Ingaræð wrote:I still dream of escaping the UK though (I'm jealous of family even flying over Russia), so studying abroad in the future is hopefully one option for me. I had no idea there were so many Russians in Düsseldorf/Cologne! I'd agree about those being good places to learn German, if only because my Familie are all in NRW, and none of them speak English. I would certainly appreciate your language-school recommendation.
The school I was thinking of was the IIK in Düsseldorf. They are somewhat connected to the university, but not quite part of it as far as I know. One of my best friends runs their social program taking out the students for night's out and that sort of thing. She studied Linguistics, Japanese and French herself, so even the part-time non-teaching stuff is qualified. All the students I met from that school were happy with it. 5h of German style language classes is very intense, but definitely effective! By the way, send me a PM if you plan on visiting the area, I'm there about once a year for university purposes and maybe we can meet up one day!
In NRW you won't find the Russians as ghettoised as in Berlin - Charlottengrad -, but they are there. You just have to know where to look! They seem to accumulate in maths, physics and computer science degrees and among the tango dancers And when you meet one, of course they know all the good places in the area and take you where you can meet more Russians! They really have a tendency to stick together, whereas I avoided Germans like the plague in England! And although they speak excellent German, they always speak Russian with each other too, none of that "politely sticking to a common language". It's really very helpful for practicing.
Such a shame that your stay in Heidelberg was academically useless! It's a nice place and a good university, you probably missed out on some good lectures. One of my flatmates in England was a German major too and she was in no position to understand university lectures when she left on her year abroad either. It seems to be a common state of affairs at English universities. This is not the case for Erasmus students coming from German universities. I originally wanted to do my year abroad in Italy and due to admin issues I didn't get into the course that would have allowed me to take the B1 test I needed for Erasmus. I was furious, because I could have made B2 easily before leaving but well ... it's Germany, the rules are the rules are the rules. Most people leave with a solid B2. My friends who went to France and Spain came back with some pretty solid achievements (and some riot and burning cars stories from France )! In our case we could use the grades from our year abroad if we wanted them. I actually got some firsts on some philosophy papers that were very useful!