Hallo Heidelberg

7 February 2019

Our first blog this year comes from a guest blogger- Emma Farrell - who spent her first semester in Heidelberg, Germany, working as a language assistant. It is a throwback to her arrival in Heidelberg and the pleasant surprise that settling in has been easier than expected.

emma blog

I made it! I’m alive and well in this beautiful German city, which I can now call home. Yesterday, I finished my teacher training course, had a quick peek at Cologne Cathedral and hopped on the train to Heidelberg. I say ‘hopped,’ but with the amount of luggage I had, it would be an exaggeration to say ‘limped.’

Heidelberg Cathedral

My mentor, the Head of Languages, very kindly met me at the train station and we began a conversation which ended up being the LONGEST PERIOD OF TIME I’VE EVER SPOKEN GERMAN. Don’t get me wrong – it definitely wasn’t perfect, and sometimes, not even logical – but it was two hours of foreign language speaking, which felt like a big deal to me. During this time, she drove me to the school for a quick tour, took me food shopping for essentials, and even helped me unpack in my new apartment.

My new apartment is located in the basement of a primary school head teacher’s house. Before you start thinking about ‘the choke-y’ in Matilda, let me tell you that I am very happy indeed. It’s not a basement like you’d see in a blockbuster horror movie, but a floor that is about 1.5m below street level, so I’ve still got windows that look out into the garden. I’ve got a tiny bathroom and kitchen, but it’s my own, and the rest of the living space is really clean, bright and spacious. It’s like a cosy little hobbit hole, which suits me. I slept like a log, despite the strange German pillow – I don’t think I’ll ever understand those.

Today was busy. I had to be at the Einwohnermeldeamt at 08.00 to get my residency certificate, which was followed by a quick one-hour jaunt to get my new (second-hand) bicycle. It’s only a 20-minute ride to school from my apartment, and it just seemed like the German thing to do. I managed to haggle it down to 50 euros and even got a lock thrown in for free – funnily enough, it’s easier to be assertive when you’re not speaking English. I concluded my afternoon by returning to the school to get to know my new colleagues a little better over lunch.

Heidelberg Bike

Having survived the (slightly hair-raising) ride home, I am now eating the strawberry cake left on my desk as a surprise by my lovely landlady. I’m planning my weekend, which doesn’t end until Tuesday because I have no classes to teach this Monday, and is it looking like this:

· Tomorrow, go cycling with my landlady who has offered to show me around the neighbourhood.

· Tomorrow evening, meet an American student living in Mannheim (she’s also teaching English) for a tour of the city’s bars and clubs.

· Sunday to Tuesday, unknown but full of potential.

Everybody has been so accommodating and welcoming so far, and honestly, the first day has been so much easier than I expected. I really can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next.


Taken from Emma Farrell's original blog.