Ina's Welsh Experience​

​As I seriously considered moving to the UK once I am done with secondary school and have finished my studies, the exchange year was a unique opportunity to get to know the everyday life in England.

I would be going to school there for a whole year and would encounter the great and highly regarded British school system, which was awesome! Since I was little I have always awed at the British schools with their uniforms and their extraordinary classes and I have read so much about it in books and watched films. I have always hoped to get to see everything myself once. I was hoping to make friends there as soon as possible, with whom I could attend a lot of extracurricular activities and spend my free time.

And it turns out that school in Wales was absolutely amazing! The teachers were great and I loved the relationship between student and teacher. School is a lot easier and relaxed in Wales than it is in Germany, but you still learn a whole lot. I just wish school was the same in Germany, I might actually like it then.

​I was also extremely curious about how life in a host family would be. Especially at my current age, my life is really shaped by my family, friends and direct surroundings. The exchange year gave me the chance to experience a whole different life and culture, which is important empirical knowledge, because that way I would get to know different perspectives and ways of life. Perhaps I would have a host sibling my age, who could help me through the school day and become my closest friend or I might have a cute little host sibling, like I have always wanted. Maybe my host family is religious and they would take me to church with them. That would be an incredible experience, for I am not religious myself, but really curious about religions. However, something about the host family was going to be absolutely certain: They would transfer first–hand experience of life in Great Britain to me. I could really feel something that seems to pull me straight toward the UK and I guess it must be because of its interesting culture and its kind, but a bit reserved, people, who I find to be very similar to myself. The friendships I would be making during my exchange year would be for a lifetime, I knew that even back when I decided to go on an exchange trip, and turns out everybody truly has taken a special place in my heart.

Living in Great Britain for a whole year would also, first and foremost, immensely improve my spoken and written language. I had already spent a lot of my free time dealing with the English language while reading books, watching films, clips, and more, but actually speaking to native speakers all day for a year would give me the ability to talk spontaneously without thinking. And just a few months after first arriving in Wales I had my first dream in English. All my lessons in school would be held in English and I could practice my absolutely favourite language everywhere I go. All the new vocabulary I would learn and the confidence I would find would be highly useful even once I am back in Germany. I would not only benefit from the exchange year while I was there, but for a lifetime. I want to study English and eventually become an English teacher, so the year in the UK helped me incredibly on my way. 

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