Learning a language abroad

There’s no better way to learn a language than from the locals themselves. As someone who has lived in two different countries to improve their languages skills, I’ve found different locals tend to have different approaches to your efforts to learn, maintain and improve a foreign language. Here’s a few of the personalities I’ve come across:…

The German obsession with cake & ice-cream

Imagine being hungry, like really hungry and instead of offering you a nice, filling, savoury meal, someone asks you if you want slice of cake. Noooo, I don’t want cake, I’m starving, I want real food! I recently went to a cafe with a group of friends (German and non-German) and given that it was…

Struggling with German in Frankfurt

I definitely had an advantage when I moved to Germany. In hindsight being able to speak German before I got here was actually a huge advantage and I wasn’t quite aware of how much my German language skills contributed to the ease of settling in in Frankfurt. Yes, there were times when I needed to look…

Sick leave in Germany

Being sick is a weak excuse in the London office. Unless everyone can see that you have dragged yourself to work that morning, are looking extra rough, tried to act as if you’re not ill, but still ended up nearly fainting at your desk, you’re either completely faking it, exaggerating or running out of annual…

The lack of customer service in Germany

Essential organisation is required for the brutal 3 minute procedure of having your food practically chucked at you after being scanned, whilst you’re expected to pack, swipe your points card, sign after using your debit card (because apparently a PIN just isn’t good enough) and then maybe you’ll get a “tschüß” if you’re lucky as…

Noticing a change in your native language when you move abroad

Friend in Frankfurt: Once you’ve been here for a while, you’ll realise that your English begins to change. Me: No chance! I couldn’t have been more wrong. 21 months later and I often catch myself saying odd things in English that I never would have crossed my mind before I moved abroad. Of course, the…

Struggling to show your true personality in a foreign language

One of the beauties of speaking another language is that it allows you to express yourself through different words and concepts that don’t exist in your native tongue. Never did I think though, that it could make me (loud, outgoing and laughs all day Alisa) appear to be shy and reserved. Why is it so…

Shaking hands and getting naked: Culture shock at its finest

So you’re at a social event and there are a few friend’s of friends who you’ve not yet met. As usual, you introduce yourself and oh.. err.. this suddenly becomes seriously awkward as you dive in for a hug whilst the other person politely offers their hand. “What!? Have I missed something?” Nope, this isn’t…

How to perfect all 16 ways to say ‘the’ in German

“Memorise the definite article table!” Yes, everyone says that, but the question is how? At first, I avoided learning the ridiculous number of definite articles in the hope that I’d just pick it up over time, but I soon gave in when I realised that my optimism wasn’t getting me anywhere! 15 years of speaking…

Over one year abroad and I’m still experiencing ‘firsts’

A few weeks of avoidance, finding the most convenient inconvenient time and getting to work late, all to be elevated back in a fancy chair and have random metal tools prodded around your mouth. Does anyone actually like going to the dentist? No, me neither, especially not when I’m abroad but I thought it was…

Do you dream in German?

To answer simply – yes. But what I actually find interesting is how I dream in German. I work in a bilingual environment, meaning there are some words that I only really use in German and others that I only really use in English, depending on what I am speaking about. Sometimes I even have to…

Could I have moved abroad if I didn’t speak the language?

Put simply, yes. Would it have been so easy? Probably not. But it all depends where you go and what you actually want from the experience. Maybe languages aren’t your thing? Remember my first night out when I arrived in Frankfurt, the one I went to on my own? It was an English speaking event…