Category Archives: Geschichten

Weinachtsmarkt am Hof

Yesterday I finally got to experiment going to an Austrian Weinachtsmarkt with some friends. We chose to go to the one am Hof, because we heard there are more traditional and handmade items there.

And indeed, every stand had neatly crafted items, such as Christmas decorations for the house, for the tree or all sorts of gift ideas for your friends and loved ones. I particularly liked the homemade jewelry stand (I am really into them in general) and this stand that sold handmade stars, which light up.

It was a nice, cold but memorable evening. We had some Glühwein to heat up, and enjoyed some caramelized almonds, with rum flavor on the streets of Vienna.

Looking forward to discovering new Weinachsmarkts, which is your favorite one? Tell me in the comments below.

Come December I have enrolled in a Conversation class here at Deutschakademie and I am going to take a little break from writing on the blog, since the holidays are coming and all. But hopefully I’ll return in January with impressions from the C1 class.

‘Til then I wish you all Happy holidaysFrohe Weinachten! and see you soon.

 

Final recommendations, closing ceremonials and celebrations

As I mentioned in the last blog post, yesterday was the final day of class. We completed the B2.2 class and, as usual, at the end we received documentation of attendance, as well as some useful tips, for learning German from now on.

Our teacher recommended a comprehensive Grammar book, called Lehr-und Übungsbuch der deutschen Grammatik, from Hueber, written by Dreyer & Schmitt. I got a chance to flip through it and it talks about every part of speech and how it is used in the German language. Very useful if you like your information all structured and easy to find.

Afterwards we took a picture together, to commemorate the occasion and went out to celebrate to Bier & Biereli, a very quaint beer-oriented bar, just 50 meters away from the Deutsch Akademie. Here we toasted, exchanged stories and found ways to keep in touch in a very cool setting, with hundreds and hundreds of beer cans on the walls, as well as the “Bier ist gesund” motto by the bar. A very fun and likeable group that I hope I’ll run into in future Deutsch Akademie classes.

What does Art mean?

Yesterday in class we started with a new topic: Art. The teacher asked us to bring a photo of something we consider a piece of art and to explain why that is artistic to us. Some of my colleagues brought pictures of known pieces of art, such as paintings or statues, while others have brought self made art, pictures that had a special significance to them, or that captured a moment which made them feel a certain memorable way.

Afterwards, we were given a challenge: to write on a postit, in our own words, what art means to each of us. Then we got up and placed the post-it somewhere in the class, so that everybody could walk around and read the other’s interpretations.

I thoroughly enjoyed everyone’s perspective on the subject and it was a fun exercise to do. To conclude, I’ll leave you with some of my classmate’s interpretations:

Guessing Game – Konjunktiv II

Thursday in class we did a fun little game, which I have to tell you about. Our teacher wrapped up something small and invited us to feel it in our hands, and pass it from one person to the other. We all had post-its, on which we could write what we think it is, using Konjunktiv II, for expressing wishes and unreal things. It was a very fun way of putting the grammar into practice!

Passing it along from hand to hand, it finally got to me and it took me a minute to try and make out the shape of the object. We were also given a tip: it has something to do with the theme we were about to begin (Fit für die Prüfung).

This is what I wrote on my postit:

Other guesses were a variety of sweets, and the winner, meaning the person who guessed it right said: Glückschwein. As I learned, it is a New Year symbol here in Austria, gifted from one person to another, in order to wish them Good luck in the upcoming year.

Freundschaft schließen

One of the things I knew I was leaving behind when moving to a new city was my friends group. People I’ve been hanging out for years, meeting almost every day and celebrating milestones with, would no longer be by my side. It was a bit unfamiliar, because I wasn’t sure what I’d find here, how the people would be and so on and I think this is something every person moving to a new country can relate to.

I think I was lucky in that sense though, and quite soon after I moved to Vienna. I wouldn’t call myself an extrovert or someone that makes friends very easily. However, I know that hobbies or extra-curricular activities are a great ground for bringing people together, especially in a place like Deutschakademie, which emphasizes friendly attitudes and provides socializing opportunities every month as well.

As such, I went to the first Stammtish event, where I got to know my colleagues better. Some of us aren’t in the same class anymore, but we do meet once in a while to catch up and have fun. It’s exciting because we all come from different countries and have different backgrounds and we get to learn a lot from each other. For instance, this is the last meeting at a Mexican Restaurant, introduced by one colleague, where we are enjoying some Nachos and a nice beer together. If you are curious about the Local, it is called Tin Tan, and can be found near the City Hall (Rathaus).

On the same topic, yesterday I found out that I was making a mistake in German. You don’t say ‘Freunde machen’, but ‘sich befreunden‘ or Freundschaft schließen‘ or even ‘Freunde finden‘. Hope that helps!

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Sprechen, sprechen, sprechen

The number one thing to improve in a new country is the language spoken there. It helps you from everyday situations, from the supermarket, or the doctor’s office, or making social contacts and friends, to having better job prospects and so on. It’s a crucial aspect of living in Vienna, as I’m sure everyone reading this blog is aware of, and it’s what we’re all working so hard toward – fitting in here, whether we are just staying for a few months, or wanting to make a life here.

When I hear stories of people that have moved in a foreign country, and have been living them for 5-10-20 years without learning the language, I am a bit amazed. It feels, to me, a bit like living in a bubble and talking only your native language, without exposing yourself to all the wonderful new things a new culture has to offer, particularly the Viennese culture, here in question.

