BY LAURA HARMON
Grüezi again! So, this past month I was extremely busy and I continue to be even busier as my departure date is just one month away. In April, my host family took me to Scotland for a week, which was incredibly generous and nice of them.
We stayed on the east coast near Edinburgh visiting different towns and cities nearby, lakes, a whiskey distillery and observing the beautiful castles there.
I found it to be a really peaceful, open, green country, with lots of sheep and, of course, kilts. It was a really nice week and what was really interesting was how the role regarding the language reversed.
This time I was in a country where my native language is, and I was the one they came to about language questions.
My host parents said this was the one time I could speak English with them and it was definitely odd seeing them sometimes scrambling for certain words instead of the other way around. What is always sometimes hard is the fact that almost everyone in Switzerland can speak someamount of English since they are required to take it inschool beginning at age 12.
I’ll casually come across an adult or teenager that after recognizing that I’m a native English speaker will try and immediately start speaking English with me. I always have to stop them and tell them I would like to speak German.
My second host dad once told me how he would absolutely love to speak English with me. People here love practicing their English when they can, but I always have to remind them that this is my year to practice, learn and grow with a foreign language.
As soon as we arrived home it was all German again, and I was actually really relieved. I really love learning and speaking the German language.
Just last week I was on a school trip in Berlin, Germany, and it is such a fantastic city.
I had thought before I went, that this would be a really good opportunity to speak the high German with the German people there, but in the end I came to the conclusion it’s much easier for me to understand when a Swiss person speaks High German or even Swiss German as to when a German person speaks High German. It’s a completely different tone and word pronunciations are also different. Not to mention there are different words between Germany’s High German, and what the Swiss consider their High German.
Now, Swiss German though is a whole different story. Overall it was such a great week and I was able to see so much history there in just six days. I am so grateful that I have been able to travel to so many wonderful cities and countries this past year.
I still have one more trip, which I am really looking forward to. I will be going this time with Rotary and other exchange students to Paris, France, for four days next week. May has been such an insane month, but such a memorable one here. I’m continuing to really enjoy each day, and especially my last month abroad.