Why are you learning German?
I started learning German because my boyfriend’s family are from Germany and he speaks German at home. Naturally, I wanted to have some sort of understanding of what’s going on and to be able to understand the culture that is such a big part of his life, so I decided I’d take up German classes! While I now already know the basics of German and have an insight into the culture, I’ve continued learning the language because I find it genuinely enjoyable and challenging.
What makes learning German fun?
I find learning German so rewarding. A year ago I had no idea what people were saying when they spoke German around me. Now I find that I have a decent grasp of what’s going on, can follow stories and sometimes even contribute to conversation! Reflecting on this is what drives me to progress and fuels my passion to better my German language skills.
What are the challenges of learning German?
There are plenty! New concepts aren’t meant to stick straight away, and neither does vocab. Learning a new language definitely requires a degree of persistence. Everyone learns differently so I’m sure my challenges are different to those of others. However, I’m certain we can all agree that grammar can sometimes get the better of us. But once you’ve used a grammar rule successfully outside of class it is such a good feeling and that makes the challenge completely worth it.
Grace and her teacher at the German Language Centre in East Melbourne.
Have you ever learnt a foreign language before? if so, are there similar challenges or fun parts about learning both languages? or is German particularly hard/easy/fun in certain ways?
Previously I have only learnt languages at school. In primary school we all learnt Italian from Prep to Grade 6. I do remember basic phrases, vocab and numbers, however that’s about it. In High School we had a term of French, a term of Italian and a term of Indonesian in Year 7. After this, we had to pick a language to continue with until at least Year 9 and I chose French. It was fantastic to get a taste of Indonesian, seeing as they are very close neighbours to us, but I still only really know the basic phrases. French was interesting, but sadly it wasn’t a class I took seriously enough and therefore I didn’t continue it in VCE. Since then I have come to value language learning much more highly and learning German has been quite a unique experience me. For the first time I have properly invested my time and energy into learning a foreign language and it is so rewarding, fun, and interesting. I’m also sure that if I ever went back to improve my Italian or French, my background in learning German would definitely help.
How do you find the German Language Centre? how would you describe the learning environment?
Fantastic! I find that the dynamic of the classroom is what can make learning super enjoyable and interesting. Having a group of students from a range of demographics in one place means that someone always has something new to offer and there’s never a dull moment. That teamed with the fantastic teachers here makes the learning environment very productive and insightful.
What other things do you learn through learning a language?
You definitely learn more about the culture and gain a deeper understanding of the way of life of people from that country. Learning a language also helps you to identify your learning style. And it is very satisfying to see your own progress, as the result of your efforts can be so clearly tested in trying to speak and write in a foreign language.
How do you practise German? what exposure do you have to the German language on a regular basis? eg. do you watch German films?
I practice my German as often as I can. I have a flashcard app on my phone for when I want to increase my vocab. I’ve also found a lot of helpful online resources for when I want to extend my learning and consolidate my knowledge. I am around German native speakers fairly often, so hearing their conversations is fantastic for me to test my understanding and I try to speak with them in German as much as possible to improve my speaking skills.
I would highly recommend learning a language at the East Melbourne Language Centre. It is a friendly and social environment and they also have extra events for practicing language, including movie nights, games nights, a Stammtisch where you can practise German in a pub with your class mates, and extra grammar and conversation workshops during the term breaks. It is a very productive and rewarding experience but also just a lot of fun!
Grace in Hamburg (using her German)!