My adventure in learning German started in sunny Santa Barbara, California about 3 ½ years ago. It was “winter” semester (winter in Santa Barbara reaches an extreme low of 16°C), and I decided it would be interesting to learn a foreign language. I took beginning German classes until I started my study abroad program in Göttingen, Germany later that year. I had my first German language lesson on a cool summer day, and I have been hooked ever since.
I won’t lie; I have moments where I whole-heartedly agree with Mark Twain’s evaluation of German in The Awful German Language. All these grammar rules and adjective endings can be a bit intimidating for a native English speaker, where the main article for the entire language is “the”. However, I was fortunate enough that my real attempt at a German language lesson was in Germany. I had native speakers as my teachers, and after class I was forced (in a good way) to use whatever German I had managed to learn to buy groceries, send a post –card, talk to my neighbors, and of course go out for a beer.
My courses laid a solid foundation, but it was my experience living in Germany that really enabled me to acquire the language. The best part about having a German language lesson in Germany is that “lessons” are not limited to the classroom. Each time I was able to shop, be outside, and interact with people the chapters in my German book got considerably easier. I suddenly wasn’t struggling for words, and started using words I didn’t even know I knew. International Projects is a great company that organises language holidays, so that real German can be learned in the real world.
So, what is my advice for the inquiring German learner? Don’t settle for German language lessons at home, join the fun, have a beer, and learn to live like the Germans – in Germany.
Check out our summer language courses in Oberwesel, Germany.