I agree to the publication of my personal report on the website of the International Office of Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg.

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1 PERSONAL REPORT for incoming exchange students Cover Sheet Please save your personal report as a PDF-file and send it to Mrs. Angelika Vogelmann. Note that the file size should not exceed 4 MB and must be submitted within four weeks from the end of your stay at the latest. Name: -Address: Home University: Duration of Stay from - to: Taylor Remez York University Submission date: I agree to the publication of my personal report on the website of the International Office of Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg. Please note: You may adjust the given space for the bullet points 1 5. But note that the length of your personal report should not fall below 3 and not exceed 5 pages including the cover sheet

2 1) SYNOPSIS Write a synopsis of your stay at the PH (Pädagogische Hochschule) Freiburg. Were your expectations met? How would you evaluate your stay overall? Which were the highlights of your stay? My stay at the PH greatly exceeded my expections. From day one I felt welcome and had a lot of support from those working in the international office. I never feared asking for help, as someone was always there to field my questions and concerns. My overall stay was wonderful, I loved learning a new language, embracing a new culture and making friends with my German roommates and classmates, as well as other international students. Overall, I spent a lot of my time learning about German culture and ways of life, making new friends and travelling within Germany and the surrounding countries. I expected to feel homesick, lonely or just overwhelmed and none of this happened and I believe it was because of the overwhelming amount of support I received and the constant help that was available to me. As one can probably deduce, in terms of evaluating my stay, I would say it was an excellent experience and I am so happy I chose do it. In regards to highlights I will have to say that exploring the city was one of my favorite things to do. I loved finding new places to eat and shop and just learn more about the people of Freiburg. A huge highlight of my stay was also getting to teach in a German ninth grade classroom. It was great to see how the German school system actually functions and how much fun, yet how difficult it is to both teach and learn a second language. There are a lot more experiences that I loved but the above mentioned two really made my experience that much better. I would come to back to live and teach in Freiburg without a second thought. 2) PREPARATIONS PRIOR TO THE STAY ABROAD Please include the following topics: application process at the PH, personal preparations, help during the preparation given by your home university and PH staff. The application process was probably my least part of the abroad process as a whole. The application was quite intensive, but understandably so. It involved providing financial information, a mission statement and a transcript, to name a few things, but was worth it in the end. York International was quite helpful during the process and answered many of my questions both before and after I was accepted. Once my application was approved and I was told I was going to Germany, I stressed out quite a bit. There was a lot of planning in terms of booking flights and making sure I had everything I needed. York International had a pre-departure meeting, about a month before myself and the others left for Germany, and that was extremely helpful in bringing down my stress levels and making me feel more confident about the process. We got the opportunity to speak to York students who had gone prior as well as the German students currently studying on our campus so I knew a little bit more about what to bring and what to expect once I got there. In regards to the PH staff, they were also quite helpful, but sometimes took a little while to respond to s, which is understandable when you think about how many international students they handle. When it came closer to the time to leave my personal preparations consisted of keeping organized and therefore keeping calm. I made lists, which is extremely helpful, and tried not to bring anything I really did not need to bring. I spent as much time with family and friends as I could and accepted any and all help with getting things ready such as running errands and packing. Overall staying organized and all the help I received from both universities, getting the application done and then getting organized and prepared to leave was not overly stressful and very manageable

