Author Archives: Shan Mahmood

At the end of A1.2 level

Finally, today was my last day at the course level of A1.2 and I am quite happy with my progress. If you are wondering what the main targets of this level are, then from my personal experience I would say that it’s the basic grammar. By now I know all the 4 cases of the language, Nominativ, Akkusativ, Dativ and Genetiv, how the articles changes in the sentence, though there is no concreate reason behind the articles but by now I have an idea of using which article for different word. As I already pointed out in my last blog post, that you do not only learn inside class but it’s the efforts you put. Classes here help you in all manner especially if you have a question disturbing you then this is the place where you can get the answer for that specific problem. But questions do not come from nowhere; it needs extra efforts outside the class room. For me, I do lots of Youtube. I watch different videos which help me further in improving my knowledge but also it sometimes gives me a question for which I cannot find an answer outside the course classroom. Also, this level has improved my pronunciation and it shows you what is pronounced as what. One needs to be highly ambitious if expecting to speak by the end of A1.2 but in general it helps teaches you the most important and elementary roots required for a good German grip.  Let’s see how I progress, and at which level I switch the language of my blog from English to German. Until then I wish you all the very good and bis bald.

Now its time for some concert 😉


Switch the language of your free time activities

I believe all of us here have a handy (mobile/cellphone). Have you ever wondered of changing the language of your handy device to German language (if it is not yet in German language)? Though I am still at the elementary level of German language but what I try to do is switch the language of all the mediums or activities into German language. Don’t be afraid of making a mess or something, because this will only help you in a positive manner. We all have some activities in our free time, may be browsing, youtube, facebook, or something. Why not to start using such social mediums in the language we are trying to learn? I am an Iphone user, and I am not afraid of changing the language of my cellphone because I know all the functions and way to use each feature regardless of its language. So how does it help me? Let’s suppose I want to use the maps on my handy, in English I know how it is called and I know its icon, but since I switched it German language then I automatically I learned that the application of Map is called as Karten. These small changes and ways contribute significantly in the knowledge. Also, since I have switched the keyboard to German standard from QWERTY standard, now I am adjusted with the new standard. I must say that now I find it bit problematic with qwerty keyboard because I am so use to the later standard that I always type “Y” instead of “Z” and vice versa. So that’s a small piece of useful advice for beginners

Do not worry if you want to party… they do promote in English also 😉


Class participation

Once you plan to learn German you have to be really motivated and concentrated every time. It may be not as difficult for some to learn, but in general it is not an easy process to get a grip over the language. But there is a German saying “Ohne Fleiß kein Preis” which means that without hard work you do not get a smooth way. Now as I said earlier that one needs to be motivated and concentrated, this is really important. I have seen few who think that just by getting enrolled in the institute and sitting in class would automatically make you learn the new language. It does not work like this, at least not with me. There are few things which have helped me along with the classes at DeutschAkademie, that’s trying to speak every time. As a normal human behavior, one is embarrassed or shy of speaking until fully confident. That’s normal. What you can do is speak out in deutsch kurs class because this is where all your classmates are almost same level as you. Our teacher always reminds us in class when he hear us speaking or talking in English that we are here to learn German and not English, and that we have paid to learn German not for talking with friends in English J. It really helps and built confidence when you try to speak in class with your classmates or teacher. Try to talk on different matter out of the course. So you learn not only the book knowledge but also the practical knowledge of German language.


Wish you a white Christmas




Looking for accommodation!!!

Big cities in Europe have one thing in common and that’s the difficulty in getting the accommodation. Same applies for Vienna. Though it is not as tough as Munich or Paris, but it is similar. Being a student or one with a budget constraint, it can be really time consuming procedure. In the second quarter for 2015, when I planned to move to Vienna, I was lucky to find a WG (shared house/flat in which one have a private room) in a week. But usually I heard that it can take longer time. I believe the best way to avoid disappointment is be alert and connected online. There are some good websites where you can search for advertisements with your specific preference and make alerts too. For me, facebook was quite helpful. There are facebook groups (also for English speakers) where there are frequent updates for all kind of accommodation, though the most are for WG’s. If budget is not a hurdle then you can also opt for agents who normally charge a fee to the tenant too. From a student perspective, I would recommend the following features to consider before you finalize a WG; price, flatmates, in-house facilities, furnished place, area/district, transport network in the area, grocery convenience and the contract terms and condition. So if you are planning to move to Vienna and looking for a place, the first advice would be to join the groups over facebook. Best districts for me are 5 till 9. All the best

