Going Abroad to Save for College

 Gabrielle  New home: Bad Ems, Germany     Home city & country: Syracuse, NY, USA  Move date: January 2015

Gabrielle

New home: Bad Ems, Germany   

Home city & country: Syracuse, NY, USA

Move date: January 2015

Why did you decide to move abroad?

I decided to move abroad because I couldn’t afford to go to college and so I wanted to work for a year to save for it. I decided being an aupair would be perfect because all of my living costs were paid for and so I could save all of my money! 

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How did you spend your First Month Abroad?

I spent my first month in the house and out exploring the small town that I lived in. I was very nervous because I did not speak a word of a German and so in that first month I don’t think I made a single friend! I spent most of my time with my host family instead of branching out to new people. Luckily, I started gaining confidence and I went out a lot more in the months after with people my own age!

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What has surprised you most about living in a foreign country?

I was very surprised that I didn’t know how to use basic things like the oven or dryer. I actually had to be taught how to use them and this was funny and frustrating! 

I was also surprised that all of the music I was used to hearing on the radio in New York was on the radio in Germany! I thought that Germany would have all of it’s own singers and songs but they listen to all of our music along with their own music! 

The only advice that I have for prospective ex-pats is to not be afraid of asking for help even if it seems like it is something stupid. If you don’t want to go to your host family or neighbors then there are hundreds of expat pages you can go on!

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Any cultural/language barrier funny moments?

I had been living with my host family for about two weeks and I was growing increasingly frustrated because the dog never listened to me. I was supposed to walk him but he would never sit, stay, or be quiet (he liked to bark if he saw another dog). One day, I was being very stern with him and I was telling him to sit for the tenth time when the thirteen year old boy walked by and said, “Whiskey doesn’t understand English. You have to give the commands in German.” I had never even considered that a dog in Germany would obviously be trained in German. It was super embarrassing but we all still joke about it today!

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What are your favorite activities in your new town?

Bad Ems is an incredibly small town and there wasn’t a lot of different things to do there. However, there was a ton of hiking and so I spent most of my free time on the trails or walking by the river!

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What advice would you give to tourists visiting your new home town?

I would definitely tell them to hike because of the views of the city are beautiful from above, especially since a river cuts straight through the town! I would also suggest doing a boat tour down the Lahn river!

What is the one MUST SEE?

Eating at the Berghotel Wintersberg. They have great food and the view is unbeatable!

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What do you miss most about home?

I missed my friends and boxed macaroni and cheese. It's nice to have your friends nearby because if you have a bad day you can have a sleepover, binge Netflix, and eat ice cream together but you don't have that when you first move into a new city.

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What's next?

I spent a year there and then six months in Vienna as an aupair before I moved to Houston! I love my job and so I just started a full-time nanny position in Houston while I finish my Bachelor’s degree! I finish school in a year and a half and then I’m hoping to go to law school.

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