3 3) STUDYING AT THE PH FREIBURG Please include the following topics: enrolment and choosing courses, description and assessment of the study system and the courses, comparison to home university, integration into the life at the PH, peer group contacts, organised leisure activities, other events organised by the PH, support in general. Once I got the PH and had the chance to pick courses, I had no difficulty doing so. The first week we were oriented on how to do it and the process was very easy and I think I had a fair amount of Englsih taught courses to choose from. Since I had to professors to get permission to join their course I was worried they would not approve, but all of the graciously accepted my into their classrooms. As someone who would like to teach English as a second language in a foreign country, upon graduation, I took courses that oriented themselves around learning to use books, media and other useful resources to help teach English in the classroom. I also took a course on the actual pronunciation of language and learned about what students, particularly German students, have the most difficulty with when learning English. Another course compared the German school system to other systems worldwide, including Canada. The courses that I took in German were ones to teach me how to speak the language. I took A1 level German and a phonetics course to help with my pronunciation. I thoroughly enjoyed learning German and it also gave me insight into how truly difficult it is to learn another language. I could really sympathize with the ninth grade German students I had to opportunity to teach English to. Both were definitely worthwhile courses to take. Compared to York courses, I found the PH courses involved little work throughout the semester and the grade was based mostly on attendance and a large, final, cumulative assignment, that being either a presentation or paper. At York, I do quite a bit of work throughout the year and still have a final exam, so it was really nice and relaxing to not have to constantly worry about assignments being due throughout the semester and took the opportunity to gain more social experiences. Getting used to life at the PH, or being integrated into it, was actually quite easy. Other students were extremely helpful and friendly and loved talking to myself and the other international students. This also made it really easy to make friends and I became very close with a group of German students. Therefore a lot of my leisure time was spent going out with them for coffee or shopping and even travelling with them. In regards to organized events, I went with a former PH professor and a group of PH students on an excursion for Holocaust education to Poland. It was a tough experience but it brought me a lot closer to the people I travelled with and I do not regret it in the slightest. Not only that trip, but my time in Germany as a whole was filled with a lot of love and support from new friends and I had a wonderful time in the classes I took. I learned a lot more than I thought I would and enjoyed it at the same time. 4) STAY IN GERMANY Please include the following topics: personal experiences and impressions, life outside the PH. Life outside the PH was quite bust for me. All of my free time was either spent hanging out with other international students, the new German friends I had made, running for exercise or travelling. My favorite thing about living in Germany was definitely being able to travel around Europe in such an inexpensive manner. Hopping on trains and busses to either go to other German cities or countries became a normal, twice to three times a month occurrence for me. Therefore I saw a lot of places I have never been to and gained a new sense of independence. In regards to Germany, specifically Freiburg, I always felt welcome in the community. People were extremely friendly and helpful in restaurants and stores. I had gone to Germany with the thought that all 0 0 3

4 German people are very rough around the edges and intimidating, but quickly learned how nice they are and accepting they are of people from other parts of the world. This is also true for when I travelled to other cities, such as Munich and Berlin to name a few. Everywhere I went, almost everyone spoke English and they were very nice about helping me with my German, or speaking slower in German if I could not understand them. What I really liked about Freiburg was the location, as it is surrounded by the Black Forest. I was able to go hiking, go to a restaurant in the black forest, and just had a spectacular view every time I went to class and went home. Freiburg felt like home very quickly and I never once felt like I did not belong or that people did not want me there. I actually still feel a little homesick for my apartment and the beautiful Seapark that I lived in front of. 5) HANDY TIPS FOR FUTURE EXCHANGE STUDENTS The best advice that I an give for future exchange students would be, be organized, put yourself out there socially, travel and try and teach in a German classroom. The more organized you are in regards to preparation the less stressful the experience becomes. Also keep in mind, Germany has similar stores to the ones we have at home, so if you do forget anything, it is probably pretty easy to get once you are there in Freiburg. In regards to putting yourself out there, it is not only the best way to make new friends it is also the best way to avoid being homesick. If you keep yourself busy and find people you get along with, they become like family and you begin to feel as though Freiburg is home, which it is for four months. Take the opportunity to travel because it is so easy to do within Europe and these are places you may never have the chance to see again. Even through travel is fairly priced it can add up, but I feel as though it was worth every penny just because of the experiences I gained. I did not do a practicum placement in Germany but when I was given the chance to teach a lesson, I immediately took it. It was a challenging and wonderful experience and I think it just makes you more open and understanding as a teacher. You can learn great tips and tricks to bring home to your home university and future classrooms. 6) OTHER I feel as though I have covered everything important that I experienced and what I can recommend. I am very grateful for being given this opportnity and will carry with me everything I learned to the future classrooms I will be teaching in. Good luck to any future students, you do not how lucky you are! Also, take a lot of pictures and do not forget to skype home as often as you can to keep in touch with your families

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