Misspraxic abroad: emotions and preparations

Guten Abend! As promised, I am updating you all on what I have been doing to prepare for my upcoming travels abroad (a compulsory part of my Modern Languages degree).

Since I last posted, I have spent time with friends and family before saying a temporary goodbye. In just a few days I will be flying to Frankfurt Airport, and making my way to Heidelberg. Where’s that? It’s here:

4944-heidelberg-locator-map

I’m very fortunate to be taking part in a month-long summer school! I hope the intensive grammar classes are going to improve my confidence and fluency in German.

On the one hand, I feel very positive about what is coming: independence, new places, people, experiences… I am excited to return to Germany, to hear my favourite language spoken again. There will be the opportunity for trips to local tourist attractions and destinations further afield at the weekends, which should be a great break from the studying!

In the lengthy build-up to going abroad, however (and I know I’m not alone in feeling like this), the past few months and weeks have been filled with moments of unease and apprehension. Particularly in light of recent and tragic world events, my angst about spending the year out of my comfort zone has been understandably exasperated.

The administrative aspects of organising a year abroad also represent a challenge for any student, not least a dyspraxic student. For those with slower eye-tracking and visual processing, all the form-filling, signature-signing, and document-scanning required for my placements can be overwhelming.

If you don’t believe me, here’s a photo to prove the pickle I was in today with all my paperwork:

paperwork

But the good news is that it’s manageable and well worth the effort – if I can do it, of course other dyspraxic students can too!

My advice?

1. Seek support from your university. Make use of any contacts you might have. Can your study skills tutor help you put together placement applications, or help keep track of important dates?

2. Start planning early. It sounds easy, but when you’re in December, June can feel a year away. By applying early (and securing back-up options in case plans fall through last minute) you can help to ease the uncertainty involved.

3. Make a checklist – and cross tasks off as you go. (e.g. travel booked? Insurance? Finance? Erasmus+ grant?

I’m going back to the packing and paperwork, and will check in again once I have settled into Heidelberg.

Wish me Glück!

misspraxic

 

 

 

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Misspraxic… going abroad for third year

Once again, I took a break from blogging since being at University for the second year of my degree. I naturally get very distracted, so although I started writing many blog posts many times, and had some great ideas, none of them actually made it to being published!

To update everyone, my second year of university has been another challenging year with ups and downs, but I have successfully completed the year.

Whilst I still may not be the most confident cook (I won’t go into details about the day I managed to set fire to the kitchen towel), my culinary skills have developed considerably since my first year, when I was in catered accommodated. It wasn’t always easy, but the self-catered accommodation in my second year really helped my organisational skills to flourish.

Most importantly, I feel another year wiser, more confident, and happier.

A big reason for the need to develop those aforementioned dreaded organisational skills, memory-processing, time-management, forward-planning, logical thinking etc. (all things that don’t, unfortunately, necessarily come with ease for the dyspraxic student) is my impending year abroad.

dyspraxia

For those who don’t know, I am required to spend a year out of the UK. As a student of French and German, I have to spend at least four months in a country where the respective language is spoken. On July 30th (yes, less than two weeks away now!) I will fly to Frankfurt, to spend seven months in Germany.

I intend to blog as regularly as possible from now on, as I will have more to talk about (and less time to worry about whether my posts are coherent or grammatically correct!) I hope that in blogging about the year abroad, and all the challenges/fun/learning experiences that go along with it, I can help provide some reassurance and motivation to fellow students with dyspraxia who may be contemplating a year abroad.

In the coming week or two, I want to update you all on the logistic/organisational challenges of planning a year abroad with dyspraxia, the emotions I feel before leaving, and details of my preparations.

Bis bald (“see you soon” in German)!

misspraxic