Ellie Wong

Ellie studied German for A-Level at Wymondham College before moving to Bath for her Modern Languages degree. She has just finished an internship at a translation agency in Berlin.    

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Moving to Germany had been a long time coming - living abroad is after all, one of the main attractions of studying modern languages and finally, I had made it to Berlin.

Aside from having encouraging teachers throughout secondary school and sixth form, learning German has always been challenging but exciting, tunnelling through its fantastically logical case system, imaginative compound words and its intricate sentence structures. To say I needed a little time to wrap my head around the complexity of the grammar and the language would be an understatement, and even now, there’s still a way to go. Nevertheless, applying what you learn in the classroom to the real world is simply rewarding, despite the number of humiliating (but in hindsight, hilarious) moments you experience.

Germany is so wonderfully rich in culture (it’s not all just about the beer and sausages, although they do play a key role…) - Berlin alone emphasises how diverse and welcoming the country is. The last six months have been priceless in terms of language and personal growth. I’ve just finished an internship at a translation agency, and for the first few months, learning to adapt to the German working mentality was a challenging task, however the overwhelming sense of achievement when you complete your first mistake-free day makes the challenge worth it. Immersing into local life critically deepens political and cultural awareness; two of the most notable political events which occurred during my stay were the legalisation of gay marriage in the early summer of 2017 and the tense election period which continues to encapsulate the country - knowledge of the language allows for engagement with residents, local newspapers and media which provides a crucial insight from a domestic perspective.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of any year abroad is meeting new people and establishing friendships. You meet individuals from all over the world, not just natives, and speaking a common language allows you to really engage in conversation and the mindset.

Learning another language opens many doors, and in this case, it’s unlocked the door to an entire country!