Before I came here I was a little bit afraid. I would have to change my language overnight! And what would I do, if I didn’t understand them? If they have a strong accent? Or if my pronunciation is too bad?? But then when I arrived I saw there was no reason at all to worry! I had very few problems understanding my host family. And the parents have told me so often how well they can understand me. But I have to say, the English in the ‘real world’ is so different to the English from school. The last years we talked about specific topics and I won’t need this vocabulary here. But this I also thought before.
Everything happened so fast and before I knew it I was starting to think more and more in English. And now I do it all the time. If I go to the shop and I think about what I need, I make my list in English. I don’t try to do it, it just happens now! But I have to say, I have English around me all the time. In my free time I talk to the other Au Pairs in English, because they are nearly all from other countries and I don’t meet up much with my German friends here. Furthermore, I try to read more in English, books or magazines and I watch a lot of series in English. Does it help? I don’t know! I noticed that I’m speaking more fluently. I only get stuck if I really don’t know a word and I want to describe it. In general I actually don’t see massive progress. But to be fair, most of the Au Pairs I am talking to feel the same. Maybe we don’t notice the improvement. Let’s hope so!
And it’s the same story when you leave a place. Everybody says ‘See you!’ or ‘Take care!’. An assistant in a shop would say this. And I’m pretty sure that I won’t see him or her again. But now I’m also used to this. The people just want to be polite and I actually like it. They use the words ‘please’, ‘thanks’ and ‘sorry’ so much more than we in Germany. I really noticed the difference when I was at home for Christmas. We Germans are not impolite, but for me it’s much nicer if you add a ‘please’ after your order.When I arrived there was something I found a little bit weird. I can remember that we learned at school that people in Great Britain (and I realise now that it’s the same in Ireland) ask the others all the time how they are. But now I can see how often they say this!! Every time they meet a person. It is like a welcoming, no one says ‘Hi!’ without a ‘How are you?’. First I was a little bit confused, I didn’t know if or what to answer. But now it has become so normal for me. If someone asks me ‘How are you?’, my answer is ‘Fine, thanks. And you?’. This happens without thinking. The same when I meet with friends. The first thing we do is to ask the others how they are doing.
So guys, these are my first impressions about the English language. I will talk to you soon!