Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ich spreche Deutsch gut!

I'd like to label this post "Ich spreche Deutsch super," mostly because I love that Germans still use the word super in 2014, but it wouldn't be true.  However, I can speak enough Deutsch to get me through everyday activities.  I wish I could relay to you the excitement I had on my first day out shopping and not having to say the words "Sprechen sie Englisch?"  While that is a Deutsch phrase it's literally feels like I'm saying, "Hi, I'm a stupid American and haven't tried to learn your language yet" insert face of shame here -->___.

The school is actually the best thing I've done with my time here in Germany.  It is a must do if you are spending more than a year in Germany.  Looking back on it, I wish I would have started earlier!  Even if you're working all day they have classes available at night a few days a week too.  
The cheapest course books I've ever bought, and my bookbag. I'm sure the non-English speakers think English is such a weird language now.  Thanks Jen, Annie, and Nicole!  
I'm taking the course through Volkshochschule in Mainz because my amazing new friend Colleen is on a sabbatical and said she was taking it, so I decided to join.  I'm so grateful that she moved to Germany because I'm not sure I would have actually taken the course by myself.  I've heard from friends that the Mainz course is a lot younger crowd because of the university nearby, and the one in Wiesbaden has more Americans.  I'm happy I took the Mainz course because taking a class where over half of the people don't speak English really makes you immerse yourself in the language (I know, living in Germany just isn't enough, right?).  Each day when we learned how to ask new questions I end up learning so many new facts about my classmates.  I LOVED it!  It has given me such a great, new perspective on life.  My classmates are from:  Indonesia, Iran, Nepal, Poland, Romania, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine.  Crazy, right?   One of my favorite days was learning how to sing Happy Birthday in German to Colleen! We had a Funfetti  cake, and most of the people from other countries had never had it (I just checked the box for major contribution to society, don't you think?).  We had fun feeling like we were in 3rd grade again sitting around and eating cake from paper plates.

Colleen about to blow out her candles!
Reasons why you MUST take this course:
  1. You learn enough Deutsch in the first course to buy food at the markets, order at a restaurant, and shop in all of your favorite stores.
  2. It only cost 255€ for an intensive 5 week course that meets 3 hours a day.  This includes a bus and train pass good for 2 hours before and after the course lets out.  Sadly, they wouldn't take a VAT form (I had to try!).
  3. The course books cost about 8€ a piece!  This is cents compared to my $200+ used science books back in college.  
  4. You meet some pretty amazing people from around the world, and get out of your small American-military bubble! 
Signing up for the course:
  1. Walk into the Volkshochschule building and tell them you would like to take the Deutsch als Zweitsprache A1/1 - intensive course.  They will more than likely give you a sheet of paper with hours on it for you to come back and assess your German knowledge with a teacher (I know it sucks to make two trips, but you can do it).
  2. After you show that you don't know any German words, the teacher will then say you qualify for the beginner course.
  3. Take your approval form to the front desk and pay (bring cash, yup this place doesn't like your fancy card either). 
Unfortunately, circumstances out of my control caused me to only take three out of the five weeks of the course, but even with three weeks I feel more confident while speaking Deutsch.  I'll leave you with a small video of me speaking Deutsch, so you can see how far you can come after one course!  


  1. Good on you for getting out there and into the German lessons - there are so many people here that just don't bother! Learning the language altered my experiences here so dramatically and I loved being in a class with so many people from all over the world. Funnily enough, in 3 years of classes in Mainz and Wiesbaden, I only met 2 native English speakers - and they were both Americans in Mainz :) By the way did you know that if you take the integration course at the VHS (I'm guessing that's where you were studying?) then you get the lessons for (I think) 1€ per class? Something I wish I'd known about!!

    p.s. your dog is absolutely GORGEOUS :)

    1. Hi Frau Dietz (I love your name btw)! You took 3 years of classes? You are definitely on the SUPER level! Congratulations! I had to edit my post because you reminded me that I forgot to add information on how to sign up for classes. Thank you! I did hear that they have an integration program that consists of taking a few courses, and you can get money back after filling out paperwork and taking it to the Integrationsamt office. However, living in Germany with the US military gives you a sofa card and disqualifies you for the program. Thanks for adding this valuable tip for those moving to Germany in other ways. The program sounds great!

    2. Yep, 3 years of classes… but then my husband is German, so I kind of felt like I needed to commit :D


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