Category Archives: Mein Deutschkurs

Coming to Vienna

Vienna is an amazing city with a huge amount of history, culture, and interesting people. It is one of the most international cities I have ever lived in and on the U-Bahn one can hear people from all over the world speaking a multitude of languages. I think a big component of the international atmosphere that Vienna embodies is the Vienna International Center, home of the United Nations.

I came to Vienna to work at the International Atomic Energy Agency, a group within the United Nations that works with Nuclear Energy. The Agency, as it is often called, is tasked with inspecting nuclear powerplants, promoting peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy, training people in safe handling of nuclear fuel, and much more. It is a truly robust and amazing organization to work for and I feel blessed to be here.

In many ways, the UN is a microcosm of Vienna. The people there are friendly, engaging, and always interested in discussing politics or the news. They have a great sense of pride for the work they do and the impact they have on the world. And above all, they love to have fun. On Fridays, the UN bar is a lively place, packed with people from all over the world talking over a beer and making plans for the weekend.

There is always a plan to see or do something new in Vienna, since so many people at the UN are new to the city. And in this way, Vienna benefits from the UN as much as the UN benefits from Vienna. Vienna gets a steady stream of people who are excited for the sights and sounds of the city, ready to be tourists in their own town and visit the beautiful palaces, museums, and concert halls that Vienna has to offer. The UN, on the other hand, can attract people from all over the world who are eager to have a chance to experience the most livable, and possibly most beautiful, city in the world. In my experience, it has been a fantastic partnership, and I am looking forward to what the next months (and hopefully years) of living in Vienna have to offer me.

First day of Class

The first day of school is always filled with mixed emotions, and my first day of Deutsche Akademie was not different. One the one hand, I was excited about all the German I would learn and the classmates I would meet. On the other hand, being in a classroom for 3 hours after working for 9 hours sounded… terrible. But as I sat down in the classroom I was immediately caught up in introducing myself to my classmates, trying to remember the names for different countries in German, and following along with the teacher as we played games to learn the words for different relatives and family members.

You can imagine my surprise when I looked up at the clock for the first time all day and I realized I had been in the class for 2 and a half hours already. The time had gone by incredibly fast and I felt comfortable saying a few things in German that I had just learned that day. The class was constantly talking in German (since it was the only language many of us had in common), and I felt completely comfortable to make mistakes when speaking because everyone else was doing the same. Best of all, I had learned all the words for family members, gotten some much needed practice for the different cases in German, and gotten to learn a bit about each of the people in my class. I had some homework exercises to reinforce what I had learned that day, but it wasn’t too much work and I was looking forward to putting what I had learned into practice.

When the class was over I realized I am actually really looking forward to the next month. Sure, giving up 12 hours of free time per week is a pretty big investment, but the time went by so quickly that I hardly even noticed it. And between the people I had met and the German I had learned, it was already well worth the time.

The Soul of the Opera

Standing regally opposite the Deutsch Akademie can be found one of the most imposing, impressive and recognisable buildings in all of Wien: indeed, it can be none other than the Wiener Staatsoper. Despite its formidable presence, strangely, it is one of those landmarks to which one all-too-readily develops a scotoma.  Passing it almost every day, I often have to remind myself to look so that I really see.

And what a sight it is to be hold.  Constructed in 1869, it is a relevant newcomer on the scene in a city as historic as Wein: nevertheless, over the interim period it has quickly made up for lost time.  Strategically located on the newly-constructed Ringstrasse, which was built over the old city fortifications, the Staatsoper was originally the Opera of the Imperial Court. Viennese through and through, it was designed by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, with the lavishly decorated interior conceived by Eduard van der Nüll and opened on May 25th 1869 in the presence of Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth.  Incredibly, popular opinion at the time held the notion that it wasn’t grand enough and therefore not fitting for the Court in Wien. This was to rapidly change however and after being devastated by bombing during the Second World War, the building had to be almost entirely reconstructed. However the show must go on, as the saying goes and go it has, hosting countless performers under the direction of Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Karl Böhm and Herbert von Karajan amongst others. The program is diverse and varied, with modern composers and old masters appearing in equal measure, so there is certainly something for everyone’s taste.

