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Student Blogs/Ceiledh in Germany

In light of watching the entire Harry Potter movie set in quarantine, I’d like to share a few wise words from J.K. Rowling to start off my blog.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Quick disclaimer: I have no intention to judge others for their personal decisions, criticize institutions, or to provide any updates regarding the pandemic itself.

With that out of the way, I’d like to share my personal experiences and feelings while living abroad as this situation unfolds. Around a month ago, I was enjoying my semester break and a visit from my mom when I received the email strongly suggesting exchange students return home.

There have been a few moments during my exchange where I’ve faced challenges, but this was a different feat; I was immediately overwhelmed with emotions from disappointment to anxiousness. Reading this email aloud to my mom put a lump in my throat and made me feel physically sick. After years of learning a language, preparing to live abroad, investing money and energy and make this dream a reality…all exchange students were faced with a decision that really had no right answer.

A view of the shoreline and the blue sky in Sagres, Portugal
Enjoying the view at the “End of the World“ in Sagres, Portugal
Ceiledh and her mom at sunset on the beach in Lagos, Portugal
My mom and I enjoying the beautiful sunset at the beach in Lagos, Portugal

I am so thankful to have had my mom, my biggest supporter, to keep me grounded and help run through all the possible scenarios. Over the next few days, our lives were consumed by coronavirus whether we liked it or not. Trying to remain sane among the hysteria was a challenge especially while trying our best to remain informed by keeping tabs on border closures and sorting the fake news from authentic information.

In the end, with doubts and fear, I decided the best course of action at the time being was to fly back to Germany and stay in self-isolation for the foreseeable future. Shortly after I made this decision, my best friend in Germany invited me to stay with her family, which I gladly accepted.

The end of the plane's wing over the clouds
The first leg of my last minute journey back to Augsburg, Germany

It’s been more than one – surprisingly fast – month and I’m grateful we are juggling this situation together. Although some days it is difficult to find the light at the end of the tunnel with all the ambiguity, all we can do is take it one day at a time.

While making the most of the situation, I have been enjoying immersing myself in the German language and culture. We have been taking advantage of cultural exchange opportunities by sharing! They have shared their German traditions and lifestyle with me, so I decided to bring a little bit of Canada into the house as well. I’ve enjoyed making Canadian breakfast each weekend, baking my favourite muffins from home, and making presentations about my home for the family.

bacon and eggs over easy on a yellow plate
Bacon and eggs
a table setting with pancakes

The parents enjoy the eggs and bacon, while the girls love my pancakes. After lunch we usually relax and have a coffee and a treat as a “Nachtisch” and that’s when I got them all hooked on iced coffee…

Meanwhile I’ve come to love “Aperolspritz” (Aperol, prosecco, orange juice, and a splash of tonic water) and “Brotzeit” (bread, cheese, spreads, veggies, etc.)

Ceiledh holding a glass of Aperolspritz

During their Easter egg hunts, we found chocolate eggs and bunnies, as well as colourful hardboiled eggs. The eggs come into play with “Eierklopfen” where you find a partner and hit the eggs against one another and hope yours isn’t the one that cracks!

chocolate eggs, a chocolate bunny and colourful died hard boiled eggs in an easter basket

As you can see, we’ve been keeping entertained! I hope everyone this reaches is safe and healthy. Let’s work together to lend a helping hand when possible, check in on our friends and family, and remain positive.

Ceiledh is a third-year Bachelor of International Business (BIB) student studying abroad in Germany. 

Sprott School of Business
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6
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