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DEVOTING MY SUMMER TO DEUTSCH INSTEAD OF DISTRACTION

Article: Experiences of summer in Germany

By voyage reporter Megan Harding

When I first told my friends I had achieved a place on a summer course in Germany to extend my language skills, they were, of course, extremely excited for me: but one recurring comment was 'wow, two weeks of your six-week holiday? I don't know if I could do that!'

For me, I've always appreciated any opportunity that comes my way, regardless of whether it will override other time I normally spend, well, on Netflix. Though students my age can become put off school by being bombarded with overwhelming information about 'the future' and 'the bigger picture' (trust me, I've experienced how stressful it can be), I've always tried to adopt the idea that if you can't beat them, join them! As frustrating as it is to have university prospectuses flung at us left, right and centre when many still haven't started studying for this year's exams, I feel like there is much benefit - and enjoyment - to be had in seizing whatever it is that makes you happy at the minute, and pursuing it to the maximum.

I've always loved languages, and they come a lot more naturally to me than the sciences ever have (wish me luck for my Physics GCSE is all I will say) - so what was there to think about? I met an incredible number of like-minded teenagers who are now close friends, and who I still chat with on a daily basis (both in English and German), massively progressed my German talents, and spent two weeks soaking up the sun and sights in Saxony.

Though we spent several hours a day in the classroom, it didn't feel like an extension on school at all: the mood was relaxed, casual, and encouraging. It felt fantastic to actually get proactive about my learning outside of a rigid, routine environment - which is why I find it disheartening that so many teenagers still prioritise the immediate relief of an hour's TV over equally enjoyable activities that benefit their future. It's not 'nerdy' any more to care about your school career, it's desirable! What's more, I felt even more tired and worn-out being sucked into the void of procrastination than I did during a summer of learning a subject I loved.

"I met an incredible number of like-minded teenagers who are now close friends, and who I still chat with on a daily basis (both in English and German)."