One of my favourite things about attending the Opera is that one has the opportunity to meet with a wide myriad of individuals, perhaps those with whom we would not ordinarily meet in our daily lives.  In the foyer, one encounters people from all walks of life: old and young; tall and small; those comfortable and those struggling; foreign and local alike – all in search for a little transcendent beauty to revive the senses and awaken the imagination.  Music speaks to the heart of every human person, regardless of where we come from or what culture we are rooted in. Listening to Puccini or Dvořák, Mozart or Mahler we are at home, regardless of where in the world we may find ourselves.  But don’t just read about it – simply go and experience this sublime opportunity for yourselves!

Aoífe-Maria Beglin

Why German

When I tell people back home in America that I am learning German, the first thing I inevitably here is a resounding, “Why?”. The question, of course, is completely understandable. I mean, learning a language is a huge undertaking that requires many hours and months of dedication. Plus, most young Germans and Austrians speak English very well, and I will likely never be in a situation where I absolutely have to speak German to get by. For me, however, becoming fluent in German is a necessity in its own way.

Language is one of the biggest components of human culture, and to integrate into a society demands that I speak the language. I could order a drink at a bar or ask for directions in English, and the person helping me would (probably) be able to fully understand my request. But by asking in German I feel like I belong here and I don’t stick out like a sore thumb with an overly abrasive American accent. And for me, the feeling that I belong here in Vienna as much as I do back home in America is worth all the vocabulary flashcards and grammar exercises in the world.

So sure, my friends in back home are right: learning a language is a lot of work, and I most likely won’t find myself in a life or death situation where I need to speak German. But despite all of that, I am still 100% dedicated to becoming a fluent German Speaker; maybe with the help of the Deutsch Akademie I will manage to do exactly that.

 

Erntedankfest!

The past weekend in Wien saw the celebration of the famous “Erntedankfest 2018“. Modelled upon the centuries-old autumnal tradition in Austria of giving thanks to God for a plentiful harvest and a fruitful year, the event in the heart of the city has grown to accommodate a wide myriad of vendors and craftspeople alongside those original stalwarts, the farmers and food-producers. Primarily organised by the Austrian Young Farmers organisation, the festival brought a ‘taste’ of farm-life to the big city: to demonstrate the processes involved in the agricultural world, demonstrate traditional methods of and to display the bounteous abundance of foodstuffs which are the fruits of their long-awaited labours. In addition, attendees are treated to a entertaining display of traditional Austrian culture, with floral-bedecked procession floats, brass-bands and folk-dancing galore!

With approximately 45% of the total land area given over farming, two-thirds of Austria’s farms are located in alpine pastures, which serves to illustrate the ingenuity, commitment and determination required to thrive in such challenging environments. Noted amongst European nations for a commitment to organic farming, the excellence of the produce in this small landlocked country is second-to-none and the ready availability of quality food is testimony to the nation’s numerous farmers and food-producers.

Taking a little step back from the hustle and bustle of the Erntedankfest, it must be noted that the characteristics required to live the vocation of a farmer is an unsung theme oft overlooked, yet which contains in it a powerful testimony to the fact that food is not simply produced. Rather, it is the result of hard and demanding work over time: the consideration involved in deciding which various fruits and vegetables, herbs and livestock are to be raised to maturity; the slow preparing of the land; the attentiveness required in the care of animals and crops through all conditions and difficulties; the patience needed as time goes by, so as to wait until the right time to harvest; the hard-work and long-hours necessary, required in the early hours of the morning and into the late hours of night, so as to attend all those unseen and thankless tasks. In a quiet and unassuming way, it is this continuum between the land and that which nourishes us which I find personally the most impressive: connecting the starting point in the earth, as nature’s bounties are transformed through strenuous work and time itself, with the end-result being that which graces the dinner-table. All the better then to meet the people who care for other persons in a direct and very elemental way, as they grow, raise and prepare the food which we eat. So the next time you enjoy a delicious Wiener Schnitzel or Kaspressknödel; discover a new favourite Bergkäse or variety of Wurst; bite through the crunchy exterior of a freshly-baked Kaisersemmel (perhaps with Butter and Marillenmarmelade!) or spend a relaxing evening with a glass of wine with friends, watching the sun go down in one of the many Heurigers in the surroundings of Wien, take a moment for a note of appreciation. For when we look at the food before us on our plate, that which sustains us, let us remember that it is the fruit of the labours of many hands, and may we give thanks for the quiet dignity contained within.

Mahlzeit!

Aoífe-Maria Beglin

Zdravo svima!

