Ever since i got to Berlin, i always counted on my notions of German to get me through what i thought would be a short & fun stay in this beautiful city. I had learned German for a year during high-school.
As time went by, the short stay became a longer one, and before i knew it, i had actually settled here. Since it was never the plan to stay here for good, i didn’t take German too seriously but still trying to learn as much as i could to escape the usual expats crowds and discover what was beyond the obvious “scene”.
It was never an scholar approach anyway; “Just speak the street-german, you’ll be fine”, i told myself many times.
“You’ll be fine” i told myself many times
Street-German only gets you so far however, and if i wanted to make a significant step in my personal life and career, i needed to grow up and do something about it. After all, did i not highlight the importance of mastering the language in one of my first posts on this very blog ?
Thus, i quickly reviewed the options and the criteria to find the perfect class for me.
The options i had already listed there. My criteria were as followed :
– Min 2 hours per sessions with a session everyday for a month
– Not too far from i live (Neukölln)
– Small classes
– Good reputation from acquaintances
– Certified for DAF tests
I finally chose to go with die DeutSCHule. It matched of all of them after asking around.
Located at Ubhf – Karl-Marx-Str., i had heard good things about their teachers and that it provided excellent value for the money. It is also a 5 min bike ride from where i live.
I signed up for a free 45 min placement for a B2 class which turned-out to be too easy for me so the school allowed me to do the same with a C1 course. It was great decision since i felt much more adequate and decided to take a 4-weeks class which costed me around 200€. Not bad for 4 hours of learning German in Berlin everyday.
Getting yourself back into Schüler-Modus
Having recently quit the job, i decided to go with the earliest time slot the school offers to force me to get out of bed in the morning. Starting at 9:15 am everyday, it was grammar and a lot new words for breakfast, a feeling i did not have since i was 15 or so. It did take a while to get back on track with that. Thankfully, it seems that Corinna, our teacher is used to deal with people who have incomplete understanding of german, so she did take the time to go over basic notions as well when it was needed.
Being only 6-8 people in the class, there was no hiding : i am there to talk a lot, enrich my vocabulary and learn how to give more flexibility to my language. The class is usually broken down into different parts alternating between oral presentations, written exercises & just plain old discussions about current topics.
The atmosphere is very casual, inviting everyone to mingle and to take part to the class.
When the brain needs some fuel at the much-needed break, a little café within the school is a rendez-vous point to chat around a cup of coffee or smoke a cigarette on the terrace. You might also heard melodies coming from the open-use piano. I must say it’s quite motivating to meet all those people that are here to learn together in this atmosphere. It is far from the rigid school pupil-teacher scenario here. Only responsible adults taking it seriously. It helped me when motivation was not at the highest.
This community effect is seen everywhere with invitations to parties and/or side activities from class-mates. It’s overall a great place to meet people if you are new to the city.
The homework is also decent and the speed seems to be adapted to the different levels from A1 until C2. There are even special courses like “German for work”, “Conversational German” and intergration courses.
Confidence boost :
After 4 weeks, i certainly did learn german a lot but more importantly; i got excited about the language again and my confidence to speak, very invigorated.
It was a very good experience and put me on the right track to be fully bilingual. I’d surely need a few more months to get there though.
Do ask questions about my time there or even your own experience of the school !
Disclaimer : i decided to write about the DeutSCHule because i really enjoyed my experience there and offered the teachers to talk about them in my blog. It had lived through the expectations. I did not get any money for this post but i did get a discount on the class fees. I did not go to this school because they would accept my offer in the first place. I made them an offer in the middle of the 3rd week of tuiton.