Solveig's Story - ISI Dublin
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Solveig’s Story

February 8, 2019

Hi! My name is Solveig, I’m 16 years old and from the southern part of Germany. Approximately one year ago I decided to do an exchange (half) year abroad. But where? Canada? Or maybe America? New Zealand sounds cool too. I wanted to be as far away from home as possible, I wanted to spend American Dollars at the Manhattan Mall or go surfing at the endlessness white beaches of Sydney. Overall, I wanted to have the maximum possible culture shock.

Hi! My name is Solveig, I’m 16 years old and from the southern part of Germany. Approximately one year ago I decided to do an exchange (half) year abroad. But where? Canada? Or maybe America? New Zealand sounds cool too. I wanted to be as far away from home as possible, I wanted to spend American Dollars at the Manhattan Mall or go surfing at the endlessness white beaches of Sydney. Overall, I wanted to have the maximum possible culture shock.

So, how did I end up here on the “green Isle”? To be honest, it’s pretty simple. It was, like many things in life, the question of money – and maybe that my parents didn’t want to let their “little princess” go so far away. They said that I should stay in Europe, “just in case of an emergency” and “it will be so much easier with insurances and phone contracts”, all this kind of stuff that I didn’t want to hear about. But my parents stayed consistent and I had the decision between the English-speaking countries Malta (way too many tourists) the UK and Ireland. I’m a child from the countryside and I always hated that you always have to rely on your parents to go anywhere, I hate that everyone knows everyone and that you have to drive at least an hour by car for going to the next shopping mall so I definitely wanted to go in a big city – a capital city. Because of that there was only England and Ireland left to choose from, so I had the choice between London or Dublin. But with London, it was the same thing as with Malta, too many tourists and, apart from that, it’s unbelievable expensive. I don’t want to say that there is a huge difference in these points from Dublin to London but at least there is a difference. But, to be honest, I still wasn’t completely happy with this decision.

When I finally, more than a half year later, got onto my airplane, I still had mixed feelings. But first of all, I was super nervous. I was looking forward but still a little bit terrified about living in a country where I never was before, without my family or any people I knew and just being able to communicate in a foreign language. One of my biggest fears was, that my English is comparing to all the other exchange students horrible and nobody would understand me. I thought that my English was maybe the worst from all exchange students my host family had before but I have to say that it’s probably not that bad as I thought. Speaking of my host family, I was also a little bit scared about my 5- and 7-years old host siblings because I never had anything to do with younger kids and had absolutely no idea how to act with them. I mean, for sure it is a lot louder in this house now than in my house but I guess I’ll kind of miss all this shouting and running when I’ll be back home.

 And then I arrived In Dublin, perfectly in time as it should be as a German. I was so impressed with everything even if it didn’t look any different than in Germany. My first Days in here were really interesting. I went to Dublin and Malahide and explored the area of Swords. I love that the sea is so near and that I can drive without any adults to Dublin. And then at one day we went to buy a school uniform. I have to be honest, I really don’t like wearing a uniform for school. People asked me often if it doesn’t take too much time to dress up everyday and if you’re under pressure because people could judge you if you’re not wearing any cool brands an stuff like that in school but in fact for me it’s completely the opposite, I’ve more the feeling that the teenagers here dress up more especially I  their free time because normally they’re just wearing school uniforms what’s definitely not bad but I personally like “without uniform” better. But on a whole, school in here is pretty cool. I quickly found friends because in my experience Irish people are very welcoming, open-minded and warm-hearted. All the students were interested in where I live, how my life in Germany is and how I feel here in Ireland. I felt instantly comfortable and was excited for my next few months.

I decided to do the TY (Transition year) and I’m very glad about that even if I wasn’t sure at the beginning if this is the best thing for me to do. I have to say that I’ve at some days the feeling that I didn’t learn anything at all and it’s to be honest really expensive because we’re doing a lot of trips what’s in my opinion the best thing about TY. If I would live in Ireland, I probably wouldn’t like it because it reminds a little bit at a tourist program but I’m kind of a tourist so it is cool to see a lot of places and spend less money than you would normally do. This year is unique and only in Ireland as I know so we don’t have it in Germany – another reason why it was the right decision to choose that.

My host family including my host parents, 2 younger host siblings (as already mentioned), a Spanish Au-pair, until a week ago a Spanish exchange student and a Labrador puppy. For me it is a completely new experience to live in such a big Family. At home I’m just living with my older brother and my parents so it’s often quiet and I’m frequently alone but in here are nearly always noises and you’re rarely home alone. Sometimes it can be annoying but overall it is pretty nice. My host mum is an amazing cooker and we get every evening fresh and healthy food. The au-pair of the family became one of my best friends here and we’re going often outside for a walk when she finished work. I am so thankful that I met her – my (new) big sister!

I didn’t have any homesickness at all, maybe I’m just not a person for that. And I’ve also tried to see as much places as I can that I hadn’t really time for homesickness because I went every weekend out. Next week is my birthday and I think I’ll probably have a little bit homesickness then because I spend normally this day with my Family and my Friends in Germany. But I’m also looking forward to it because I’m going to celebrate my birthday with my new friends and my host family.

Back to the beginning; am I still mad because my parents didn’t allow me to go out of Europe? I would say definitely not! It would’ve been totally different… maybe better, maybe worse, nobody knows but that’s alright because I’m having a good time here and I am having both, good and bad experiences. I mean, perfect would be boring, wouldn’t it? And I’m still so grateful to my parents for making this possible. I guess there’s just one last question left; will I come back to the “green Isle”? I would say… definitely yes!

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