Moje ime je Adna I dolazim iz Bosne I Hercegovine. Trenutno radim praksu u Becu, zapravo zbog toga sam se I doselila u Bec. Studije sam zavrsila sve u Bosni i Hercegovini, u Sarajevu. Tu sam vec nekih devet mjeseci i zaljubljena sam u ovaj grad.

Sjecam se kada sam ga prvi put posjetila, jednostavno ovaj grad ima dusu. Svako ko ga posjeti uvjeri se u to. Idealan je za mlade- nudi razne sadrzaje, od zabave i partija do kulturnih dogadjaja, predivne opere i lijepih izlozbi u raznim muzejima. S druge strane, siguran je. Kada su porodice u pitanju opet ima mnogo toga da ponudi i roditeljima i djeci dok uz sve to pruza zdravu i sigurnu okolinu za vase malisane.

Bez obzira ko ste, Bec vam sigurno moze nesto ponuditi!

Do iduceg javljanja 😊
Adna

Onwards and Upwards!

The leaves are beginning to fall from the trees, the weather has turned a little cooler and gaggles of little children spilling out onto the pavement indicates a fresh new school-year has begun. It can only mean one thing: autumn has arrived in Vienna! An elegant city all year-round, the autumnal colours only seem to magnify the architectural beauty of the city-scape. Rounding any corner in the Innere-Stadt brings one face-to-face with a dazzling array of facades: elaborately constructed palaces; richly embellished churches ; regally imposing coffee-houses and noble townhouses.

Yet there is much more to Wien than first meets the eye. One of my favourite pastimes whilst wandering through the city is to try to spot less obvious, subtle details, hidden as they are amongst their more-flashy neighbours.

Like the ornate stucco-work gracing the ceilings in the halls of the University of Wien, or the impossibly-high, gravity-defying spires of the Gothic Votivskirche. I like to be reminded that these little details were conceived in the mind of the architect or the artist before being brought to life: that they are both purposeless and purposeful. Purposeless because it often seems that they serve no practical function and yet purposeful, precisely because they bring beauty to the world and remind us of the great things which man is inspired to undertake.

Nature too, reveals this same pattern and is evident to behold in any of Wein’s numerous parks and green-spaces: ochre, rust and umber; emerald, crimson and gold – the leaves of the passing season wave goodbye in all their varied hues. Beauty is all around us and we only have to learn to fine-tune our vision in order to be able to notice it more and more. In a city as beautiful as Wien, one has more than ample opportunity to practice this ‘beauty-vision’. I encourage you: get out now and enjoy the crisp, autumnal air; go for a stroll along the Donaukanal; take in the fading light of the shortening evenings; enjoy a coffee with friends in one of Wien’s numerous cosy coffee-houses. It need not be anything extravagant, yet will bring you to a deeper appreciation of your new home culture – Wien!

Viel Vergnügen!

Aoífe-Maria Beglin

Celebrating one year of living in Vienna

Hi to everyone! This week I was celebrating one year since I have arrived to Vienna. I can definitely say that time flies here, especially the summer went crazy fast! I am happy to say that this year has been awesome for me, full of unique experience, fun times, great friends, studying struggles and, of course, a lot of unforgettable memories. I have fallen in love with this city and I never want to leave this place (I hope I will not). I am looking forward to seeing what the second year brings me and I am ready for surprises. 🙂 I have done a lot this year: studied in my university, worked part-time this summer, partied and had fun with my friends, travelled to other places, but mostly I am proud for starting German courses this summer. I have never thought I would love studying German so much and that I would be extremely interested and motivated to improve my knowledge of German and try to learn it as much as I can. I have tried to study it before twice (!) and it did not go anywhere, but DeutschAkademie raised the bar to completely another level and proved what kind of quality real teaching should be. I highly enjoyed studying at this school for two months and I am very excited to continue my journey by taking my third course this September, moving to level A2.1.

Usually I end all my posts with saying “More posts to come, stay tuned!” However, unfortunately, this is by now my last post in this blog and I think it is time to say goodbye and wish everyone who is reading this post success in all future undertakings, especially in learning German! 🙂 I had a blast writing posts for this great blog and I also enjoyed reading posts of other authors, which I am going to keep doing, obviously! And also, since I have already found one good friend through this blog, I thought maybe there are more people here who would like to reach out to me and discuss awesomeness of Vienna and German language goals: you can find me by my name @llemonime. Have a great autumn, you guys!

