2000 – Bonn, studying political science, economics and French. Changing the later one for public law. Having the great experience that other people of my age have the same interests as I do.
2001 – Studying without too much conviction. Failing to get the internship in Berlin. Starting to think about an Erasmus year because everybody is ‘doing it’.
2002 – Trying to find out where to go in France. Grenoble has the best and only up to date website; the office for foreign students is replying to my emails and there are 5 exchange places; enough even for someone who barely speaks French and who’s English is worse.
2003 – Grenoble. Still! After an awful first few weeks, I wanted to go home. But giving up without even trying would look like cowardice. Finishing the half term, my minimum goal. At the end, I have not only finished the year but decide to go for at least two more.
2004 – If I had known how much work it is to get a diploma, I’d have gone home. But I didn’t. The year where I eventually figured out that giving your best might not always be enough but at least you would have tried.
2005 – First ‘real life’ work experience. The incredible feeling of leaving work at work and not having to worry about the upcoming exams, papers to hand in, presentations to prepare. Life is adding a few other worries instead.
2006 – The most moving year of my life – Grenoble, Berlin, Capetown. Germany plays a fantastic world cup, I know now for sure that I don’t want to live there but find great friends and support at moments where misery is catching up fast.
2007 – From 30° sunny South Africa to a 3° cloudy Brussels. 5 months of internship at the European Commission – I feel like an Erasmus again but with less work and more money. The decision to stay in Brussels lacking the money or will to go somewhere else. Overall a good one.
2008 – New job, new luck. The ‘learning curve’ feels more like a roller-coaster to me. So does life in general.
2009 – Space to breathe. Filled with a thousand little things. Back to my beloved mountains. Swimming in the sea. Enjoying and getting good at what I’m doing for a living. Maybe something to continue.
Overall, a lot of experience, a few regrets and the total lack of understanding for people who want to be 18 again. Life is so much better nowadays…