Dear Sam the Student:
In a couple months, once this semester is over, I'll be heading over to Germany for the summer to a semester there. I'm pretty excited, excited I'm nervous, too. It'll be my first time away from home. Even now, in college, I'm at a state school and living at home because it's so close. And it sounds silly, but I'm nervous about flaming out once I get there, and then feeling homesick all the time when it's supposed to be half-school, half-adventure.
Signed, On My Own
Dear On My Own:
The good news is, you're living in the Age of Google, and that means if you forget anything, the internet is holding it in safekeeping for you. It just means you have to start now by Googling how they do things in Germany (e.g. cycling is big, and hanging your laundry to dry is preferred to using a dryer), and filling in the blanks on other day-to-day tasks. You're in school and you've got a good head on your shoulders, so you'll be doing just as okay as you are now.
In terms of family, sure, you can download Skype onto your laptop and talk to them that way, or you could jailbreak/unlock your phone. By choosing the latter, you can download the Skype app onto your phone, slide a German SIM card in there, and take advantage of their superior data rates to use the Skype app as a regular (long-distance) phone feature. You can also get texting-as-data apps to send them quick messages, and avoid paying the ridiculous overseas texting costs. Have fun, and Auf Wiedersehen!
Dear Sam the Student:
My roommate is SO loud in the mornings! (I'm not a morning person at all!) I'm thisclose to freaking out on them, but there's got to be another way to keep my sanity until I'm ready to wake up for class.
Signed, Cranky in the Mornings
Dear Cranky in the Mornings:
Yikes! I feel sorry for you and your roommate; it's never easy for two people with different sound styles to live together. I'm not sure how reasonable or open to suggestion your roommate is, so all I can do is offer you tips. Have you tried talking to your roommate? There's a chance they may not even know how much they're bothering you. Say something disarming like, "Lee, I feel awkward bringing this up because we've gotten along well in everything else, but I'm feeling sleepy for my morning classes because it's a bit noisy in here. Is it cool if we can figure out something that works for both of us?" Once you say that, though, you have to be prepared to give something up if you want to get something, like wearing headphones at night or putting up with a bit of noise in the morning.