#01 Language Travel Journal – 11th February (Arrival Day)

This morning, the adventure has finally started. Kinda weird actually. I mean I have been waiting for this day for almost eight months. Even now, as I am sitting on the bed in “my” room at my guest familiy’s place, it still feels surreal.

In the Morning

When I woke up, I wasn’t really nervous. Just worried whether everything’s going to be okay. I double-checked all my luggage at least 42 times. Poor Tim was constantly comforting me while I was uncoordinatedly walking through our flat. Eventually, time was up and the uncoordinated walking through the flat changed to a bit less uncoordinated walking to our car.

Flying Just by Myself

Tim darling drove me to airport Tegel, took my luggage and accompanied me towards the gates. He kissed me goodbye and then he was gone, heading back to university.

At the gate, a dear friend of mine was waiting for me. On her own birthday. Still can’t believe that she did that. It’s utterly sweet though, isn’t it? It was really nice to be able to hug her and to give her her present personally. (And luckily she seemed to like it pretty much. Except she’s really good at pretending.). So during the time I was waiting for the luggage check-in to open, I had lovely company. (In case you read this, my dear: Thanks again ♥) Then luggage check-in opened and my friend had to leave for work.

So basically, my worries about me missing the flight due to the problem of having a really bad sense of direction had been absolutely baseless. Well, okay, I admit: Maybe not base- but at least needless. Everything worked fine. Um… there might have been a tiny problem finding the security check though… I mean, I was constantly looking for a big area, in which the security check is located for a whole terminal; obviously based on the few experiences I made at Schönefeld. It took me ages to realise that I was constantly running past it. Silly me! It was located directly behind the luggage-check in. I just had to follow a narrow corridor and to show my ID card to get access to the security check. Well, we better don’t talk about how obviously that probably would have been for everyone else but me 😀

Anyway, from that point, everything went well. I passed the security check quickly and didn’t have to wait a long time for boarding either. The flight only took 130 minutes and as I slept most of the time, it rather felt like a ten-minutes-journey actually.

When I arrived at London Heathrow, I finally got really nervous. As Heathrow is the second busiest airport in the world (!!!!), I was almost certain that it’d be only a matter of time and I’d become lost. But I didn’t. Though I need to admit that Heathrow makes it really difficult for people to get lost. Even for people like me! At least when you’re arriving. We’ll see how it’s going to be during my return flight. (Bets can still be made.) There are signs everywhere, telling you what to do next. Wonderful.

Or to summarise the whole paragraph in one single, more informative sentence: As assumed, it turned out that flying just by myself wasn’t scary. Not at all. I even liked it.


After leaving custom, I was looking for a member of EF’s staff. With her pink shirt, the lady was pretty conspicuous. I just couldn’t miss her. I went towards her and told her who I am, showed her my ID card and asked her about the transfer to my guest family’s place. Then she vanished for a couple of seconds and came back, accompanied by a driver. And that was it. The driver took my luggage, put it in the boot of his car and together we were heading to Longstanton.

My Guest Family

We arrived around 90 minutes later. As it turned out, the distance between Longstanton and Heathrow was much bigger than I’ve expected. But never mind.

Since the moment I met my guest family, I took them into my heart. I stay with a young couple and their little daughter. They’re easy-going, pleasantly chaotic, attentive and unbelievably sympathetic. Currently, there’s another student staying with them and I like her pretty much as well. I’m quite sure that I’m going to have a lovely time with them ♥

Don’t Fall Asleep!

Yeah, I know – exaggerated detailed articles about people flying with an aeroplane (as it had been for the first time for humankind in earth’s history) aren’t usually my cup of tea either. And normally I probably wouldn’t write about it in this way. But as I was complaining all the time about all the things I was scared of, I wanted to show you that, in most cases, the reality isn’t as bad as we expect it to be.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s perfectly fine to be scared of something. That’s nothing you’ve got to be ashamed of. Not at all! Though you shouldn’t get daunted by your worries, fears and doubts. Because in most cases (and mine as well) it turned out that they were completely pointless.

