As soon as I learn I am taking a trip I immediately start fantasizing about it. Anything from the food and the experiences, to the hotel room/house and the people I’ll meet. Because I do this I often have expectations about my experiences. Sometimes, more often than not, these expectations are different than reality. I am going to share with you a few of the expectations I had for my trip this summer to Germany and how they differed from reality.
My first expectation was that I would quickly learn German and be able to communicate with my host family and friends. First things first, German is an extremely hard language. I knew that before I went to Germany but I didn’t fully understand it. I did come out knowing simple greetings and goodbyes, as well as my numbers through 10 and primary colors (thanks to uno,) but I definitely was not able to carry a conversation before I left.
Another expectation I had was my high school experience would be similar to the one at my high school. What was really surprising for me is their high school is more like our college. The classes change almost every day, there is no dress code, they can leave the school during free time, classes start later and end earlier. Basically everything I wish my high school in Ohio could be. This reality was way better than my expectation about going into a German high school.
My biggest expectation was that everyone would talk to me because I spoke English so they could practice their English. My host sister’s friends were too scared to speak to me for the first two weeks because they thought their English was too bad. I told them their English is better than my German and they slowly began warming up to me. Their English was fine, I had no trouble understanding or communicating with them once they spoke English. Getting the students to talk to me was definitely my biggest challenge while abroad. Next time I go abroad I hope I will be able to resolve this problem more quickly so I can spend more time getting to know the language and culture of that country.
How have your travel expectations turned out?