Somewhat closer to home

The third year of my studies in Edinburgh means a rather substantial change: I am to spend the whole academic year in yet another foreign country – this time, Germany.

Fortunately, Brexit has dragged on for so long that in the end I was still able to start my Erasmus exchange without any sort of truly serious trouble, although from time to time there indeed had been some unclarities during the application procedure which preceded my ultimately successful journey to our western neighbours, simply because no one in Britain (or in Brussels for that matter) seems to know how it will come off one day…

The exchange, however, does not happen to be some purely voluntary business for me, not merely a means to liven up my academic experience – as is more than often the case; my case is a bit different: with a little hyperbole, it is a mandatory temporary banishment from the home university for the duration of one year with the desired effect of my acquiring high proficiency in the mysteries of the German language through being cast directly amid the Teutons. Quite drastic a manner, one could say, but an efficacious one, too. Much to my surprise, I seem to be able to handle studying in German in a fairly decent fashion. — And where on Earth do I actually study now?

In my search for the stage of this refreshing process, I ended up choosing Leipzig.

There were various reasons for my choice: above all, I intended to avoid great cities like Berlin in which there is a serious danger of succumbing to the use of English instead of German in everyday life because everyone speaks it there; then, Leipzig University is one of the oldest in Germany (founded in consequence of the Decree of Kutná Hora), and as such it enjoys considerable respect there; last but not least, Leipzig is not so far from home – or at least it is incomparably closer than Edinburgh.

So far, I have had no reason not to believe that this will be a good year.

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