Long story short: If you really want to make a language trip, try to focus on all that exciting and adventurous things which the trip is going to hold ready for you. You just need to be brave enough to take your chance. Who knows when there will be the next opportunity?

“Want to know why that’s good? Let me tell you about scared. Your heart is beating so hard, I can feel it through your hands. So much blood and oxygen pumping through your brain, it’s like rocket fuel. Right now, you can run faster and you can fight harder, you can jump higher than ever in your life. And you are so alert, it’s like you can slow down time. What’s wrong with scared? Scared is a super power. It’s your super power.”  DOCTOR WHO

My EF Language Travel to Cambridge

When I wrote this article, I’ve already managend to check-in my suitcase and to get through security. Y E A H Y ! I feel utterly relieved because I was incredibly nervous that something might go wrong. Now nervousness decreased a lot, I’m happily looking forward to the aeroplane taking off and now I’ve got some time to give you an overview about what my language travel is going to hold ready:

EF Cambridge

From the 12th to 23rd February I’m going to attend an intensive English course. It’s been created for people who want to learn English quickly because of personal or professional reasons.

I’m going to have 32 lections per week (40 min / lesson) and in the information material it said I have to calculate another eight hours for homework. Attending an intensive course seems to be a bit like a full-time job actually 😀

I’m determined to make the best out of the few days I’ve got to study here. I mean, two weeks isn’t much time to learn a language, is it? So as you can choose special interest courses to focus on particular topics in your studies, I decided to set my focus on grammar and speaking (especially pronunciation), because these are the things I’m struggling with most of all.

(If you’re interested in, you can get more information about the intensive course here.)


After booking the language travel, EF send you your login details, with which you get access to a platform called “My EF”. From that point on it’s going to accompany you throughout your trip and even until some time afterwards.

At “My EF” you find all important information about your trip you’d ever need. If you’ve booked a room at a guest family’s place you’ll find their contact details in there. If you asked EF to book a flight for you, they’re going to publish the flight details there as well.

You also get information about your school, destination and activities you can join.

As soon as the information are available, you can access your personal schedule as well, so you can easily find out, when and where your next class starts.


EF organise a variety of activities. The costs vary as well. During my stay, I could, for instance, play paintball, visit the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Science or join a trip to Salisbury and Stonehenge. I’m seriously thinking about joining the last one. But of course you can also organise activities on your own.

Guest Family

From 11th February (until the 24th) I’m staying at a guest family’s place. As I mentioned before, you can choose between different accommodations, but I decided to stay with a family because it seems to be much more familiar and I love that. I think it’s also a big plus to be surrounded by native speakers even after classes have finished.

I haven’t stayed in a guest family yet, so I’m really excited to finally meet them 🙂 I’ve gotten their contact details (at My EF) last week. They also provided a little text about them, so I know I’m going to stay with a couple, who have a little daughter and it seems that they’re easy-going. They’ve always been rated five stars by other students and that sounds also very promising.

Educational Leave

When you live in Germany, you might want to take educational leave for your stay. That way you don’t have to expend your regular holidays. That’s nice, isn’t it? (Click here and you’ll find further information regarding this topic.)

I just had to make an application for my employer. That was a bit annoying to be honest, because I had to attach a lot of documents. Beside others, I needed a proof that the language course has been proved as an offical educational event by Berlin’s senate chancellery and it took ages to get it! Usually I had to hand in my application for educational leave by not later than six weeks prior to the depature. I did so with any other document they needed for processing my application, but I had to hand in that other proof later. There wasn’t any other solution, because EF need to make an application to get their courses proved themselves. And they couldn’t make their application for their courses taking place the following year, before mid December. They’ve gotten their proofs in January and I finally got mine two weeks prior to my trip per post.

But eventually, everything worked out well; my application had been approved. So it doesn’t really matter how long it took. I guess. But actually it was quite annoying.


