Hey Liebe Leute! So I spent a year in Germany I will never forget! I saw so much and adapted a new perspective on the way I want to live my life. If there is anything I can guarantee on exchange it would have to be the fact that you will have many different experiences. The point I am trying to throw across is that no matter the ups and downs on the roller coaster that is an exchange year, you will take the experiences and understand them to make yourself a better human being. That said I would like to welcome you to my 2009/2010 year.
I lived in Welver, Germany, which is a small town in a quite metropolitan industrial area called the Ruhrgebiet. The Culture was very interesting and the language came luckily fast to me. After the first two months I was able to excuse myself from the random conundrums that jostle the normal exchange student. This is why I recommend extensive work on your language skills because language and culture are the two biggest tests to your exchange student worthiness. You must adapt, learn and understand your surroundings and when you do, you will break through this blockade and build a bridge for yourself between these two cultures you are now a part of.
My first few months spent only in language courses, impacted my advancement into the culture. I didn't feel quite like a member of society because I hadn't been out to mingle with the population of my age group. When I finally started attending school things started to click, and they only got better every day. In the end I recommend taking language courses at the start of the year until you feel confident in your ability to talk it at a level where you can at least get your views across in any situation. If this takes half of your year I still recommend it because only having half a year to enjoy with the ability to totally understand a language, is in every instance better than having a year long exchange and not having the language to be accepted into the society and never being accepted. This was only my situation to let you all know. Every country in this world is different.