Hi!!!!!! my names Anna and I'm just like you!! Well, at least where CBYX is concerned. I'm going to Germany for my sophomore year. I just found out yesterday. It's crazy; you know. Im sooooooooo apprehensive and scared!! any tips???

Oh my god!!!! Yesterday?!?!?! That’s so freaking exciting!!!!

Ok. Number one. Learn German. I cannot tell you enough how important this is. It’ll make life so much easier for you. Trust me. I started off learning German on duolingo.com and memrise.com and even how.com for grammar help and it made everything so much easier. Listen to german music or watch movies or youtube videos and try to emulate the sounds you hear. For example, the guttural ‘r’ is hard, but with practice it’ll come. Just start getting used to listening to the language now and trying to emulate the weird sounds. It’ll help with banishing the American accent and you won’t need to repeat yourself as often when you are trying to explain something.

Number two, relax. Waiting in anticipation for the scholarship was stressful. Now you can chill. Spend time with friends and family. It’s going to be tough for them but they’re going to be strong and get through it just like you. 

Also, I don’t know how your friends and family think about you going, but if they’re taking it hard, don’t talk about it that much. I know how exciting it is and it’s all you want to talk about, but it could start to bug your friends at some point. If there is someone who is really truly interested, you can use them to vent about your excitement. (I also recommend meeting new people or talking to people who you usually don’t talk to. They are going to be super interested and they aren’t going to care about you leaving as much as your friends. These are good people to vent to.)

Number three, don’t back down. You are going to go through ups and downs and that’s normal. You’re going to think to yourself “WHAT THE HELL HAVE I DONE” at some points. You just need to step back and look at the situation. You are going to freaking germany to have the best time of your life. You are going to learn a second language and make friends and memories that are going to last a lifetime.

And it’s going to be worth it.

This is just my subjective opinion, but I hope it helps!

"Ich bin in Döner verliebt" translation!

So, there’s an article about me in my local newspaper here in Germany, and I want all my friends and family to be able to read it! This is the original site:


So here’s my best try at a pretty direct sentence-for-sentence translation. Enjoy!

"I am in love with Döner"

The American, Karlie Naphy, proves herself to be multi-cultural- A guest to a Serbian family in Germany

She is 16 years young, bubbly, open-minded, and chatters on cheerfully when the topic is about her stay in Germany or her American homeland. The talk is from Karlie Naphy, a young exchange student who in her stay also comes across the tracks of her great-great-grandparents. She is a guest to the Petkovic family in Oberboihingen.


Whoever Karlie gets to know is surprised by her good knowledge of the German language. The young woman from Gloucester Township, New Jersey on the East Coast of the United States taught herself German. As English is a World Language, one is challenged little to learn foreign languages. For Karlie Naphy, that doesn’t apply. 

-Even when the great-great-grandparents stemmed from Stuttgart. The curiosity for Germany was awakened by the exchange students who have found acceptance in the Naphy family in the past years. Karlie speaks enthusiastically about her “German siblings”. 

One of the “brothers” had relieved the first steps into the German language. Upon his stay in Gloucester Township, Karlie’s determination to be an exchange student for a year in Germany for a year ripened. The Nürnberger cause fully furnished the Naphy house with post-its with the matching German words. The young woman acquired deeper language understanding through the internet. She got supporting courses from her organization AFS Intercultural who organized her exchange and who also mentor the students here. 

The visit made possible by a scholarship of the Bundestag

She had ‘worked hard’ on the application process to obtain the exchange. A scholarship of the “Parlamentarischen Patenschaftsprogramm des Deutschen Bundestags” helps with the financing and make it possible for her to get to know different perspectives of Germany. For instance, in May, she and other exchange students are invited to Berlin.

Karlie Naphy’s first station in Germany was with a family in Biberach. Since January, she’s has been living with the family of Ljubomir and Adrijana Petkovic in Oberboihingen- “I feel quite at home here.” Together with their daughter Luna, Karlie goes to school at the Fritz-Ruoff-Schule in Nürtingen. In Oberboihingen, Karlie has not only the chance to get to know the German lifestyle, but also to have an insight of Serbian culture. 

A young American as a guest in Germany to a Serbian family, that is a combination that Karlie really likes. Karlie feels at ease in Oberboihingen, even though the normal day here goes completely than what she’s used to at home. 

