6 months have passed. 8 months have passed. Close to a year has passed and you still haven’t got round to it : kicking yourself in the butt and starting to learn German in Berlin.
After all, you have been so busy with fitting into the shoes of your new life : the new job, furnishing your new flat, the clubbing at Sisyphos, and your week-ends spent visiting abandoned factories. You also managed just fine nodding and smiling at the check-out at Lidl. Also; why bother to learn German in Berlin when everyone speaks English with you?
As you must have noticed by now, this sarcastic tone might sound pretty close to what you hear everyday in your head, so let me list the options for you to shut it down for good. As you might also know already from reading other pieces on SiB, i am a strong advocate for starting early to realize the full potential of your life in Berlin.
It’s also about realizing the full potential of your life in Berlin
German classes is clearly the best way to learn German in Berlin :
Sometimes, a good old teacher-pupil situation is best to learn German in Berlin. Fortunately, there is a good range at hand since a lot of expats have been moving to the city the past few years. In almost all of them, you can sign-up for a free trial class to get a sense of your level & see for yourself if the teaching method suits you. Mind also that some schools will require from you to buy some specifics material like books to follow the course.
- Volkshochschule : Intended as school for adults, it offers the flexibility to choose the amount of hours for all languages levels. It is the cheapest option as well starting from 69€ for students.
- Goethe Institut : The grand institution is in charge of spreading the German culture in the world and offers German courses for all. It is very tailored and professional teaching service that comes at a cost : a little more than 1000€ for 4 intensive 25 h weeks. Might be a good idea to kickstart your efforts. They also have cheaper great online courses where you have live sessions with real teacher in between fun-oriented exercises to do on your own. A good solution if you aren’t ready for a classroom. More info about this program here.
- Numerous private schools are taking the more interactive road, with smaller groups focused on getting some practical sentences in. Price differs a lot depending on the type of classes:
One-to-one sessions with teachers
To learn German in Berlin in a group is not something for you? Group work might not simply be the right method for some people. For them, private sessions with a dedicated teacher is just the right thing to get you going in the beginning or sharpen those der-die-das rules. There are different ways to find a German teacher in Berlin like Facebook groups or inserts on Craigslist. You might also consider platforms like TeacherFinder who connect students with their teachers depending on levels, skill sets & focus area. Simply enter your preferences for schedules and pay your teacher when you meet them the first time. It’s really a flexible solution to find the right German teacher in Berlin for your needs.
Online classes with real humans
Your busy lifestyle might make it hard to find a suitable time slot to fit in language classes in Berlin. If you need more flexibility, you can always pick the online route. Services like Lingoda allow you to follow a certified curriculum thanks to real-time interactive classes in small groups. You can schedule classes anyway you want. Interface is pretty neat and the learning material attractive. All plans also include a private session with a teacher. If you aren’t happy, you can cancel at any time or make use of the money-back guarantee. Trial classes are available too.
Languages tandems in Berlin :
I will grant you : learning German in Berlin is not easy. But sometimes, finding the right person to talk with can be a huge motivation. Also if you feel you are ready to practice on your own; this might a good option to meet cool people and auf deutsch bitte ! I find it’s great to gather the self-confidence you need in the early days to dare speaking a language that looks very intimidating at first. With language tandems, you are both feeling awkwardly uncomfortable. No one is judging. The tricky bit is that it’s like finding a sparring partner at Tennis: it’s only fun if you are both on the same level. Finding a language tandem in Berlin is very efficient for some people who have learned the basics and would like to exercise their skills during a friendly conversation.
This might a good option to meet cool people and auf deutsch bitte !
There are a few ways to find the pearl :
I hear some turmoil in the back of the classroom : “What other alternatives do i have to takin a german class or language tandems in Berlin ?”
For the less social or less available ones of us, it is always possible to use a smartphone or laptop to train and practice without the need of another human being. You could even learn German in Berlin subway, while you go to work.
- Mindsnacks : learning german with Minigames (iOs only)
- Memrise: Go on an adventure
- Unlockyourbrain : MCQ on your unlock screen to learn little by little
- Online courses by the Goethe Institut
The perk of apps is that you can really start at any level. So if you are a beginner, that might be a way to get ahead of the game before your first German course in Berlin. Self motivation is however key because there is no one to look over your shoulder. Thankfully, most of those apps have gamification aspects to it so you should be fine.
Last tips to learn German in Berlin while not studying:
Try to fill your life with as much Deutsch as you can, it helps a lot to watch German TV or listen to German radio. Radioeins in Berlin invites a lot of international artists for interviews for examples. They often interview in English before translating to German for the local audience. It’s great to know what the interviewer will say to practice!
You can also watch « Berlin Tag und Nacht » to catch on the local accents and expressions while not feeling guilty about watching reality TV. 😉
Whenever you can, read an article or two in the Morgenpost or TipBerlin laying on the table of your favorite cafe. It will be one article at first, but pretty soon you will go through the whole newspaper!
And finally, have fun while your learn German in Berlin and don’t forget to make mistakes! It’s better to do some than not to talk at all. No one will mind if you do.
And anyway, your cute ** accent will help you get that **** at the bar there !
** : insert your country of origin here
**** : insert boy or girl here
And you ? Do you have any tips or particular ways to learn German in Berlin? Share in the comments!