April 24, 2015, by Rachel Bainbridge

It’s up to you how much German you speak

Having arrived in Germany, I thought that I would be speaking German 100% of the time, however that turned out not to be the case. Being new in this country I think it’s only human nature to mainly communicate with people from your own culture or with people that are in the same position as you. Whether you want to or not, being an international student means that you will mainly get to know other international students, most of whom are ERASMUS students. Since people come from different countries, the main language that they tend to speak is English, because usually the level of German isn’t that great, and it takes a long time to articulate your thoughts. Saying that, however, I have found that it’s up to you how much German you speak. Also in Jena, there are some of the courses are taught in English, this means that some of the students won’t know a single word of German, with whom you will be forced to speak English (or their native language), but I have found that there are still plenty of opportunities to speak and improve your German.

First of all I think in all cities, there are Stammtischs that are available, where you can go specifically to speak German, as well as your own language. Furthermore, you can always try to speak German at home, even if your flatmates try to make you speak English, so they can practice their language skills, don’t give in, and insist on speaking German.  I have found that this has been the main help with my German, as this is the most effective way of learning and practicing vocabulary as some words you may know, but unless you start using them they’re no use to you. Also having all lectures and seminars in German, helps improve your listening skills, and preparing for exams and seminars, helps with reading comprehension, and improves your vocabulary. In addition there are plenty of extra language courses that you can participate in, some from the university as well as independent ones.


Posted in Language acquisition