Deutsch Akademy: the best choice for learning

Learning in Deutsch Academy

In my previous entry on this topic, I shared with you that I am very happy learning German language in Deutsch Academy. Today I want to get into more details about. I had two levels so far: A2.1 and A2.2 in two months April and May. In each we had different teacher and different classmates. At first I was bit stressed but not after long I realised that changing the context is always helpful! My contact with two different teachers gave me wider perspective and now I am really thankful that I met them both. Claudia and Vera, if you reading this: THANK YOU ladies, you rock it!

A2 level is very important and my advice to everyone is not to miss it and jump in B level. The fundament of German is definitely in A level!

Menschen book

Our Deutsch book and workbook is Menschen. I had A1 level back in Bulgaria with the same one and I really like it! Pair of books for each level costs 20 euro and you can buy it from the office right before the course beginning. Menschen is well developed and modern system for language learning. Every lesson has different topic, words and grammar. The vocabulary consist of great everyday use words, verbs and constructions.

Even I’m grown up, I’m really happy to learn with pictures and Menschen books are full of funny illustrations which are very helpful in better memorising. After every three lessons we had 45 minutes test to recap the knowledge. The test is divided in 3 parts: words, structure and communication. The same evaluation system is in the tests in workbook. If you have learned well the material then the test is not a problem at all. 🙂 Unfortunately one month is not enough to do ALL the exercises, but that’s also fine. I think is very useful for every student to do his/her own recap of the level.

34th Donauinselfest

Europe’s biggest free open-air festival took place last weekend on the Donauinsel. International and domestic stars were creating a real party atmosphere for 3 days on 11 different stages. Different kind of music, sport, children- and family programs were also available to make sure no one is bored.
The festival had all together 2.8 million visitors (which is incredible, the city only has 1.84 million inhabitants!), and offered more, than 600 hours live program for the people.

One of the biggest hit was a Falco tribute. Falco was a Viennese singer, the first one who became popular and famous in America while singing in German. He was a special talent who died unexpectedly and too young. He had a legendary concert here in 1993, and it was re-enacted with the original band.

I visited the festival on Saturday evening with my husband. We wanted to go already in the afternoon, but the heat was incredible. It was very well organized. The drinks weren’t overpriced, we paid 5 Euro for a beer, which is acceptable in a Festival. We also had to pay 1 Euro for the plastic cups but we got it back when we took the cups back. This is a great idea, this way people don’t throw the glasses away and it is easier to keep the festival area clean.

We saw Mando Diao which is a Swedish rock band. I really like their music but they don’t make a very big show live. Then, we just joined to a random retro party with old Austrian songs what people were singing loudly with the singers 🙂

Going home was a little bit difficult because they didn’t let the subway overcrowded (It was running every 2-3 minutes). We had to wait in line a little bit but then we had a comfortable and safe way home.


Weekend Tip – Grüner See

Vienna is a wonderful city but sometimes we just need to get rid of all the people and go out in the nature. Austria is an especially beautiful country with well preserved and clean nature and breathtaking mountains. Well, let’s combine the natural treasures and the mountains – let’s go to Grüner See!

It is a small lake in Styria, surrounded by gorgeous mountains and lust forests. The name originated because of its vivid emerald-green color. The crystal clear water comes from the snow melt from the karst mountains and it’s really cold, only 6-7 °C. During the winter, the lake shrinks (it already starts in July), and the surrounding are is used as a county park.
It reaches it’s utmost beauty in May – June, when it is the deepest, about 12 meters.

It was very popular amongst divers but now, to protect the sensitive environment, it is not allowed anymore. For swimming it would be too cold anyway.

It is a 2.5 hours drive from Vienna. There is a short walk from the parking spot, then you can go around the lake on a well maintained path. It is also called as “the Caribbean in Austria”, because of the stunning green color of the water. A lot of Americans visit it, because some say that this lake is even nicer than Lake Tahoe, in Nevada. (Well, my husband told it and he is from Styria 🙂 ).
But judge it on your own, it really worth to visit 🙂



Learning German on a Daily Basis

I really liked today’s class. We were learning about writing complain letters. As we order more and more things online, this can be a very important lesson 🙂 It also shows how to write a formal letter to a company or to an Authority.
DeutschAkademie gives us relevant information every day, it prepares us to be independent outside the class.

Actually this is what motivates me to learn every single day and practice in the weekends. To be independent. To be able to read articles, news, watch a movie or do a simple Google search in German. There are a few series in the TV in Viennese dialect. I would get closer to the famous Austrian humor by watching it. I would like to read books or stories which are only available in German.

Our teacher at the course in wonderful. She explains everything so clearly that it makes us understand the difficult grammar rules easier. She is also patient. Sometimes we ask the same questions all over again and she still answers and want to make sure we got it.

There are only 12 students in the class which makes an atmosphere where it is easier to learn. We practice and play grammar games a lot, it is good, because we use immediately what we have learned.

Our Class

Vienna is an international city, and you can see this in the Deutschkurs, too. People are from Romania, Iran, Indonesia, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Ukraine and Hungary (me). Different cultures and habits meet every day. Last month there was a woman from Tanzania. I love to hear the stories from all over the world like what their motivation is, how their hometown is or how they met their loved one.

People are studying at the university, writing their PhD, or just trying to find a better job. German is not an easy language and takes hard work to improve.

This is the second week of the course, it started a week later, but at least we had some time to go over everything again. At B1.1 we practice and talk even more, German started to become the part of our lives. I don’t use English anymore in the city and that makes me feel more confident. Though last time we went to a spa the waiter in the restaurant didn’t understand my “school German” so I had to ask for help 🙂

Moving to B1. First thoughts!

