Category Archives: Mein Deutschkurs

Vocabulary game

This week, in class, we took part in a new vocabulary game, as a way of repeating the new words we had learned. On a sheet of paper, we were to describe two words in German on post-its, and give clues as to what they might be.

Then everyone passed the two notes over to their right neighbor, which was tasked with guessing the words. Afterwards, the two would consult among themselves, to make sure the riddle was solved.

It really was a fun and interactive way to go over newly learned words. I like it a lot that our teacher always comes up with new activities, it makes the German class all that more fun and friendly.

Group discussion – Austrian and German dialects

On Monday we had a group discussion, as a way to determine our grade for Speaking. It was a very interesting evening, and our teacher had prepared two texts beforehand, which we chose our theme from.

The discussion was about the disappearance of the Austrian dialect, in favor of a more generic German, or if it is just a transformation of the language, a normal and organic evolution. Everyone was very engaged in the discussion, and brought some really interesting questions and arguments to the table, as such the discussion which was supposed to take half an hour, extended for over an hour.

We talked about dialects, and foreigner integration, but also about language as a living part of a culture, and the importance of passing on the Austrian German to future generations. Then we extended the topic to dialects in our respective countries, how important they are and whether or not it would be easier if everyone spoke the same language. Taking it a bit further, we projected into the future, and discussed the possibility of there being only one universal language, at some point in time.

A very rich and engaging discussion, I really enjoyed being a part of it and would be very interested in joining such events in the future.

Stammtisch – monthly get-together

Yesterday was the monthly get-together event, Stammtisch, which took place at the Gangl bar, near the university campus, as it usually does. My class got there around 10 pm, since we had the evening class to finish, but you could see the people were enjoying themselves. They had made some teambuilding games, which seemed fun, it’s too bad we missed those.

Stammtisch is a good opportunity to socialize and a nice way to meet new people, especially if you are new in Vienna and don’t have many friends here. If you haven’t been to one until now, I recommend you try it for yourself. It is also a very nice exercise to speak in German in social situations. I went along with a few colleagues from the B2.2 class and our teacher, and shared some funny stories.

What experiences have you had so far with Stammtisch? Let us know in the comments below!

First test – Mistakes is how you learn

If you’re like me, around this time you will have gotten the results from the first test of the level back. Usually in the Deutschakademie there are two tests, one after the first week, and one after the third week, to assess what you have learned so far.

I’m not going to lie to you, I was a bit disappointed by the first test I ever got back, because I had made many mistakes despite learning all weekend before. However, since then I have begun to see the process differently: I’m perceiving it more like a means to quantify what you have understood, and what you need to work more on in the future.

Tests are a good way to understand how far you’ve gotten, and to determine, for instance, if you need to prepare yourself more for an official German language test. Of course, everyone wants to do good in tests, but try and look at it from this point of view, and focus on learning rather than grades. You will see how much more fun it is! Good luck!

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:

Google image translation

I want to share something here, some of you may already know it, some of you may not, it is a feature from the Google Translate App, which I find quite clever and useful. I myself have only discovered it this past week, and even though I think it’s been long present, still was excited by the discovery.

So you open Google Translate App on your phone, and right underneath the ‘Tap to enter text’ field, there are three icons: photo icon, microphone and pen. Tap the photo icon and it opens up camera mode, with which you can then direct at your book / newspaper / text in German and see the words automatically getting translated on your phone.

It is quite a nifty trick and it’s useful for me in class, when we’re reading texts and I’m interested in a quick and easy way to find out translations for the words I don’t know. Mind you, it’s not always perfect, and it’s better for single words than for contexts / sentences / phrases, but it can be a helpful tool.

Enjoy!

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!