weekends were my favourite as my host family took me to places such a Neuschwanstein, Munich etc and they also brought me on a lot of hiking trips as they lived relatively close to the alps. School was hard in terms of understanding but it was really good to feel my German improving over the four weeks even just slightly. The first weekend they brought me to a Bundesleague match as they knew about my interest in soccer. It was definitely one of my highlights to see how much the Germans love their soccer and I loved how much it made my Dad and my brothers jealous with all the videos and pictures I sent them. The second week was so much easier then the first and I felt more comfortable with Julia and her family. I started to really like the food and culture over there, I love bread so I was in the right place  as they have bread for breakfast and lunch most days. The family did their best to show me  a lot of their culture and foods for example the first week I tasted goulash (which i loved). At the weekend, we went to Schloss Neuschwanstein where I’ve always wanted to go, it was absolutely amazing. We got a tour of the giant castle and it looks just like something out of a fairytale. By the third week, I realised how fast the month was going and how I was halfway there already. Julia and I got on extremely well at this stage and her sister and friends were all really friendly to me and tried to include me in everything.  Throughout the whole four week period the family took me on series of walks and hikes to show me the best of southern Germany. Some were quite tough especially through the snow but they were always worth it at the top. The views were spectacular and for someone who has never seen proper mountains before I was absolutely amazed by how gigantic they are and how small you seem standing next to them. Also on the weekend of the third week, they took me on a trip to Munich. We got two city bus tours and walked around the city for a few hours. We visited Nymphenburg Palace and walked through Marian’s Platz. It is such a beautiful city and it was a pleasure to be able to visit it. In the fourth week, though I was looking forward to going home, I was also quite sad to leave the Huber family and southern Bavaria. On my last day of school, some of my German classmates threw a little going away party for me with cake and sweets. It was really nice of them and they even gave me a picture of them for me to remember them. For the last weekend I asked my exchange family if we could visit Dachau as I have learned about such concentration camps in school and I wanted to visit it. It was quite tough but it was such a good experience and I was really thankful my exchange family brought me as they found it quite hard themselves. At the end of the four weeks, I felt my understanding of German definitely improved, although my speaking German did not improve as much as the majority of people talked in English to me. Part of me wished I had more time in Germany but I think a month was enough time for me. It was an unforgetable month and I was unbelievably glad I did it.  Leah 



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