Hello, my name is Denis. I am a 19 year old Belgian who wants to improve his German. So I found StudyTravel which allowed me to organize my week in Cologne from June 25 to July 1, 2023. Exactly what I wanted and at a rather affordable price. I will share my experience in this little blog.
On the day of departure, I got up around 7 a.m. and my father drove me to Cologne by car (2 hours drive). We arrived sooner than expected because you know... the autobahn is no joke. So I arrived at the kiosk where I asked the guy for my keys. The guy frowned the second I said "hallo" he knew the rest was going to be hard to understand. I got my keys and then my dad took me to the building. When I got back to my apartment, I was kindly welcomed by Merve, my new roommate! My room on the 15th floor is great and I have a magnificent view. I went down to buy croissants and I also almost got run over by the bikes. Do not walk on the cycle paths! In the evening, I went to buy a kebab and that's when I realized that the 4 years I learned German at school didn't teach me how to do it.
Monday: I had my first lesson today! I was welcomed at the German language school with the other students with whom I was able to discuss. We were divided into groups of classes and we received our lessons. I made some nice encounters, like Lara, a Turkish girl. We went to eat a sandwich together at noon and we saw the cathedral. It was magnificent (and not just the cathedral). Then I went to Lidl and came home. In the evening I went for a run and I did calisthenics in one of the street workout parks. It was great because there were lots of people. Things are moving a lot in Cologne!
Tuesday: I got up a little earlier and decided to walk to school unlike yesterday when I took public transport. I passed near a nice park and I was able to breathe some fairly clean air for a city of this size. I met my course buddy and we arrived at school together. The whole German course went well, I was able to practice my speaking. Then I went to the bakery and I already had it easier than yesterday to order. Well, I still didn't get the food I wanted because the papers in front of the cakes were reversed but hey, I got a little strawberry cake which was still delicious!
Wednesday: Busy day today. I know that I only live 1km from the language school but I exaggerated getting up so late... All that to sleep a little more. I don't know how I did it but I arrived on time! The morning of the language course went well and we decided with my Swiss friend to go shopping. We defrauded the "U-bahn" a bit, but we're good, we've arrived! There were so many stores that I didn't know where to go. In short, after 3 hours of walking I bought myself a book on the climate IN GERMAN. I don't know what I'm going to do with it but it's purchased. We then went to have an ice cream and obviously we came across the worst cooler of the 3 around us. We paid a lot for scoops of ice cream that were the size of a walnut. Nah seriously, I did a review on google because I couldn't let it go (with a smile) and of course in German. It does not bother me because I noticed that the Germans let themselves go with the opinions on google, that is to say that most places are badly rated here while it will be well in other countries. To return I took the u-bahn and I didn't look too much at the stops and it took me far too far from my destination. So I went out and then waited for the opposite line to come back. In fact my maps did not update under the ground of the city so I moved much more than what I saw. After defrauding again, I finally arrived home.
Thursday: This morning I woke up at 6 a.m. and went for a run in Cologne. Nothing better to prepare for a German vocabulary test. What I like about Cologne is that it's a city with a lot of parks, there are a lot of trees in the streets and it generally smells good. I also did some pull-ups of course. These 3 hours of lessons passed quite quickly because we did some orals and it was quite fun. It's a little colder today but it's still reasonable. I regret a little bit not having brought my bike or at least my skateboard, I would have moved much faster given the size of the city... I'm going to spend the afternoon chilling and I'm going to read my new book in German.
Friday: this was my last day of German class. I was quite stressed in the morning because it was the day when I received my exam marks (whether I passed or not) from the university. So we started with a bit of grammar and then we ended up with oral games. It was quite fun, we had to make other people guess words so in the end we even let people speak more, we just spat out all the words that came into our heads to earn points. Then in the meantime I got my points and I passed all my exams! What a relief, let me tell you that I had a good day. In the afternoon, we went for a barbecue in a park with the whole team. I was able to meet some great people and we played games with the ball and I had a great afternoon. In the evening I came back and I had to get ready to take the train on Saturday morning because I was going back to Belgium. So in the evening I chat with my roommate and we have a good laugh. I ask her what she has planned for tomorrow and she tells me that she is going to visit Brussels. And there we look at each other and we understand that we are taking the SAME train the next day. We didn't believe it.
Saturday: So in the morning we wake up and we go together to Koln central station by U-bahn (spoiler: I cheated again). Then we take some pictures at the station because we were early. And then the journey went well, she left for Brussels and I went out to Liège. A week that ends very well. Lots of people met. As for my level in German, I can't judge the quality of the lessons because I only stayed for 1 week. However, my teacher Mariam was great with us, very active and attentive. I don't think I have necessarily improved my level of communication, but above all it opened my eyes to what I need to work on to improve myself. And that's priceless, I would never have known if I hadn't come to Cologne. I will definitely be back next year!
"I had the best summer ever!"