How A Lamp, Social Networking and a DAB digital radio got me through my first night in a WG

For those of you who are wondering why my first night jitters occurred a week and a half after my arrival here in Germany, allow me to explain myself. I spent the first week and a half with some family friends and I couldn't move into my flat until this weekend. It was a very comfortable, very indulgent way to start a year abroad.

So I moved into my Wohengemeinschaft* , which I originally thought to be occupied by 3 girls but is in reality occupied by 2 boys and a spare room. The landlord assured me that they were very lovely guys and that I was sure to get on very well with them, but it's still going to be a very different dynamic to the one I was expecting. The other issue is that neither of them were in the flat when I moved my stuff in, so I didn't have the chance to get acquainted with them (those who know me will know how much this sort of thing would bother me!) I knew that one of them would be arriving late sunday night and the other in two weeks time, but they were at the time still faceless figures that haunted my conscious.

So after having a meal of tinned soup and gluten-free spaghetti, I waved Louis off to the other side of town where he is staying with some other family friends and tried to settle myself into the loneliness of an empty WG (which in itself is an oxymoron seeing as WG directly translates as 'Living Communities') There I was community-less, listening to the sounds of the busy road outside and blinking at my new Ikea lamp with the dependency of an 8 year old who's afraid of the dark.

This is where the social networking came in. My first thought was 'I need prayer' and 'I need to know that people are praying for me' so I wacked out my iphone and posted on Of Pure Gold which is a group where christian women can share prayer requests of any sort. Within ten seconds I had received two messages of encouragement. I normally hate posting negative Facebook statuses, so it was rather unusual for me to write something about being scared in my new room, but I'm so glad I did. It only took a minute or so before I had a couple of friendly messages and tips, which made me feel completely loved and less alone. My lovely Aunty Ruth also suggested that I put the radio on quietly in the background and before long I was soothed to sleep by German radio personalities and some strange trippy folk music. I woke up the next morning completely settled, feeling absolutely at home. 

SO for all you people sleeping in new rooms...
  • Don't be afraid to sleep with the light on.
  • Put a radio or podcast on in the background just to drown out the silence.
  • Make the use of modern technology to stay connected and realise that you're not alone.
My room in Bristol...I still miss it.

*WG or Wohngemeinschaft is basically a flat-sharing arrangement for people in Germany. There are many different types of WG including ones for students, young professionals and even older generations. Some are very communal, others are not. Either way they are the best accommodation for singles wanting to travel, or work for a short period of time.


  1. Ellie, I know how scary it can be on your first night in a new place, all alone, and especially under such different circumstances to what you were expecting. But I'm not at all surprised that you found your own way through it and probably grew from it a little bit too :) I have no doubt that the boys will be kind and will love you! And if anything goes awry - if they don't wash the dishes, or worse, don't respect your boundaries - you stick 'em on the phone to me and I will give them an ordentliches talking-to.



  2. Thank you for this - I'm moving to university in a couple of weeks and whilst I know I won't exactly be alone I know there's a strong possibility it will feel like I am. So thank you for the tips! I hope you're enjoying your experience so far!