Today was the last day of my first German class. It was definitely a helpful class — I can understand and communicate more than I could before. Now it’s up to me — I have to study and practice, and I certainly get plenty of opportunities to practice.
We learned to describe time, use numbers, ask questions, introduce ourselves, ask for/interpret directions, order from a menu, spell, tell someone our phone number or address and conjugate regular verbs. At the end of class today, we had a few minutes for open questions, and I also made sure I learned how to ask “Can I pet your dog?” because Benjamin has been dying to learn how to say that.
Dan had to forgo taking a German class this summer. We couldn’t take class at the same time, because we have two kids that won’t sit through an hour of adults learning German. Both sections of the summer class were at the same time, and we figured I was a higher priority because Dan gets to spend the day speaking English and I don’t. Our plan for the fall, though, is for both of us to take class. Benjamin starts preschool next week, too, so our schedule for this fall should be pretty interesting. I want to make it a priority to get myself to a German class, though — I need to stay at least one lesson ahead of Benjamin, at least, and he has age on his side.
I started my first formal training in German today — the class is called “Survival in Vienna”, so I think it’s right for me. It’s put on by the UN, so it’s geared towards people from a variety of backgrounds, all of whom are assumed to understand English but not German. However (perhaps to mimic the immersion we’re experiencing in Vienna) the class is taught completely in German. (Yikes.)
So far, it’s great. I’ve already learned something, and the teacher is really impressive — imagine the challenge of teaching 20+ non-German speakers for an hour entirely in German. She did a great job and managed to get a ton of information across given how little we all knew. I also got to talk to other adults about something that had nothing to do with children. I think that was a first since arriving here, too.
I also can’t help but be a little relieved that Dan & I were among the more advanced German speakers in the class — probably mostly a function of the fact that the class is intended to be taken almost immediately upon arrival and we waited almost 4 months to start. (Although there were others who have been here longer.) Intellectually, I know it would be ok to enter a beginner level class as a complete beginner, but my ego appreciates not being the biggest novice in the class.
I learned how to introduce myself and others, and how to say where I’m from. All of that information was new to me. I already feel less lame — I’m no longer the person living in a country where I don’t speak the language who hasn’t even ever had any instruction in the language. I’m just the person who doesn’t speak the language, but I’m learning.