Asked about the biggest challenge that she is confronted with, Karlie refers spontaneously to the public transportation. In the USA, she uses the school bus. It stops only a several steps from her parent’s house. Apart from that, there is a circuit of mothers ready to chauffeur kids everywhere. To ride with a public train or bus is unknown to Karlie. And also reading a train or bus schedule. In the meantime, it works very well as the young American moves about in the region rather independent.

The school was also new for her. While in America where every school day has the same schedule and class participation is barely required or graded, she experiences school here to be different, more tiring. Here she is confronted with changing schedules and has to think everyday about what needs to be packed for school. To her liking, students are more often orally prompted and have to make frequent presentations. Speaking in front of the class is indeed something she does happily. At best, she talks about her American homeland, and even lays down some cliches about America and Americans to be right. 

Karlie also recognizes differences with food. In Germany, a lot of bread is eaten. She got used to that a while ago. And her cultural open-mindedness also shows in a complete different area: “I am in love with kebab”, this Turkish dish is unfortunately not available at home. 

Karlie is taken in by the Petkovics in Oberboihingen as a daughter. Like Adrijana Petkovic said, just as she hopes her own daughter would be taken in. Besides, she finds this encounter with the young American to be rewarding for everyone. 

Of course, Karlie confesses, she does get homesick. In the beginning of her stay, she counted the months she had left to overcome until she could fly back home. Now she is counting the remaining time with great melancholy. She likes Germany so much that what she wants most is to come back to study in a German university. 


Can you elaborate on your previous point that in Germany, bestfriends might act in ways that in the U.S people would assume the two were dating? I find that interesting as I always feel more of a need to connect with friends here in the U.S

Ok, so I don’t know what your background is on either culture but I’m assuming you are probably a European in the US.

From my experiences, I don’t have much physical contact with my guy friends in the US. I don’t hug them much or sit too close to them, but we are still really good friends at the same time.

Here in Germany, I’ve noticed that guys and girls are more open to hugging each other and no one would think that they’re dating because hugging is a normal thing. They also sit a little closer to each other (everyone does, it’s just a thing), and possibly poke and tease each other (for an example of contact) because they’re friends and can do those kind of things. In the US, it could be taken the wrong way and on-lookers would think it is flirting.

One of the things that stick out to me is that guys hug each other more often here in Germany. It’s just something that doesn’t happen much in the US because of the irrational fear of being called ‘gay’ (in my opinion, a totally stupid fear in most cases).

So yeah. I don’t really know what I’m trying to get at. I guess I usually show my affection for my friends through conversations and talking about deep stuff and getting to know them on a deep level. That’s sort of how we gain more respect and trust for each other. 

In which I fall in love with Cologne.

Hey there! 

I’m in the mood to type. So let’s start. 

Backing up to the middle of March, my class organized a sleepover in the school. We all arrived at 6:00pm on a Friday for a pizza and movie night. We (1/3 of the class and our teacher) were the only 20 people in the whole school for the night. We watched the Truman Show all together and then we were free to do as we please. We decided it’d be a great idea to play hide and seek in the dark. Even though half the school had motion sensor lights, we were left with the rest of the 2-story building with a basement. 

It was the most terrifying and exhilarating thing I’ve done in a long time. 

After 3 hours of playtime, we all settled down and watched 2 other movies until 4:30am. 

*Culture difference: Co-ed sleepovers in a neutral environment are totally fine and accepted in Germany.*

CBYX camp was at the end of March. Each half of the 50 scholarship winners spent 5 days in Bad Honnef, a town south of Bonn and not too far from Cologne. 

25 American exchange students all together under one roof.

Let me tell ya’, camp was awesome. The first day we all took a tour of Bonn and Das Haus der Geschichte “The House of History” and took some pretty awesome pictures. 


We took some selfies with the biggest moonrock in Europe.


I terribly improv’d a german-language-illiterate Angela Merkel pissed off about the NSA.


And we got some pretty adorable group photos. 

The next day we went to Cologne where we took a tour of a Mosque and the city center.


I can say with confidence that Cologne has the best döner I’ve ever eaten.


I take selfies with remarkable objects in order to prove I was present. 


