Jet-setting off to a new country for a year comes with a certain allure. No one there knows who you are, where you come from, or what you’re interested in. You can be the mysterious new foreigner, and can adapt your persona to easily fit the culture in which you find yourself. Sometimes, however, you move to Luxembourg…
Any air of mystery gets thrown right into the very specific, four-sectioned trash bins, when it comes to living in Luxembourg. These 999 square miles, shared with a mere 600,000 others, very quickly turn into a home. You can easily find your niche, and build your own community. Whether it be with fellow Fulbrighters, lovable 20-year-old who landed in Luxembourg after a novel-worthy journey, American rap-loving Frenchies, or Spanish male models— nothing seems too foreign in the Grand Duchy.
After just a few weeks, the cashier at your local grocery store will learn your entire life story, and will never fail to comment on your accent. “Vous êtes américaine?! Mais non, c’est un accent anglais! Vous avez l’héritage d’Angleterre, c’est sûr!” You will recognize the same faces, no matter the time or place. The “People of Belval,” as we so lovingly call them, will follow you to the ends of the Earth— or at least to bordering countries when you least expect them. You will grow to share an odd, unspoken connection with those who have the same daily commute, and you know that they’ll always be there to silently commiserate with you when CFL cancels all trains for the next two hours.
You’ll find connections that you never knew could excite you so much. “You spent your summers working in Bridgeport, Connecticut as a teenager?! That’s crazy, I’m from New York! Bridgeport is only 2 hours away!” Of course, you then quickly realize that 2 hours seems like an eternity for the Burgers, who can traverse their entire nation in less time. You constantly find yourself saying, “Only in Luxembourg!” While this exclamation is suited for positive and negative situations, as well as everything in between, you’ll soon find yourself reminiscing fondly on the quirks that can only be found in the Heart of Western Europe.
And, only in Luxembourg, will you run into the Prime Minister on a casual Friday night at your favorite bar!
As a 2018-2019 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Luxembourg, Taylor Jaczko looks forward to engaging with the community both inside and outside of the classroom. Apart from her work as an ETA, she is excited to practice her French and learn some German and Luxembourgish — the country’s other two official languages! Taylor is a 2018 graduate of Alfred University, where she received her bachelor’s in Foreign Language & Culture Studies, and Global Studies.
Articles are written by Fulbright grantees and do not reflect the opinions of the Fulbright Commission, the grantees’ host institutions, or the U.S. Department of State.