I don’t really know what to expect really. I’m really nervous because of all the new situations which lie ahead, but it’s more like being scared of the unknown, though I basically know that I’ll be okay and that I’m going to have a wonderful time here 🙂

Language Travel Journal

I certainly want to focus on my course above all, but I’d love to write a daily journal during my trip. As I don’t know how much time I’ll be able to spend writing, I decided to take at least notes every day, so I’ll be able to write the articles retrospectively when I’m back home, in case I haven’t been able to write and publish them straight away.

If you don’t want to miss anything new you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Though, you can subscribe to the blog as well 🙂 And please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’ve got any questions. I’ll do my best to reply to you asap.

I hope you’ll enjoy my little reports and have a wonderful time yourself!

How to Plan a Language Trip

5 Days Until Departure

I already mentioned that I’m going to attend an English intensive course during a language trip to Cambridge, and now that there are only as few as five days left until departure 😨😍😶😁 (emotional roller coaster), I’m really busy organising the last few things for the trip. Only odds end ends really. The main stuff has luckily already been done 😎

I admit I’m an Organisation Addict

Without making plans everything in my life would be utterly messy. I’m such a forgetful, clumsy, chaotic and uncoordinated person, that I’d be lost without my calendar, lists and notes. The same applies to the organisation of my language trip to Cambridge. If you’d like to get a closer look at that matter, maybe because you’re toying with the idea of making a language trip yourself, you should keep reading 😉

1. Why Do You Want to Make a Language Trip?

What’s the reason for your wish to study a language abroad? Do you need it because of professional reasons? Do you think it’s just a great opportunity to go abroad and to improve your language skills at the same time? Are you interested in learning about other cultures? Do you need to prepare for a language exam like IELTS or TOEFL? Or is it a dear personal dream of yours?

It sounds like a trivial question, but it isn’t that unimportant, actually – especially if you’re not completely sure yet. If you’re certain about your motives and wishes, you can choose the perfect course more easily.

2. Don’t Be Too Afraid of Realising It

People tend to be scared of changes and new situations. I bet you know what I mean because of your own experiences.

One of the most common examples is the question whether you take a job offer or whether you better turn it down. Imagine that the job offer is really appealing – your salary would increase dramatically and you’d have a fascinating new assignment, you never dared to even dream of! It would be a major step upwards on the career ladder. But then questions and thoughts start popping up in your mind: “Am I really good enough for that job though?” “What if I fail?” “It’s great that the job is highly paid, but I also have to take over much more responsibility as well.” “Actually, I really like my current job. Why should I change something?”

Then you might turn down a wonderful job offer just because you’re too afraid of changes. And you’ll probably regret it afterwards…

Obviously, the consequences of a decision related to the question whether you may or may not make a language trip isn’t as risky as the example above. But I remember my own decision-making phase very well; my mind was constantly looking for poor excuses to upset my plans. Many people probably won’t have these issues and it’s great if you’re one of these lucky fellows, but I’m quite sure that there also people who are really struggling to find a proper decision.

No matter in which situation you’re currently in –

And remember that there’s a solution to any problem 😊 If you’re worried about the financial aspect, for instance, you could consider a bank loan. (I did so, btw.) If you’re worried about all these new situations which you’d face*, be extra brave and remember that change, personal growth and adventures begin at the end of your comfort zone. 😉

*Just want to add: I can totally relate to that. YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

3. Which Vendor?

Yay, you came to the decision that you really want to make a language trip! HOORAY AND CONGRATULATIONS 😁

Next step is to do some research and to find a company which is offering language trips that fit best with your dreams, needs and financial scoop.There are search engines (like Sprachreise Suche or Sprachreisen.org) with which you can look for different offers from different vendors.

