Everyone is suddenly a nutritionist

Photo of the author, a woman with brown hair, with an outstretched hand nuzzled by two sheep with black faces
Photo of the author, a woman with brown hair, with an outstretched hand nuzzled by two sheep with black faces

My personal decision to stop using animal products was an ethical one — I wanted to take a stance against the exploitation of animals. That was in September 2013. Here are some of the things I have learned since then:

  • When you go vegan, people you know are suddenly nutritionists. People like to point out what they believe to know about nutrition: But you need milk for strong bones, no?! (Wrong.) You need to eat meat to get enough protein! (Wrong.) Watch out that you won’t lose too much weight! (Don’t worry, I myself even gained weight after going vegan.)
  • Dating only vegans was a mistake. Funny anecdote: I met my boyfriend when he sat down next to me eating a sausage. Even though that disgusted me, I couldn’t deny the immediate sympathy I had for him. He eventually became vegetarian and now follows an almost fully plant-based diet. Before that, the only guys I’d seriously dated had been vegan and I had wanted it that way — but it never worked out with them for various reasons. …


#2 Discover German comedy

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First of all, check out my previous article about numerous resources that I will not repeat in this article:

Ja ja, I know, you could probably also read this article in German, my mother tongue. Even though you might not understand every single word, you’d get the message (jawohl). Your German is good enough to hear that a person from Bavaria is a little bit harder to understand than you anticipated when learning standard German (And did she just greet me with “Grüß Gott”, Greet God?!). Nevertheless, I’ll stick to English, the language of most Medium readers.

#1 Listen to Podcasts

I must admit that I mostly listen to podcasts in other languages than my own. However, there are two German ones that I check out every time they bring out a new episode. You need to have advanced listening skills to follow the episodes with ease. …


Bring your French skills, a laptop and coffee

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Upon entering a lecture hall, you’d see more than 200 students, most of them sitting behind a laptop. You’d hear the incessant, rhythmic sound of keyboards and a professor speaking French into a microphone. A PowerPoint presentation full of information would be projected to the wall. If you took a glimpse at the students’ laptop screens, you’d either see an open text file being filled diligently, a private Facebook feed or an shopping website.

Welcome to a typical lecture of mine in France! Studying a French-German bachelor’s that ended with a double degree allowed me to spend three semesters in this beautiful European country. …


Fun & easy practice tips

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Most language learners have been there: We’ve learned a language and achieved a level that made us pretty proud — and suddenly, we had to move away from that country, we learned another language, we had too much work or other time-consuming projects. The treasured language that we spoke with more or less ease seems to fade away like the color of those black jeans we thought would never turn this grey.

Like clothing dye, languages we’ve once learned won’t stay forever — they are not self-sustaining.

For me, it’s my beloved French that I don’t get to practice as much as I’d like to since moving away from France almost two years ago. Therefore, I follow little habits and tricks to keep my French alive. You can of course apply them to several languages at once, or to your mother tongue if you’ve been living abroad for some time. …


I’ve done it for over 3 years.

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“Writing a diary in a foreign language?”, you might think. “I don’t even write one in my own mother tongue! Isn’t that for a thing for teenage schoolgirls?” No! Let me convince you that journaling is an amazing opportunity to make you more confident in any foreign language you are trying to learn.

How I got into journaling in Italian

The reason I started writing my diary in languages other than my mother tongue (German) was an Italian tandem partner that I had more than three years ago. …


Restrooms are shared and cash is rare

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Hej allihopa, hey everyone! In mid-August, I moved to the country mostly known for the band ABBA, cheap furniture from IKEA, and a rather unconventional way of dealing with COVID-19. I’ve been living and studying in Jönköping in Southern Sweden for over two months now, and there are a few things that puzzled, amused, or surprised me.

#1 You can look everybody up online (yes, even me).

When you live in Sweden and don’t want to tell people your address or your age, that’s too bad — because they’ll find out anyway. How? …


As a German, I’d say “jein” (yes and no).

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When I first moved to France, I was blown away: Whenever I walked through Paris, Lyon or even smaller cities, I saw French flags — and the national motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (Freedom, Equality, Fraternity). On bridges, buildings owned by the State, or schools — the French made sure you didn’t forget in which country you were. (Disclaimer: I’ve never been to the U.S. but it would sure be a mind-boggling experience from what I can say by watching American movies. Long Live America!)

A not-so patriotic Germany

The reason I was so astonished is a simple one: I’m German and have lived in Germany for most of my teenage and adult years so far. We don’t have open national pride. You won’t see many German flags or the federal eagle, there is no motto written on buildings, you won’t see the name “Bundesrepublik Deutschland” (Federal Republic of Germany) very often. Of course, you’ll see it at some places in Berlin since it hosts some of the most prestigious and important buildings of the State. No point in denying that this is the German parliamentthere can as well be a German flag attached to it. …


Language justice, accent hierarchy and the power of words

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“Other students binge-watch shows on Netflix on the weekend, while you attend a conference.” Those were the joking words of a friend and fellow student of mine. She was right: I spent a whole weekend diving deep into the world of languages and “fangirling” over the amazing speakers at the “Women in Language” (WiL) Conference.

WiL is an online conference that first took place in 2018 and was held from September 17 to 20 this year. …


It all began with “flygskam”.

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If one thing was unimaginable in April 2020 for almost everybody in the world, it was taking the plane. The outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe led to international travel restrictions and airlines had to cancel most of their flights. Globally, the number of passengers traveling by plane halved in April 2020 compared to the same month of the previous year — and went down by about 90 percent in countries like France, Germany and Spain where restrictions were particularly strict then (Mazereanu, 2020).

For some people, this came at the right time. The Swedish neologism flygskam (“flight shame”) had only been introduced in 2017 (Wolrath Söderberg & Wormbs, 2019). It reflected what an increasingly eco-conscious Swedish population thought: That flying was something to feel guilty for because of climate change. In Germany, a country ranked 6th when it comes to implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Sustainable Development Report, 2019), the translation “Flugscham” was added to the 2020 edition of the major dictionary “Duden” (rnd.de, …


An interview about writing as an activist

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I spoke to Camille about animal advocacy in France, writing as a form of activism, his two new novels and his past professions. The interview was conducted in French — even though he speaks English and hopes to have his books translated shortly.

If you met Camille Brunel at a house party and asked him “What do you do for a living?”, he would likely reply “I’m an author” and “I write about animals.” You might enquire further and find out that he’s a passionate animal advocate who will soon publish his fourth and fifth book. …

About

Annika Wappelhorst

Multilingual student of Sustainable Communication (MSSc). I write about language learning, sustainability, veganism and living in 🇸🇪/🇫🇷/🇩🇪.

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