Malene in Bremen, Germany // Final Report

Packing your stuff and moving to a new city in another country might be scary for some people. At least, it was for me and I can tell you that it was not easy either. However, aside from being scared; I was actually extremely excited. I had expectations and I just wanted to go somewhere I’ve never been before.

In the beginning, you have to inhale all the new impressions in an uncomfortable speed, even if you would rather take your time and do it at a slower pace. You hear and read a different language everywhere you go and believe it or not, it can be a bit troubling from time to time. Not everybody speaks English. Some people also refuse to speak something else than their mother tongue, but if you are able to say anything in their language, they will appreciate it. It can also make you feel a bit annoyed when someone doesn’t understand you at all or refuses to understand you, but try not to take it too personally and just move on.

You might discover that people act and behave differently than how you are used to. I have had some situations where I needed help at an information desk at a train station, but did not get it. The woman who was supposed to help me behaved like from another planet and probably lost her manner in space. Okay, this may be an uncommon situation, but I still find that the overall civility did not reach my expectations. This is of course only in my opinion, as I am used to another culture. I promise you that if you give yourself and the locals some time, it will get better. Always try to have an open mind and show interest in other cultures.

Moving to a new city without knowing anyone else who lives there means that you have to start from scratch with building a social network. It is normal to feel a bit lost and alone in the beginning, I certainly did. Since I came to Germany to work as a volunteer and not as a student, I did not have the chance to meet people at a university. If you find yourself in the same situation, you should look at it as an opportunity and not an obstacle. You might have to search, look for and put yourself out there and it can make you uncomfortable, however, now you really have a chance to discover something offbeat or new.

If you do not know where to start, search for social Facebook groups where people meet up and arrange activities. It can be scary to show up on an arranged activity alone, but people who are members of these groups are often very open or in the same situation as yourself. You can also search for running groups, dancing or drawing classes etc. whatever interest you or sounds cool. You might even discover a new hobby. There is also different types of apps for meeting new people. You can always put yourself out there, go to a bar, club or café and try to speak to someone. The first time is always the worst, but then you get more confident and you also learn more about yourself. Remember to give people time and not to judge by the first impression.

As I said, it can be challenging to meet new people and make friends. It does not make it any better, if you get homesick at the same time. Even if you have been abroad before, you can get homesick when you least expect it. Remember that it is a part of travelling and being abroad and it happens to everyone. Try to think of something else, distract yourself with watching a movie or by doing something fun. Just let the time pass and you will eventually feel better. There is not so much to do about it, except for letting the time pass, and you can always call your friends and family back home.

Working in a new environment and with new people can be a bit confusing. Trust me, I know. You might feel a bit everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I know it sounds a bit crazy. I felt a bit lost in the beginning. You have a lot to learn in the beginning and it can be overwhelming. Take your time and don’t be afraid to ask questions. ­­­­­­­­­­After a while, piece by piece I learned new things and started to see the bigger picture.

Give yourself time to adjust to everything: the food, the people, the culture, the languages etc. Don`t be afraid to try out something new, throw yourself out there and you might end up loving it. Travelling will have many ups and downs and that is how it is supposed to be. You will learn a lot and have a lot of fun. Good luck!