To be honest, I didn’t do much research though. I’ve chosen EF Sprachreisen because I already knew the company because of the online language courses they offer on their website EF English Live. For approximately one and a half year, I took one of their courses (the “Basic Paket” they offer in cooperation with the publishing house PONS) and I was chuffed about it. It was fun and I think it worked very well for me. So as I’ve made great experiences with EF already, I requested some information material via a contact form and left my contact information as well. I’ve gotten a catalogue, and everything in it sounded very promising. So after some conversations on the telephone with a really pleasant consultant, I finally decided to make my language trip with EF 😊

4. Which Course?

After browsing through the catalogue EF had sent me, I quickly came to the decision that I want to book the EF Internship Experience, which, besides a language course, included an internship in my branch (which is libraries). That sounded utterly exciting! But eventually, I had to accept that it’s just too expensive for me and I decided to “only” make a language trip over a period of two weeks.

Most vendors offer a variety of courses with different focuses and customised for different language levels and purposes. EF, for instance, offers these courses, among others:

I think even these are a lot, but there are even more. Click here to find the full course list.

I highly recommend talking to a member of staff; no matter whether it’s face to face or on the phone. I know that can be terryfing. I thought so as well, because I hate it to speak to unknown people! #introvertproblems Though, together with a consultant, it’s way easier to choose a course that fits best for you. I had a wonderful contact at the EF bureau in Berlin. The consultant was very pleasant and highly motivated. She really made time for me and she was determined to find a course that’s geared to my needs 😍 (Lucky me!) Eventually, we found it and I was totally happy with the result. It’s going to be an intensive course, yay! 😁 But where? 😶

5. Which Destination?

That was a way more difficult question… I only was certain about the fact that I’d like to go to the UK or Ireland, but it took me ages to decide on the final destination. London? Oxford? Manchester? Cambridge? Brighton? 😶 The consultant I met at the EF bureau Berlin kindly sent me some proposals for a few destinations, which we had shortlisted together. Some places have been kicked out of the decision-making process due to the costs. In the end, I was torn between Oxford and Cambridge. Eventually, I flipped a coin. It showed “tails” – Cambridge.

But of course, there are not only destinations in the UK. As numerous as the range of courses is the diversity of destinations! What do you think New York, Miami Beach, Toronto, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Brisbane, Singapore and Tokyo? You’ve got the agony of choice 😉

6. In which Period of Time?

There are some points you might want to consider before you set up a period of time.

As well as for holidays, there are also peak and off-peak seasons for language trips. So if you choose a period in the off-peak seasons, you can get the same course for less money.

If you’ve already decided on a destination, it might be a good idea to check the festivals and other events which are going on there during the year. If you’re staying in Oxford, for example, and you’re really into books, you might regret it, if you miss the Oxford Literary Festival at the end of March.

I think it goes without saying that you should check your own calendar as well, so you don’t have to grapple with offended loved ones because you’ve missed your Aunt Irma’s big 76th birthday party 😉

Another important point is about appointments and holiday times at work, especially if you’re thinking about taking educational leave. I chose the period from the 12th to 23rd February, because I knew that there are only a few colleagues of mine who’d like to go on winter holidays. The school holidays, which might affect colleagues with children, will be already over, so the likelihood, that my application for educational leave would be refused due to staff shortage, has been decreased dramatically. I think the personnel manager would murder me if I’d say that I’d like to take educational leave in the middle of summer 😅 So I recommend choosing the period of time carefully if you want to avoid stress. And physical damage 😄

7. Educational Leave

In my humble opinion, educational leave – or “Bildungsurlaub” how it’s called in German – is a great invention. Pity, that so many employees don’t know that it even exists because it allows you to attend courses on up to five days per year during your working time.

I don’t want to get too much into details, but I highly recommend to check, whether it might be possible to take educational leave for your or not. This way you might be able to avoid taking some days off from your precious actual holidays.

Due to the problem that every federal state in Germany has its own educational leave law, you can’t make a universal statement. I recommend checking out this website and selecting the federal state you work in. Then you’ll get information about the terms and regulations which apply to you. If you work in Berlin (like me), you can directly follow this link to get further information.

Unfortunately, I can’t say how it’s handled in other countries, but it’s definitely worth to do some research.

