Most of my second-year friends have chosen the expected housing option for this year - they are renting a house with their college friends, or people they met on their respective courses.
My living arrangements, however, vary somewhat from the traditional model. Signing my housing contract significantly later than most turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I live with two German Erasmus students, neither of whom I knew before my return to Durham in October.
At breakfast each morning I am fortunate to hear the melody of fluent German. My daily immersion in the language even extends to our house WhatsApp group conversation, through which we organise cleaning rotas, discuss our plans for the weekend, and decide who’s going to buy the next Toilettenpapier.
One of my housemates shares my passion for multilingual music. Over the past three months, she has introduced me to a wide variety of German rap, hip-hop, pop, indie and rock, which we dance to around the house. We even went to an indie rock concert together, which was an experience like no other. We chatted comfortably in German, then English, then back to German, for the duration of the train journey. As we searched for the venue through the streets of York, we were in hysterics at the German voice navigation accent on my housemate’s Google Maps app. Needless to say, we attracted some bemused looks from the monolingual passers-by…
For a proactive, sociable languages student like myself, our housing arrangement could not be more perfect. Whether I have a grammar query, an upcoming German oral presentation, or simply require a comforting presence, both girls are always happy to help me. I see them as the sisters I never had. My second year has been enriched culturally and linguistically through this lucky living arrangement, and I feel I have gained the best of both worlds – a fun, supportive household, and two wonderful friends.