How the year abroad has changed me

I was hoping that doing a year abroad there’d be a few more positive changes in my life. Generally I am still very much the same person. Still carrying a few too many pounds, same laziness levels and same dark sense of humour, but I have picked up a few more habits and altered a couple of things this year.


Certainly picked up some of that German assertiveness. I had my first ever full-blown argument with my landlady which involved doorslamming and screaming “Denkst was du willst” before retreating to my bedroom and flicking angrily through Sherlock Holmes. I am also aware now that just because there is a black person waiting outside every single bathroom in Germany expecting a tip that it’s not obligatory. They are paid to seemingly just sit there, and just because they ended up being a toilet attendant, my 0,50c to have a pee will not change their life.

I am now more motivated to do work. In Europe it is not seen as cool to not do the prior reading for a class, and one boy I worked with in class actually apologised to me with a blushing face for not having the time to do it. I actually felt kind of ashamed given that I used to laugh that I was so chilled out about work that I would turn up to just about EVERY single class without doing the slightest bit of reading, and half the time being too drunk to even care. So in short, I no longer turn up to class smelling of a smokehouse/ brewery and I actually take notes.


Eating habits- Haven’t really changed much. I eat kids cereal as its lower calorie than muesli and tastes a helluva lot better. Grapes are the most fruit I eat. I eat a lot of frozen vegetables and of course cake because I am in Germany and on the edge of the Black Forest!

I now drink coffee as a means of getting through the day. It started in Besancon as a pre- class thing. I now realise that without my morning coffee, I am literally incapable of stringing a sentence together. 

I drink less- more just because I can’t handle nights out in the quantities I could when I was 19. I have reduced heavy nights out to less than twice a month. Partially because when I’m drunk I spend A LOT, so can’t really afford them. I am still drinking G&T’s like my French teacher Corinne, wine, vodka and BEER. I drink beer now.


I hardly wear skirts any more. Fact. I think this started in Megeve due to the fact that I was always doing something sporty or active and skirts just weren’t an important part of my wardrobe. Then, due to the fact that Europeans are a little bit on the leery side, despite the fact that I’m not the prettiest picture on the wall, (I’m not being self deprecating, just realistic) they do a disturbing amount of staring so I have seriously “conservatised” my wardrobe, though I do still indulge in shorts. Low cut tops are almost non-existent in my wardrobe and have been replaced by t’s and lots of cardigans!

I dye my hair- A LOT. I had a phase of purple, red, orange and now it’s as close as it’s going to get to natural with a nice dark shade of choccie- brown.


Music- More varied than ever. I have discovered SO much music this year. My top 3 discoveries have been: Alex Clare, Moonbootica and Bonobo. Amazing chill-out stuff. I went to see The Jezabels in Berlin which was AMAZING!

A finer appreciation of European history- Europe really is the best. Our history (yes I now consider myself to be European) is violent and always changing. European history has had a global impact on everything ranging from the economy, religion, language, music, art and of course wars and countless revolutions. 


About olliestales

Wannabe zen person, blogger, adventurer, serial dieter, dreamer.
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2 Responses to How the year abroad has changed me

  1. Tim says:

    Thats great. While I have never lived outside of the USA I moved from Michigan in the North to Florida in the south. A new perspective on life is extremely enriching and something that you’ll carry with you the rest of your life. You are a better person now than you were when you started your journey. Cheer to you.

  2. Pingback: Blog rampage | Rants and rambles of a confused 20 something...

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