Above all you need a good observation to find a place ))


Public transport in Vienna

Hello all… Today I would like to talk about the local transport system in Vienna. Personally, I believe that the transportation network in this city is nice designed. It consists of all the mediums which includes underground, over ground, trams, buses and taxis. If you are coming to Vienna for a longer period, let’s suppose at least a year or so, I would suggest you make a yearly card with which it will cost you around 1 euro per day to use any transportation medium any time. It is considered really nice price. Otherwise there are different options available too. Like tourist card, monthly, weekly, 3 days, 1 day or one time use tickets. If your friend or loved ones are visiting you during your stay in Vienna, they can go for the latter option. The most amazing feature of the local transport system is it works whole night over weekends which include underground trains and buses. Though it does not run as frequent as during the day, but still it’s really convenient. Coming towards the yearly card, I like it because you can take bicycle along with you in the underground or S-bahn (over ground) trains with you, which is restricted for all other ticket options. Also, there are few apps which show you the accurate travel schedule and other necessary information required specially by the new comers. So if you plan to stay here for long period, the most recommended commute manner is public transport and it will be economical if you opt for yearly card.



Cuisine of your choice!!!

Hey guys if you still not in Vienna, and wondering if you gonna miss your home food once you are here then I would ask you to stop worrying. It’s a city where you can apply the rule of “you name it and you will get it”. Coming from Pakistan, it is not that difficult for me to find my home food in any part of the world because our cuisine is similar to Indian cuisine. If you ask me to point one difference between the two cuisine, then I would say that my cuisine have the same dish but with meat. So being in Vienna you have lot of variety of food, cuisines such as Russian, Greek, Arabic, Persian etc are all here. So today, I was craving to munch some of my traditional food, and I visited a nice cozy student friendly restaurant near the main university in ninth district. It has a very cool concept of “eat as much as you can, and pay whatever you feel like”. Exactly! This is what it makes the place student friendly. Thus, if you are here as a backpacker, as a student or just a tourist, you have the option to get the food which ever you crave for. As many does consider the point of convenience (no matter if its food, shopping or what so ever) before moving to another place. I had the same concern, but now I can happily say that I have no reason to not like this place.  🙂




Journey from Vienna to Innsbruck

In my last post I recommended Budapest and Bratislava for a short visit around Christmas period. But in case you have already been to these cities and would like to try something new and Austrian, then let me start with the things you can do inside Austria. If you want to travel in winter holidays, then Tirol is ranked as one of the top region in Austria for winter tourism. The biggest city of Tirol is Innsbruck. The fast train (Railjet) takes around 5 and a half hour from Vienna to reach Innsbruck. Surrounded with mountains, it’s a beautiful small (in comparison with Vienna) yet big city which offers you almost all the taste of life. Of you are into winter sports, you can find really cool places to experience it. The city center is very near to the central station. Like, it takes 15 minutes by walk to reach the center. So if you are planning something for New Year ’s Eve and want to go outside Vienna but remain in Austria, my first preference would be Innsbruck. There is a private party in Innsbruck for New Year’s celebration for which one should book the ticket in advance. In here, you can enjoy the city’s firework from the top of the mountain. The ticket includes the lift both ways. Hope that makes your decision a bit easier (if you are planning for 31st December) ;). But anyhow, if you are in Vienna for a half year or so, it’s really worth paying a visit to the heart of Tirol.

Near by Innsbruck ))


Things to do near by Vienna

As winter is entering Vienna, I would like to tell you guys about what you can do in your winter holidays break. As you may know, Vienna is included in the list of three nearest capital cities in the world. Yes that’s right, Vienna in Austria, Bratislava in Slovakia and Budapest in Hungary, are the 3 capital cities which are nearest to each other. So if you are in Vienna and have some free time you can reach out the mentioned cities in a very convenient manner. You have option of either going by train, rent a car or carpooling. Being a backpacker, I prefer carpooling as it is the cheapest medium to do so. As you have Christmas and newyear’s coming around this time, I consider this as the right time for short trips. You can visit the neighboring capital cities for couple of days or more. There are nice (hopefully white) Christmas markets around the cities. The best part of visiting Christmas market in Budapest is you can try the real tasty Langos. That’s the specialty from the region. Though you can find really awesome Langos in Christmas markets around Vienna too, but the feeling or trying the food from the place of its origin gives you more satisfaction and joy. I would definitely recommend you to visit these cities at around Christmas time for a short trip. But for New Year ’s Eve celebration, my first preference would be Vienna, followed by Budapest and Bratislava. Hope that was useful for you 😉