P.S.: The picture is taken in Pötzleinsdorfer Schloßpark – an awesome and very atmospheric place. I made this picture in the evening of the very first day I came to Vienna, and that is why I thought it would be very symbolic to have this picture in my last post.

Sending my warm greeting to everyone!
Best wishes to all,
Anna

Последнее занятие

Ну вот и прошло наше последнее занятие. Немного позже, чем предполагалось из-за переноса, но наконец-то уровень B1.1 остался позади.
Хотелось бы поблагодарить наших преподавательниц Anett и Claudia.Оно сделали очень много, для того чтобы наши знания немецкого улучшились, мы меньше боялись говорить и при этом делали меньше ошибок.
За это время мы выучили два новых времени: Futur I и Plusquamperfekt; познакомились наконец с последним падежом немецкого языка Genetiv; узнали, что такое Infinitiv mit zu. Ну и, конечно, выучили огромное количество новых слов. Теперь осталось не растерять полученные знания и с усердием взяться за изучение следующего уровня.

Let’s talk about shopping

Hi to everyone! Ever since I arrived in Vienna, I have been impressed with the quality of shopping in this city. Before Austria, I lived in Milan in Italy, which is a very famous fashion capital and is obviously one of the best cities to shop at. Nevertheless, while I was there, I became more and more convinced that shopping experience in Milan might not be that amazing and extraordinary if you are not very wealthy and cannot afford shopping at expensive stores with luxury brands (surely that is me – I am a student and students are always poor!). Of course, there are many nice shops there that sell Italian clothes, shoes and accessories at a reasonable price, but it is really difficult to find them. That is why most of my shopping experience in Italy was mostly going to fast-fashion stores such as Zara and Mango or nicer shops like Benetton and Sisley during the discount period.

So taking into account my existing shopping experience, I was gladly surprised how satisfying and pleasant shopping in Vienna can be! First of all, the choice of shops is extremely high – there is everything for people with different levels of income, taste and style. During the summer I enjoy going for a little shopping to Mariahilferstrasse but when it is a colder season I prefer to stay inside to I go to a large shopping mall like SCS or DonauZentrum and spend there an hour or two exploring different stores and always finding something nice. Especially I love service in shops in Vienna – the staff in stores is extremely friendly, helpful and always available if you need any help, which is a complete opposite of how it is in my country, in Russia. Also, I really love how everyone speaks English in Austria, so you never have any problems when shopping. In addition, I have discovered that shopping is a great way to improve and practice German, even if you only say very simple and short sentences, it still helps a lot!

More posts to come, stay tuned!
Best wishes to all,
Anna

Мои товарищи по изучению немецкого языка

За полгода изучения немецкого языка у меня сменилось много одногруппников. Среди них были ребята из Франции, Испании, Канады, Шотландии, Турции, Албании, Казахстана, Сербии, Украины, России, Грузии, Молдовы и Румынии. Причем как-то так получалось, что в каждой группе 2-3 человека говорили по-русски, что для меня было приятно: все-таки есть возможность пообщаться на родном языке в перерыве или после занятия. При этом были и ребята, которые не знали английского, и единственным возможным языком общения с которыми был немецкий. С одной стороны, это полезно, так как заставляет тебя больше говорить. С другой стороны, возникают проблемы, когда делаешь с ними командное задание и не можешь донести до них свою идею, особенно на первых порах, когда немецкого словарного запаса катастрофически не хватает.

С большего мои однокурсники учат немецкий скорее для себя, по работе он им не нужен. Но чувствовать себя комфортно в стране хочется: у кого-то партнер австриец, у кого-то дети ходят в австрийскую школу и хочется иметь возможность им помогать, а у кого-то на работе приветствуется знание немецкого. Возможно, это связано с тем, что у нас полуинтенсивные курсы, а те, кому без немецкого языка совсем никак, ходят на интенсивные.

Ещё одной важной характеристикой группы является число студентов, которое продолжает заниматься и переходит с тобой на следующий уровень. С уровня A2.1 на уровень A2.2 со мной и моим мужем перешло четыре человека, а с уровня A2.2 на уровень B1.1 только одна девушка. Наверное, это объясняется тем, что выучить уровень хочется целиком, а вот над необходимостью учить новый уровень уже начинаешь всерьез раздумывать, оценивать свое время и соизмерять его с необходимостью. На данный момент в моей группе продолжать планируют больше половины.