8. Which Accommodation?

Homestay? B&B? Flat? Hotel? School’s residency? Argh, again a lot of different possibilities to choose from! You can’t generally say that one accommodation is better than another. They’re just different. Take your time to decide. You’ll stay your whole trip there, won’t you? So you’d better choose your accommodation carefully 😋

Staying at a guest family’s place is often the cheapest accommodation. It also has the advantage that you’ll learn a lot about the culture and the people living in your destination country at first hand. And you’ll have a lot of opportunities to practice your language skills by speaking and to apply what you’ve learned in school.

If you spare no expenses, you could also think about staying in a hotel or a bed and breakfast or even renting a flat. You definitely have some space just to yourself and especially after a long day at school that might be something nice to look forward to. These accommodations are probably a bit more flexible. You can browse the internet and choose whatever you like best.

I consider school’s residencies being lovely accommodations as well, though you probably should better be a communicative and outgoing person because most likely you’d have to share the place with a bunch of other students. So definitely not my first choice.

How the accommodation situation is organised varies from vendor to vendor. There are some which offer to organise it for you, other ask you to book one yourself.

I’m pretty glad that EF takes care of the accommodation issue, so I don’t have to organise one myself. I just had to choose which kind of accommodation I’d like to book. In case you were wondering, they offer homestay (you can book a single room just for yourself or you can share one with another EF student; in both cases at a guest family’s place) as well as rooms in apartments, hotels, EF residences and on campus.

9. Flight & Transfer

As well as the accommodation situation, it also varies from vendor to vendor how they handle the matter with booking flights. So You should ask whether the vendor books the flight for you or whether you have to take care of it yourself.

You should also ask how you get from the airport to your accommodation if the latter has been booked via the vendor.

I really appreciate EF’s offer to book the flights for me and to arrange a transfer from the airport to the guest family (and back again); helps me to feel a bit less nervous.

10. The Ambassador Program

I don’t know whether other vendors have similar programs, but if you’re making your language trip with EF, you’ll get the opportunity to become an EF Ambassador. That means that you can earn points for spreading information about EF’s language trips, and there are multiple ways to do so. You can, amongst others, share your experiences under #myef on social media, hand out flyers or you can write about it – on your blog, for instance. Like me.

I decided to join the program because I wanted to write about my language trip anyway. Earning points, which you can trade for rewards (from bags, over cinema tickets and Apple devices, up to 2-weeks-language trips to England or the US), is just a side benefit. Be assured it doesn’t have any influence on my article’s content at all. I always try to consider the stuff I’m writing about from all aspects. I promise that me being an EF ambassador hasn’t changed anything about it 🙂

If you’re curious, you can visit my ambassador page here. In case you’re actually interested in the EF language courses, you can order information material on my page. If you do so, you’d support me with a few points. But please don’t feel obliged to do so! 😊



Is there anything I can help you with, feel free to get in touch. I love to get post and I promise to reply as soon as possible 🙂

Happy New Year

We successfully survived the first two weeks in 2018 – hooray!

I’m sure you already have received a bunch of messages. Nevertheless, I’d like to finally wish all of you all the best for 2018, too. May health, luck, success and a lot of memorable moments accompany you throughout the year 🙂

Sorry for the delay of this message, but during the New Years Eve holidays, which I spent with my hubby in London (I’m coming back to that point in a later post), we both caught a cold (lovely start into the new year…) and I’m really glad that everything’s back to normal by now.

Let’s get some stuff done!

