Ellie Kutylowski sends St. Andrews her first blog post from Karlsruhe…

Sat in a cosy St Andrews living room on a typically windy and grey day; the realization that I will not be staying here for more than a week hits me. Rather than signing up for tutorials and despairing over never ending reading lists, I have been checking in for flights and working on lesson plans. I have a teaching placement; an empty room and four German roommates that await me in the southern German town of Karlsruhe. Slowly but surely the elements of my year abroad are coming together. However, just a week ago this was not the case.


September commenced with no flights booked and no accommodation prospects whatsoever. I realized it was about time to get my life sorted.


As the word ‘homeless’ bounced around my head, I decided that I must head to Germany in person to find my perfect palace for the year. British Airways flight to Stuttgart in a week? Done. And just like that, my year abroad approached much faster than I had mentally prepared for.


I set myself the target of one week to find a house; with a return flight booked, I had no other alternative. Seven days of severe stress.


I sent over 100 emails. I phoned nearly 50 Germans. And I spent five days relentlessly driving around the German University town, annoying the student population in my quest to find a room. Preferably neither in the middle of the Black Forest, nor with a 40 year old single woman and her six cats.


House hunting hysteria is something that is oh so familiar to me, having spent two years living in the tiny town of St Andrews; however this was completely different ball game. My town has not one, but eight University colleges; this means a serious amount of competition for cheap accommodation, or any accommodation at all come to that. On my fifth house viewing, I finally found it. The bar fully stocked with Steins sealed the deal.


I haven’t handed over any money and I haven’t signed a contract- however I do have a house key. Flight status: checked in. Suitcase: exploded. Wine: chilled and ready for a St. Andrew’s farewell. I guess I’m all set, wish me luck!