Friday, March 13, 2009

Integrating

I am a week into my "Integration Course". Basically, it is learning practical German with an emphasis on coping in society.  It's been really great so far, and I am finding myself understanding the teacher more and more each time. She speaks english, too, but refuses to do so, which is good for me. There are around 10 people in the class--one other guy from Chicago (military guy...been here 10 years? Weird), a girl from Brazil, 3 people from Turkey, an Italian, a Greek, a guy from Gambia, a guy from Iraq, and a girl from New Zealand. So, from all over. It's interesting speaking German to my classmates and learning about them in German and their lives. Pretty cool. Some of them have been here for 6 years or more! Can't imagine not knowing the language after that long...sometimes I wish we were around all english people, but I know the way we are doing it is more difficult, but will be better in the long run. I certainly havent been saying "dude" and "whatever" and "lame" at all. I gotta learn the German equivalents haha

We are learning grammar and basic stuff like family members, how to fill out forms, and how to say where you live, where you are from, etc. The classes run Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm-9pm. This will continue for almost a year! I should be reading german literature by then haha. Kinda puts a damper on travel plans, but its not a big deal to miss a class here and there, and anyway, I am glad it is so intensive. I am not working, so bring it on. It really feels good learning this stuff and being able to use it immedietly. I was in the park pushing Mayzie on the swings and a 12 year old girl was there and we chatted a bit--stuff like how old are you, where do you live, etc. That sounds strange but she was happy to speak english and I German, and I was surprised how well she spoke, being 12. They start them learning english at 6 years old over here, if not earlier, depending on the parent. Our friend Annett has her 3 year old in English classes.

We are definitly gaining confidence. Shops and bakeries and weird stalls that I had shied away from a few weeks ago, I am easily able to order something and not feel awkward or have to explain myself in English. Being able to properly pronounce is nice...the alphabet is so close to ours, but the pronunciations are different. That really helps the comfort level for sure. My goal: all I want to do is understand what the hell these guys are talking about on sunday morning while they drink beer and eat pretzels:

Jenna starts her classes May 4. Hers are Montag, Dienstag, and Freitag from 0840-1150. I know she will enjoy these classes, so I am looking forward to practicing with her. 

2 comments:

cliff1976 said...

sometimes I wish we were around all english people

You got a thing for the British?

I know she will enjoy these classes, so I am looking forward to practicing with her.

For us, speaking German together was the hardest part. I studied German in college and use it all day everyday at work (which means the first day after long weekends is often slow and halting for me), but Sarah used her German only in her VHS classes and when necessary for everyday interactions — not very much socially. We tried to force each other to speak German together, and theoretically we should be able to, but it just feels so freakin' weird whenever we try.

If you learn the secret, please share it with us!

Nick said...

yeah, I can see where you are coming from...we will probobly not speak to eachother in german, but we can learn new words and such together. we shall see i guess