1 year in Berlin
Having celebrated sticking out a year in Berlin on 21st July, I realise that Germany has taught me many things. I have lived in Wolfsburg and now Berlin – both very different experiences and cultures, even. Learning German has been a slow process since secondary school in the UK but finally getting a fluent level is definitely worth it; making mistakes and making others wince at your grammar for a few months is part of the experience.
Learning German in Berlin
With my first post on the secret linguist, I want to discuss how to learn German in a place like Berlin, where lots of Germans and expats can speak English. Moving to a new country demands adapting very quickly to a new environment which includes learning if but the basics of the language. You don’t have to be a linguist to be motivated to learn some words.
“But…everyone speaks English in Berlin, why would you need to learn German?”
Why do we limit ourselves to one language?
Firstly, this is something I have been wondering; do the majority of people only stick to English as they see it as sufficient in Berlin? Do they not know how to get access to the right classes? I think its essential to realise that even though there are 1.2 billion people worldwide who are learning English and could probably even hold a conversation, it completely prevents you from fully integrating and understanding the culture of the country you’re living in. Think of all the phrases / words that are simply untranslatable. The
10 Reasons to learn German in Berlin
1. To be understood better
2. To understand Germans better
3. To be more included and integrated
4. To use the creative side of your brain
5. To respect the locals and their culture (often receiving more respect in return)
6. To increase your employability and job opportunities alongide other skills
7. To become a secret linguist
8. To challenge yourself
9. To be able to think in different language other than your own
10. To feel FREE
All in all, German is a tough language for many reasons. Whilst German pronunciation can be harder for English or French natives, overall, German can be easier for Dutch or Norwegians to grasp, for example. Within latin-based languages, you’ll notice similarities in verbs such as in Spanish and French, the same goes for German and Dutch. However, even Germans do not always use the correct cases or tenses, so it can be a relief to know that even they struggle with it. There are many more advantages than disadvantages, let’s just put it that way.