I cried in awe of its beauty.


I went with a group to Starbucks and we ended up with this outcome. It was the funniest thing.


The whole group together!

The next day we had workshop stuff and exchange-studenty-things to do. But we eventually got the chance to play a 2 1/2 hour game. Each group of 3 people received an egg and an apple. Our objectives were to trade the apple in town for some cool stuff and find a place to cook the egg. 

Following are some of the results:

  • 2 giant terribly painted paintings
  • Chocolate
  • Christmas lights
  • A car mat
  • A bottle of cheap champagne
  • and tons of other things

*No worries. The bottle of champagne was taken by the counselors

Then on Saturday we had another workshop day and then at the end of the day we had to put on a Talent Show. We all managed to throw something together and it was pretty good.

We all parted ways on Sunday and it was sad. The next time we are all together will be in Berlin for a week in May and then again at the Frankfurt Airport during our last days in Germany.

It was a good time while it lasted. It was an amazing feeling to be with American teenagers and be able to speak english and enjoy each other’s humor in a language we all understand. It was pretty much a time of relief. 

I came back to school and took a few tests. Math, English, and Physics. Two of which I surprisingly bombed. But as hoped, I received a perfect score on my English essay. Never in my life has that ever happened. 

As for my progress in German, I’m liking it! I just starting getting to guts to read aloud from our book in class. I stumble over words, but it makes class a little more interesting. I get complimented on my German, but that doesn’t stop people from helping me correct my mistakes. It’s a work in progress. 

Today I was asked to go into a class of people studying to be kindergarten teachers and talk about child upbringing in school in the US. One of the points I made was that the concept of “personal space” is taught at a young age, hence being told to keep your hands to yourself all the time. I explained how there is a clear difference between personal space in Europe in comparison to the US. 

I demonstrated what I think personal space is by walking up to a student in the class and stopping where I would think would be a good distance between us in order to have a conversation. When I stopped in front of the student, a echo of gasps went around the room and it was clear that the unanimous opinion was “You’re kidding! That’s so far!”. The classmate then demonstrated what he thought was an appropriate distance and took a step forward. 

Of course, the question came up as to why Americans set themselves so far apart from each other in daily situations. I tried to come up with a theory. My thoughts are that it probably stems from the “American Mindset” where in the past everyone’s goal was to have a house, a big yard, their own car, etc. etc. We take pride in what we own and maybe that makes us take pride and stand ground of the presence and space we take up on this earth. 

I had talked about the difference in personal space between two culture before, but I didn’t truly find a way to show the difference until today. 

Other examples of physical social differences: 

  • It’s common to hug every one of your friends in school hello and goodbye everyday in Germany. In the US, these hugs are occasional. 
  • When waiting to get on the bus, people are practically on top of each other trying to get into the bus first here. At home, I’ve only ever experienced standing and getting on in an orderly fashion. 
  • No matter what kind of pair of best friends you are, boy-boy, girl-girl, or even boy-girl, it is totally normal to be super close, both physically and emotionally. The type of boy-girl friendships here are the sort of things in the US where people suspect the two are dating. 
  • If a stranger bumps into your shoulder on the street, don’t expect an apology from a German if it wasn’t a severe bump, but expect an “excuse me” from an American if he has to swerve slightly out of his way in order not to hit you, even if you two never actually make contact. 

Just some interesting things to think about. 

My mom, aunt, and cousin are coming to visit in May and I absolutely CANNOT wait for it! 

Yesterday or the day before yesterday was the 7 month mark of living in Germany. Everything is hitting me now and I’m realizing how freaking fast the time in going. 

Time is a terrifying and stressful concept. 


I know this is a bizarre question but what is the dress code in German school? (Hats to Shirts to Everything in Between?)

This is going to be a bizarre answer:


I know, right? Like someone can literally come to school in underwear or nothing at all and no one can say anything about it. (I’ve never seen it happen though.)

One of the reasons for no dress code if the fact that a dress code sort of reminds the country of school during the Nazi period.

Conclusion: Wear whatever the hell you want and enjoy one of the freedoms that aren’t available in the US. 

I have officially spent 3/97 of my life in Germany.

Hey! So I’m going to try my best to wrap up the last month/month and a half here. It’s going to be a lot. Beware.

