Studying a third language was in many ways tiring. It half bled the life out of me. Taking German for 2 semesters straight was a decision that was exhausting but worth it. German 1 was new, weird, taken on the back of a very football-fueled drive. For those who don’t know, I have great respect and admiration for the German National Football Team (Die Nationalfussballmannschaft). That’s the National Team, then there are the clubs, and I am in love with Bayern Munich. (Bayern München ist meine Lieblingsmannschaft ^^)
So naturally, as a European Studies Minor, I’d do German. So German 1, rolled around, somethings were easier others weren’t but by week 3 I was vaguely lost and trying to play the catch up game very unsuccessfully. Now, German 2 ends and I’m in the reminiscence mode. So this post is about both German 1 (level 1) and German 2.
I think that my comments would be that these module(s) was quite well planned and taught. Firstly, there is a good structure in terms of the elements that are taught, it progresses in difficulty and yet the nature of what is taught and the styles ensure that students know that it is for conversational usage and this would urge them to practice it not just on their own but with their friends. I testify to this because my German 1 whatsapp group of friends spoke German and only German on the group and every time I didn’t know what the word(s)/sentence(s) was/were, I’d go check them out and learn them. Secondly, my tutor is an amazing person. Read more here. You know a tutor is good when the whole German 1 class structures their next semester timetable around his lesson so that we can all be in his German 2 class(es). (Meinen Lehrer ist sehr interessant.) Furthermore, he plans it such that there are role playing games so students are often exposed to other people they do not mix with only the same group of people all the time but also they would make friends with others and this helps to bond the entire class. The video assignments while they are exhausting, are practical because they are filming and acting out of real life situations such as buying food, seeing the doctor, etc.
Also through these modules, I am thankful I learnt discipline. The discipline needed to do a language as compared to other modules is different. There’s homework (“andere hausaufgaben aus Seite 212….”), something that other modules do/may not have as consistently. You have to not just merely do homework, but also you have to keep tabs on the concepts taught and also ensure you remember them, note them down, learn them properly and most importantly, know how to apply them. That was tough enough. Thereafter, it was the endless video assignments we had to do, on top of the script that was required to film a video. Then there’s semester tests which add to the stress.
Learning a new language can be very fulfilling partly because when you realise you have the grammar and vocab (even if only elementary) to create a sentence, to express how you feel in another language, it can be really nice. There are also certain elements that come with learning a language such as learning the culture of the people. My tutor always tells us about history, architectural history, food history, places, people, everything. These expose you to the mindset of the way people think, their sense of time, space etc. Appreciating and having a broader perspective cannot hurt you and sometimes it takes learning the language to have the chance to do that. (fun fact: there are a few words in german that are real cool, one of them is when you ask the question “Wie gefällt dir …?” which means something along the lines of ‘what pleases you?’. The word gefällt is just a really elegant word to use.)
Having said that, it’s quite annoying when there’s multiple genders (M/F/Neutral/Plural) and forms of Kasus to use for different gender/plural, it can nearly drive one mad. But it ain’t so crappy once you do it for a while and you realise you’re internalizing it better than you expected yourself to do so. YAY. (Das ist nicht so schwer!)
Lastly, the friends I made were really great, we suffer in those countless vocab tests together and we celebrate fun stuff if your class does well, sneak chocolates around, watch each other’s embarrassed faces when the prof shows your video to the whole class, etc. It’s all great and wonderful after all.
With that, the question of whether I should take German 3 still stands. We’ll cross the bridge when we come to it, I guess.
Tschüss, bis dann! Ich will jetzt ins Bett gegangen.
here are some memes to end off a long post, thanks for reading