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Hi everyone and welcome to my first blog.
My name is Paula, I am 16 years old and from Germany. In the next few months I will take you with me on my journey and report about my most beautiful adventures and my experiences here abroad.
First of all, I would like to tell you a bit about how it came about that I am doing a year abroad. Some years ago I was with my class for two weeks in England and we also stayed in host families. I was enthusiastic about the life there and that was the point where I realised that after the 10th grade I would like to do a longer stay abroad.
And here I am in beautiful green Ireland for the next 10 month. I find in exchange year a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, get to know a new culture, have a unforgettable experience and improve my English.
The reason why I want to go to Ireland was to see the Irish Countryside and meet the people of Ireland . The people are really hospitable, friendly and funny. On my first day realised that it is common practice that everyone asks you how you are, even from strangers like bus drivers.
Since I am fully vaccinated, I was lucky that I didn’t have to go into quarantine here and could go directly to my host family on the 25th of august. I took a flight at 11 a.m. from Berlin airport and arrived in Dublin at 12:15 p.m. (German time).
At the airport I was met by a member of HSI who waited with me for two hours before I took the bus to Kilkenny- a small, lovely city in the southeast of Ireland. My host family, my host mum and my younger host sister were waiting for me at the bus stop.
I have to honestly say that the meeting with the host family worried me the most, but in retrospect it was totally unnecessary worry! My host family live a bit outside of Kilkenny in a little house with a big garden. When we want to go in town to meet friends for example we have to drive in the car 10 minutes to the centre of Kilkenny. However, my host mother actually drives me everywhere and said that she has no problem with it and is happy to bring me whenever I ask!
I had a whole day before I had to go to school. On this day my host mum showed me the town and some really pretty places. In addition we bought my school uniform- a blue skirt with a white blouse, a grey jumper and a matching jacket. I didn’t have to buy my shoes because I brought them from home.
One thing I had been looking forward to, for a long time, (but was also a bit nervous of), was my first school day. Fortunately my week started on a it was a Friday. So I only have classes from 8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and my first day wasn’t too exhausting. The other four days I have school until 4 p.m. I am going to an all girls secondary school which is very typical here in Ireland. I am in 5th year which is one year before the Leaving certificate final year.
On the first Friday I attended school my host mum brought my host sister and me in the car to school and to the office (normally we would take the school bus to school). From there an Italian girl and I were picked up by a teacher who brought us to our first class. In the first hour, the principal gave a little speech in which he informed us about the corona rules and general information like who is our contact in case of problems.
I was lucky that I got talking to an Irish classmate and we realised that we have some other subjects together. She introduced me during the day to her friend group with whom I often now spend my breaks with. In addition, I have to say that there are a lot of exchange students in my school. In my year there are five Spanish and five Italian girls but I am the only German girl in my school. I get on really well with the Italian girls and sometimes I meet some of them after school as we don’t have many classes together so it’s nice to meet them separately outside of school.
My school in Germany is different subject wise, here you only have 8 subjects in the 5th year. Four compulsory subjects and four subjects that can be freely chosen. Another point, that I realized at the beginning of my first day of school, is that the school in Ireland is more digital. This means that students have the opportunity to work with tablets and there is also WIFI available in the school.
I am looking forward to my next few months here and will keep you updated about my time and experiences here in Ireland.