Finally, this week, I made the big jump of moving from beginner level German classes (A1, A2) to middle level and I think its been an interesting change and one that must be shared with future students who will be making the same transition in due course. After all, it always helps to know the experience of people who have taken or are taking the same journey as you are! Additionally,it would also give me a chance to fondly remember the amazing time I had in the beginner courses at Deutsch Academy Wien!

Hard work ahead!

First of all, B1 does announce itself in with big bold headlines! The books are feel different and structured quite differently. The words we learn are noticeably longer (its German after all!) and more abstract, so cute cartoonish pictures to explain words are largely done away with. Instructors help you with the transition of course, but the message is clear – its a bit more serious now! Themes get more sophisticated and classes are more packed and some of us have to spend our break time going over new words that are not that easy to comprehend. Instructors also engage students assuming a certain comfort level in spoken and written Deutsch, so its quite a different ball game. Its generally the students who have to be more animated to get across to the teacher now!

All that being said, I really must mention the excellent coaching that we received at Deutsch Academy in the earlier levels as its the main reason for us being able to keep up with the demanding course work. I can definitely appreciate the effort that teachers spent drilling in basic concepts and lexicon into our brains, now that we have to rely on it so much for further progress. In many ways, B1 builds on top of concepts learnt in earlier courses and cements them further, so having strong basics matters more than ever. A big, heartfelt thanks to my instructors and my fellow students at the Zieglergasse location for all the help they extended to me over the past couple of months! I am grateful for it now more than ever!


Together is the way forward with a new language

I know you are thinking that the heading for the article looks like the slogan for Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign and that does not exactly bode well for someone looking for an interesting and informative read. However, in the context of learning Deutsch, I think being a part of a diverse class has many benefits and wanted to make it the topic of this write up.

While having a bunch of interesting chaps from different cultures bumble their way through the arduous maze of picking up a foreign language with its many well concealed traps is a proven goldmine for British comedies, it is also a very good idea to be a part of a multicultural group when you are learning a new language.

Currently, in our class, we have people from four continents and over nine countries. All the diversity helps add to the richness of the classroom experience. We have students who are for example stronger with their German vocabulary than in pronunciation and vice versa. Its common to see such pairs help each other out with the course work. These different backgrounds also help in bringing different perspectives to the proceedings.

I do not want to peddle stereotypes, but I have noticed that people with more exposure to Deutsch (live closer to OSD) are better at the pronunciation, while people from outside Europe generally do better with the grammatical rules (similar to seeing non native english users do better than native speakers in the GMAT English section). This becomes a great aid for teachers as they mixing people up in groups for activities and see students help each other and learn at the same time (teaching something cements the concepts in your head as well). So, yes, being a part of a diverse class helps everyone learn better! Share your take on the topic in the comments section below!

Some great things about studying at Deutsch Academy

In my third month of studying at Deutsch Academy, I thought it would be a good idea to pen down why its a great place to learn the language. Its obviously a great choice for students because of the brilliant teachers and its convenient locations, which helps us save time on the commute and go out for a quick bite in the break time! However, there are many small things about the pedagogy and the time we spend here that makes studying here both enjoyable and rewarding. Here is my take on what makes the Deutsch Academy experience excellent!

A game makes things more fun!

  1. Use of well designed activities: The instructors at the academy try to incorporate a variety of activities and games to help us practice new concepts and grammatical constructs. Students generally have to work in groups to solve a puzzle or to play a game that incorporates new words or sentence completion rules. The games make classes more interesting and add variety to the proceedings, while giving you the all important practice.
  2. Practical, flexible schedule: Personally to me, the 4 days a week, 3 hours a day schedule is perfect for someone looking to learn a new language. The classes are sufficiently long to do justice to topics, at the same time we are not overloaded with information. We also get 3 day weekends to plan some out of town activities to enjoy the great tourist locations close by.
  3. Helpful, friendly office staff: Office staff at Deutsch Academy are really helpful towards the students and ensure that they do their best to help us with our issues. Be it with accommodating delays in making payments against a seat reservation or helping you decide which studies level would suite you best, you will see that the staff will go out of their way to ensure that you get the best advice and flexibility possible.
  4. A simple, fun environment: One of the things I absolutely adore about DA is the simple layout that greets the students. There are no busts of Sigmund Freud or Bismark, or wall hangings with odious, patronizing quotes on how learning foreign languages makes the world a more beautiful and safe place for our children. What you get instead are clean, uncluttered, well lit rooms with simplistic, yet comfortable furniture that helps us focus on whats happening in the class.

Hope you enjoyed reading the article! Comments welcome!

My improvements in German

Hi Everyone!

I have wanted to be able to speak German for so long. English, French and German are considered as three official languages of the European Union. Moreover, it means that this language gives me a chance to communicate with more than 100 million people! 🙂

Prior to my arrival to Vienna, I have been studying German language a little bit, especially its grammar. However, I suffered from a lack of vocabulary and speaking practice. I understand a lot, but some barrier appears when it is necessary to say something. So, several days ago I finished A2.1 level, and I strongly increased my vocabulary, and through the practice became less afraid of speaking. I am very pleased with useful topics provided in the textbook and its listening comprehension. Moreover, convinient location and reasonable price gave my learning more advantages and pleasure. I was really lucky with the group, my classmates were cheerful and sociable. Our teacher Jacob was always willing to help and explain the incomprehensible or missing material in German, which is much important for understanding. Without any doubts, I will come back to the courses on March to improve my German skills.

How is it possible to learn German and not be distracted by such an incredible view from the window?

Some thoughts about German language: I like that German words are written as they are heard, you just need to know the combinations of some letters. Alsoб I did not have to teach the alphabet, as it has the same Latin origin which is commonly known.

Best Wishes,