I’m one of these people who believe that writing down New Year resolutions might help to achieve them 😄 Because it feels like kind of a commitment that way, you know? And it’s at least worth a try, isn’t it? The worst that can happen is that – same procedure as every year – I’m not able to achieve even only one of the following points, so it doesn’t matter how many things are actually on the list 😀

Anyway, I’m starting 2018 highly motivated and I’d like to

1. take care of myself

2. read more books
(and therefore at least 12 written in English)

3. eat more healthy
(less sugar and more fruits & vegs)

4. drink two litres per day

5. go to bed at 10 pm during the week

6. sleep 7,5 h every night

7. do exercises for neck and back on a daily basis*
*for at least 10 min

8. get out into nature more regularly*
*at least in total 45 minutes per week

9. learn vocabulary on a daily basis*
*5-15 minutes

10. stay in the UK to attend a language course
planning currently in progress

11. learn how to play “Deck The Halls” on the keyboard until Christmas

12. rename the blog, get the design changed and design a logo

13. get organised to be actually able to achieve all these goals 😆

New Years Resolution #1-8 Take Better Care of Myself

Well, I think like many people out there, I’m not very good at taking care of myself… I’m interested in a bunch of different things and activities, and when I’ve just gotten into the flow, I’m used to forgetting everything around me. That might lead to a good result, but I learned that it isn’t necessarily good for me. As well as being highly perfectionist. The Frankfurt book fair and some other events in 2017 taught me that I should be aware of my limits and my energy level. Paying attention to these things is as important as taking care of your body, by eating healthy food and exercising for instance. So my #1 resolution for 2018 is taking better care of myself, starting with reading an increased quantity of books 🙂 I even create this little reminder:


(Feel free to download it here.)

Who else is struggling with that kind of issue? What are your strategies to cope with stress? Do you have any advice?

New Years Resolution #9-10 – Improve My English

It’s still one of my dearest wishes to improve my English skills. I just love the English language. (Okay, right… I’ll keep it short this time… What I’ve already written about this point probably last for a lifetime anyway 😉 ) I finally accepted that it will probably still take me a few years until I reach my final goal, which is to speak English as well as a native speaker. But eventually, it’s okay. I’m not in a hurry, am I? And I enjoy learning anyway. (Huh… And suddenly it makes perfect sense that I was one of the unpopular kids at school xD)

The human brain processes information the best, if you repeat them on a regular basis in a small quantity (bit by bit, so to say). So if you’d like to learn vocabulary like me for instance, you’ll learn more effectively if you repeat the words every day, even if it’s just for as little as five minutes. You’ll see it will work quite well if you’ll stay consequent, though I’ve got to admit – staying consequent is going to be the toughest part of this exercise. Stay strong, dear!

I already mentioned some words about learning strategies here and I’ve planned to write a whole article about it at some point in the future. I’ve already read a lot about it and I’ve recently started to read another very interesting book. It’s called “Wer lernen will, muss fühlen: Wie unsere Sinne dem Gedächtnis helfen” (loosely translated: “You’ve got to feel if you want to learn: How our senses help our memory), written by Christiane Stenger, a former junior world champion in the field of memory (or whatever the title is properly called in English). I’ll let you know whether I can recommend it or not 🙂

Language Travel to Cambridge

New Years Resolution #11 – The Blog

The first changes are already noticeable. The most obvious one probably is the renaming. As I started the blog, I had a lot of different names in my mind, but my best title ideas have already been taken. So I finally chose “Language Tea Time”, because I just wanted to finally get started. But it didn’t mean very much to me. It was kind of a stopgap actually, and I was already quite sure that I’ll be renaming it sooner or later. And well, it appeared that sooner or later has been exactly four days ago.

I choose “English Cuppa” because I think it fit’s perfectly well. I really like the sound of the name. And the original idea was to choose something with “cuppa” in it anyway because I love drinking tea (“Earl Grey” is currently my favourite one) and the English language – I know, what a shocking surprise! 😀 – and “cuppa” just sounds so cute 😀 I also kinda fell in love with the expression “That’s (not) my cup of tea.” I mean, isn’t it lovely?! So the name is finally a bit of me. Something I can really identify with. That’s kinda nice. And I hope you like it, too 🙂

New Years Resolution #12 – Get Organised

Did you make resolutions yourself or do you think it’s bollocks?

How about kind of a support group? I’m going to write about how realising my own resolutions work anyway, so why don’t you join in and keep me updated on yours in the comments below?

I’d love that! 🙂 What do you think?