My trip to Schloss Dhaun!
I hope you all enjoyed your Easter break and managed to have some fun away from your revision. The time has finally come where my entire Facebook feed is flooded with dissertation-completion snaps and revision related memes. While I fortunately don’t have any exams this year, I know that in 12 months time I’ll be under the same stress as everyone else, so I really should count my blessings for the next couple of months!
Despite April being a hectic month at my work placement, I was able to take a break and luckily spend the past week away from the office. During the Easter Weekend, I merely caught up on sleep and hanged out with my fellow ‘year-abroaders’ who were returning from their extensive university break. I hadn’t seen some of them since February so it was great to finally be reunited again.
Following on from this rather relaxing weekend, I spent the next four days (Tuesday-Friday) at Schloss Dhaun for a residential school trip, organised this year by the Warwick German department. It was the perfect opportunity to see all my fellow class-mates again and begin preparing for my final year at Warwick. Although we were only there for three nights, the itinery was fairly rigorous and each day was jam-packed with activities and classes. While I could easily write a full length essay explaining everything that went on at Schloss Dhaun, I’ll simply outline the highlights from each day.
This day was spent primarily on the train, as me and Jon (fellow year-abroader) set off at midday and didn’t arrive at the castle until the early evening. Upon arrival, we assembled in the main seminar room and received a brief introduction to our timetable for the next couple of days. While the programme appeared to be quite overwhelming, we swiftly put our worries to one side and spent the rest of the evening having dinner, chatting about our year abroad and hanging out in the bar.
We hit the ground running on our first full day, as we jumped straight into a mix of Franz Kafka and ‘Europe in perspective’ classes. Although I was originally dreading both of these seminars, they actually turned out to be a lot of fun and everyone was really eager to get stuck in. The busy day was broken up with a peaceful stroll around the castle’s surrounding area, which lead to a wealth of stunning views and #nofilter landscapes. We concluded the day with a short careers talk and then an immediate skirmish to the castle’s bar again.
Our last full day at the castle was equally as intense as the first, kicking the morning off with four hours of translation exercises. For those who also study a language within their degree, you’ll know how challenging a translation piece can be, especially when working in a group with 100 different opinions flying around the place (or castle in this case). We were then gifted with some free time in the afternoon to enjoy the castle’s views once more, and take a well-deserved break from the strenuous translation in the morning. This lead to me and a group of mates playing ‘keepy-uppies’ with a pinecone (we didn’t have a football…) and having a gladiator duel on the nearby see-saw. As Alex Pattle (fellow languages student) once said – do you even grow up on your year abroad? Evidently not! Alas, we then rounded off the day with a huge feast and an all-night sesh in the castle’s bar.
After a long night of drinking and partying, we immediately regretted this decision as we had to wake up at 7:00 am sharp to be ready for the 8:15 bus. Fortunately, me and Jon could rest on the train back to Cologne and reflect on how awesome the trip was. I would definitely label this trip as a highlight of my year abroad and was the perfect break away from my internship.
With only 3-4 hours sleep and a hangover, my adventures last week didn’t stop there. I spent the past weekend in Italy so I could visit ‘la Festa della Carbonara’ and see two of my friends which I’d met on my Erasmus semester. This really was a great way to conclude the week and was nice to experience Italy for the first time.
However, as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. I am now back to my normal working lifestyle, with still 5 weeks to go before my internship ends. I wish everyone the best of luck with their upcoming exams this term and I’ll see you all in next month’s blog.