Basic skills are necessary…

Hello y’all. I believe if you guys are following my post or reading any post here, then you are interested in learning German. My suggestion for you is simple, go for it. If you are planning to move to Vienna or any other city in German speaking country then you have to learn the local language. No matter you move to Vienna or Berlin. No matter if you heard that these cities are quite international and English can work. But believe me guys, the local language will give you an edge. Without the German language you will always feel left out. For me, Vienna is a cool place to learn German. I am quite flexible with it. Though, I want to point out that Vienna is a very international city. I heard somewhere that Vienna consist of 48% of internationals (yes the one from Germany is also counted) but isn’t that quite awesome, people coming from different background and all living in one of the top city in the world. So as I said I am quite flexible, I meant that because the city is much diversified, I can be free with the usage of my German language skills. If I go somewhere let’s say a restaurant, and I am not understanding the menu or how to order then I am free to use English (most of the time), it’s because of the diversity. Almost, in all the corner of the city you can alternate the language with English. Which seems quite good, but I would say it bounds you in a barrier. You yourself will feel left out. So my suggestion is if you are planning to move to Austria, then the first thing you must do is get the basic German language skills. It’s challenging but is matter of time.



German grammar is not that difficult!!

Monday!!! Exactly, it is Monday today (please ignore my blog post time, as I write it in my spare time and upload it when I am online). The weekend was full of fun and excitement. I wrote in my last blog about the hiking in Vienna on Sunday. In case you missed it, you can always check it out. Starting a week is always a challenge. But I am motivated, because every day I feel like I am getting a step closure to speak German. I am learning quite smoothly. At least now I know the four cases in German language. It seems difficult, but believe me once you understand how it works, it seems quite fun. Exactly FUN!!! Why am I emphasizing on this is because it is some kind of puzzle solving. Like everything depends on the article (der die das). So you gotta make sure you know the articles or the gender of the word, otherwise the sentence would sound funny. Though, I have not yet gripped over the articles, but that’s the thing one learns with the time. While making the sentence or solving an exercise, once I realize the article then it is quite interesting to build the sentence. You have to think the case (Nominative, Akkusativ, Genativ or Dativ) and then work the sentence accordingly. At least, I find it quite interesting. I would say it is not difficult, but challenging. So I would say I am progressing quite well, slowly and steadily. That’s how the turtle won the race against rabbit 😉 In case, you need a suggestion for the book for beginner’s level, I recommend you the book in the picture.


Sunday Funday

Sunday spent in the outskirts of Vienna. By chance I was recommended a nice hiking way starting from Seestadt in 22nd district up to Gerasdorf (which is like in the outskirts of Vienna). The weather was perfect, trial was not difficult and was flat, and a great view made my Sunday the way it was meant to be. As I am really fond of hiking, I was looking for some hike trips in Vienna, and to my amaze I found that there exist lots of communities which are concentrated in different activities in Vienna. I joined one through social media and got to know about this hike trip. We were like a group of 15 and quite international. So it was a nice experience. It’s good to join if you are new here, not have lots of friends, if you want to have a diversified socializing group or simply just for the activity. Such activities and people give the real life to the city. At the end of the hike, we visited a restaurant just outside the train station of Gerasdorf, which serves typical Austrian cuisine. Though I did not opt for Wiener Schintzel because I have already quite a few times before and for a change I had Cordon Blue. The portion was big as anything. There were aluminum foils already on the table and before the food was served, I was wondering why on the earth would a restaurant forget an aluminum foil on the customer table. But once we were served the meal, it did not take us a second to realize the purpose of the foil. The big portion was the reason. If one cannot complete so does not need to waste but pack and take it home. To sum it up, it was a refreshing Sunday and I am all motivated for Monday. In case you are wondering what my meal looked like, I am posting the picture ;). Enjoy