German year abroad in Jena

German Year Abroad

German at Leeds student Rebecca Hall talks about her year abroad as a language assistant in Jena.

My name is Rebecca and I’m just coming to the end of my year abroad period, which I spent working as a language assistant in the university city of Jena  in Thüringen, the ‘green heart’ of Germany. I worked in a technical training school, which was challenging as many of the pupils were older than me, but overcoming this challenge has boosted my self-confidence and provided me with useful skills for the future.

In addition to working as a language assistant I also enrolled at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena as a guest student and attended a few lectures a week. I studied two modules: one about the history of the Weimar Republic and a philosophy module, "Introduction to Philosophy". Signing up as a guest student was a great decision for me, because it allowed me to continue developing my academic skills whilst abroad, but also allowed me to study things not immediately related to my degree, such as philosophy, and develop my own interests.

As a result of my time in Germany I’ve reconsidered my post-university plans. Teaching in a school was not really my cup of tea, so after my assistantship I’ve started an internship in the DDR Museum in Berlin, which I’m really enjoying. The best part of being abroad was getting closer to German culture and the fascinating history of the nation. I’ve met many interesting people and visited numerous historically significant places (such as the one in the photo showing the Wartburg in Eisenach where Martin Luther translated the bible into German), both of which have reignited my passion for my degree. It’s with a heavy heart that I prepare to leave Germany, but I’m equally excited to get back to Leeds and to draw on all of these experiences in my academic work.