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Letter to a New Student

by Andrea

Dear New Student,

My name is Andrea, and I am from Germany. We moved to Charlottesville, VA, four months ago – how time flies!

Maybe you are in a similar situation like I am?

Moving to the United States means using this chance as an unique opportunity to get to know the American culture, the way of life, and at least a part of this huge, diverse, and impressive country. I am in the fortunate position of having a lot of time on my hands here in America, so breaking out of my daily routine in Germany is a gift I appreciate as much as meeting new people and learning English in depth during my stay here.

I did some research on the internet before we came to Charlottesville and read that it is a beautiful little college town with a great historical background. I was impressed by the architecture of the university complex and the big “memorial to enslaved laborers” on the green area next to the “Rotunda” of the University of Virginia. Charlottesville was the home of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. You will still notice his legacy of influence everywhere in the city.

In Germany, we are used to a wide network of public transport, as well as pedestrian and bicycle paths. So I was a bit astonished that Charlottesville does not have much of this.

Buying a car and a navigation system are two of the most important tasks after your arrival. In addition to attaining housing, an American phone number, and a bank account, signing up for the TJACE “Learning Circle” is a wonderful start. I have received so many helpful tips about Charlottesville and the surrounding area, as well as personal tips. It is nice to meet people who are as new to the area as you are and know that there are teachers who care about you as a newbie.

Even though it is very hot and humid during summer, Virginia has great weather. In fall and winter, there are many bad weather days in Germany that challenge your mood. Here you can enjoy the sun and warm days until late November. I am very excited to see what December and January will bring in terms of weather.

By the way, we immediately fell in love with the Shenandoah National Park. If you like to be outdoors, this lovely area is only a stone’s throw away from Charlottesville and offers a lot of easy to challenging hiking trails and impressive views along the skyline of the Shenandoah National Park.

Washington is also not far away. You can make a day trip there. It should be particularly beautiful in April and May because of the cherry blossoms.

There is so much more to tell, but for now I will leave it at this brief glimpse. Feel free to contact me if you want to learn more.

Best regards,
Andrea