As a future educator, this taught me how difficult it can be for students who come from families who do not speak English as their first language. Mentally and emotionally it is exhausting to try and decode every word to find some meaning that you understand. It allowed me to put myself in the students' shoes for once, and understand that from their perspective, being in a classroom with a teacher and students who all speak English (and speak it very fast), it can be a whirlwind of struggles and emotions. It can seem impossible to keep up, and to understand the context of the conversation, and overall lead to a very discouraged student.
Having to find our way on the trains, read through a menu written in all German, and communicate with many people who speak very little to no English, it has been an adventure to say the least, and a huge learning opportunity.
After meeting Tanja, my host, and her family I fell absolutely in love. They are all so welcoming and happy to have me in their home. They made my transition so easy and I am so grateful for that. Being 5,000 miles away from my family is something that is very difficult to cope with. So, I am lucky to have a family here that allows me to feel so comfortable. Tanja and her husband have four children: Moritz (13), Tobi (11), Daniel (9), and Franzie (5). Franzie and I have really bonded however she speaks absolutely no English. Her and I have a special bond though, and we have found a way to communicate with one another through only giggles and visuals. It has been such an eye-opening experience to sit at the dinner table, surrounded by 6 people who all are speaking German, trying to keep up with what they may be talking about. I always ask "How do you say...?" and try to build my vocabulary, and we all laugh at my poor pronunciation of whatever word or phrase I am trying to say. However I do feel that I've learned a lot, and I am helping them with their English too! Moritz's English is truly impressive, and his teacher is allowing me to join them in his English class during my stay to come in and talk to his classmates, and possibly teach them some English! Him and I can communicate quite well, and it is fun to learn about their interests and answer all their questions about America. It truly feels like a family, and I am so happy to be here with them. We are already planning their trip to America..... Now who will be saying "How do you say...?"