I skyped my family for a bit and here’s some snow that for some reason isn’t happening in Germany at all:



I went back to the Stadtbücherei in Stuttgart! I went with my host sister and friends of my host-parents. Considering that my host-family is Serbian, they have a lot of friends who speak their language, meaning I’m surrounded by another culture, within a culture. And another language: Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian/etc. (They’re the same language, yet not. It’s a complicated story. Read up on the war that went on in Yugoslavia in the 90s if you’re interested.) On the day we went to the Library, we visited other friends from Bosnia . It was like my first days in Germany all over again, except I could not understand one thing other than ‘Dobro’ (which means ‘good’). It was a nice visit and I enjoyed it a lot. Then when we got to the library, we went to the top of the building and took a bunch of pictures. It was gorgeous. Afterwards, we went into the actual library part like before where I found a piece of the library where it is possible to borrow artwork (like legit paintings) for two months to hang on your wall at home and then bring them back. I also found an entire wall of english books and a section for “Deutsch als Fremdsprache”=”German as a foreign language”. I spent about 2 hours in that section reading up on grammar and brushing up on some new verbs and prepositions.




I joined a gym recently! It’s really nice and the people are really friendly. Everyone who works there wants to learn English and ironically there are a lok of Americans who go to the gym. I don’t really known why, but they’re cool and it’s an interesting thing to talk to middle aged strangers of your home country in a foreign gym.

My host sister bought the Grease soundtrack and all I’ve been doing in my free time is singing “Summer Lovin’”.

My class in school decided to have a bake sale. Due to the lack of preparation, we forgot about advertising and didn’t realize it until the morning of the bake sale. Thankfully, our teacher didn’t show up in the morning so we had a free period. To make use of our time, I and two other classmates ran around the school knocking on every classroom door and held up our sign stating everything we were selling that morning and emphasized on the fact we had “original American chocolate chip cookies” made by the foreign exchange student. In the end, my cookies were a hit.

I didn’t read the book in Deutsch and then we took a test where I got a 5,25 and it was a remarkable achievement.

I’m developing a some sort of strong appreciation for German rap/hip-hop music. Cro and Alligatoah are worth a listen.

There’s this assumption in Germany where everyone thinks a lot of people in the US have water beds. I break a lot of hearts when I tell them I’ve only known one person in my life who owned a water bed.

My package from my parents for my birthday finally arrived! It was so excited even though it was almost two months late.

We had Faschingsferien in Germany. It’s practically just vacation for Carnival. We had a week off and did a bunch of stuff. I went and played pool with some friends and exchange students, saw a Fasching parade in Stuttgart with a classmate, spent an evening in Stuttgart with two exchange student friends, and went to Strasbourg, France for two days with my host family. I, of course, slept a lot and was lazy for quite an amount of time during vacation, but that’s okay.

Our trip to Strasbourg was amazing! It’s not even two hours away by car. The down side was that we took our little toy poodle dog who was a little to excited the whole time and wouldn’t understand the concept of ‘quiet’. I was suddenly very thankful for headphones during that trip.

We pretty much just toured the city. Strasbourg comes across as pretty bipolar because it looks like Germany and France at the same time. Unfortunately, the majority of people there spoke French so I had to rely on the question: “Excusez-moi, parlez-vous Anglais? Ou Alemand?” I was also a huge help because my host-mom can’t speak english or french so I was to the rescue when my english-speaking-host-dad wasn’t there.

One night I went out shopping by myself and I bought a pair of french jeans and a french leather jacket. I will forever refer to them being french because I feel special for owning french clothing. The french have sooooo much better stores for clothes shopping.

Here’s the Cathedral!


We also took a boat tour of Strasbourg and there are too many pictures so I’ll make another post for pictures.

I’m writing this all while no wifi is present due to an inflated level of dormancy of a certain being in this space of living who in some way happens not to be yours truly. (I’m aspiring to be as astute and subtle as feasible.) Ergo, I have resorted to unequivocal masses of German reading. Yet I am still slowly perishing as the most amusing source of entertainment and learning has been pilfered. In other words, life without wifi is torture. 

As of yesterday, I have been in Germany for exactly 6 months, half of a year. Merely 4 months left. Wahnsinn.