For me, Deutschakademie has been wonderful, because it has given me the first environment and the courage to talk – flawed, and very possibly with many mistakes – but talk nonetheless. Even though rationally I knew this was a better alternative than not talking, I felt very self-conscious, especially when it came to talking with native speakers. But little by little, I grew more confident, I learned to accept that unless I’m willing to make mistakes while speaking, I’m never going to overcome them. And I think it’s how many of the students here feel as well.

Yesterday I managed to capture a moment between two colleagues, conversing in German during the break. You can see even from the picture that they were very engaged, and their faces lit up as they found common ground to talk about. I thought to myself how nice it is that speaking is able to bring people together like that, and how much easier it is to learn German in a German speaking country, as opposed to a class done back in my hometown, for instance, which felt more like a hobby.

New class, new opportunities!

Yesterday was the first day of B2.2 class. Same fuss on the corridors, same fresh faces everywhere, same helpful people by the Information Office. New colleagues in the class, most of which have already done another Deutschakademie class, some new altogether, but the group made me a good impression from the first day.

I could tell, by the way they introduced themselves, and how we talked to one another that first day, that their speaking level is generally a bit higher than mine, which makes me happy because it means I have much to learn from them.

We did some get-to-know you games, all very fun and interactive, and then got a short test, to reiterate some of the things we should know by now. Then we played a round of BINGO, which means we got a sheet of paper with questions on it, which we had to ask the others, and when all the questions were answered you shouted ‘BINGO’ and won the game.

I have to say, I am excited to see what this class brings!

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Tips for learning – the post-it method

A few weeks ago, during a class at DeutschAkademie, our teacher gave us a tip for learning new words. This is a pretty interactive and fun way to do it, and I thought I’d share it with all of you.

I think it’s also called the Sherlock Holmes Method. Here it goes: you write the new words on post-its, and then, like a major detective, you start spreading out through the classroom (or house, works just as well at home).

You try to make associations, either with the meaning of the word and the nearby objects, or just to locate it within the room and to make yourself a mind-map with which word goes where. At start, I’d recommend you start with a few words, maybe five, but as you progress, you can up the number and have your room eventually covered in post-its. Ok, kidding, but you got the jest.

So, for example, the word ‘Strom’ could go next to the electrical outlet, or ‘Umweltproblem’ could go next to a map of the globe. I put up ‘Verkehr’ next to a squibbly painting, because that’s how I associated it in my mind. Does it make sense to you? Give it a try the next time you have a long list of vocabulary words to learn, which you can break down in manageable bits and go through them 5-10 at a time. Good luck!

Wiener Würstelstands

Today I’m gonna talk about a quite typical and beloved Viennese landmark – these Wiener Würstelstands that seem to be everywhere throughout the city. Normally, they’re found in high-key spots throughout the city (see, for instance, the one in the photo near the Wiener Staadsoper) and are very popular when it comes to grabbing a bite on the go, a quick snack in between classes and some are even open late into the night – the go-to food option for after a night clubbing.

What types of sausages can you find throughout the city? A LOT!
There’s Frankfurter, Debreziner, Käsekrainer, huge Käsekrainer, Bratwurst and Currywurst, Waldviertler, Käsekrainer, Frankfurter, Burenwurst, a spicy Burenwurst and Waldviertler, Debreziner to go with bread or a roll or in a Hot Dog. There is also a wide variety of sauces to go with them, sometimes even including soy or vegetable sausages for vegetarians.

Try not to be overwhelmed by the different options out there, and instead try out as many as you can, over time, and determine which specialty appeals to you more. I’m sure that you can end up saying ‘Today I’d be more in the mood for Käsekrainer, but maybe a spicy Burenwurst is in sight for tomorrow’.

The stands typically have a selection of drinks – soft drinks, beer – to compliment your snacking experience. They say you can’t visit Vienna without trying a Würstelstand, and there’s a reason for that! So enjoy, and let us know in the comments below what you thought!

Oral presentations

At yesterday evening’s class, we had the oral presentations. This meant that each one of us has prepared a 10 minute presentation, on a medium of our choice. Most of my classmates chose to do powerpoint, although word, prezi or posters would also have been possible.

The point of this is to learn to express ourselves in German, and to make a clearly structured speech, over a topic of our choosing. I think it’s nice we get to pick the theme, because in this way we are able to speak about something we are passionate about, or that we enjoy, and share it with the class!

Yesterday we learned about Iran, Peru, Spain, Bioluminescence, Halal Food, Internet of things and other interesting topics. It was very fun to see a little bit of the world where the other class participants come from, or to learn about their hobbies and passions. And even though I am sure I made plenty of mistakes while speaking, it was a good experience, and one we all should definitely repeat as often as we can, as with each presentation we get better.

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The Vienna Stadt Oper

Right across the street from the DeutschAkademie is the Vienna Stadt Oper, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and a historical landmark.  The opera house was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstraße and as difficult as it is to believe now, it received a lot of opposition from the locals, when it was just in project, back in 1861.

The plans for the beautiful building were drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll.Its construction lasted 8 years, until 1869, and it consisted of Neo-Renaissance style by the renowned Czech architect and contractor Josef Hlávka.

The first play ever to be hosted in here was the opening performance of Don Giovanni on May 25, 1869. Don’t you just wish you could be there? This historical building has suffered some damages towards the end of World War II, when the opera was under bombardment.

Nowadays, it sits in all its glory, after being restored, and millions of guests walk through its doors every year. The tickets are usually quite expensive, but I recently found a local tip, that you can get standing tickets, starting from 3 €.

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