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Progress update on learning German

Learning a new language has never been easy. It has a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to achieve the goal of being fluent like a native speaker. My entire childhood was dedicated to learning English, and it’s been a long journey with ups and downs. There have been times when I’ve wanted to give up because I didn’t feel like I was making any progress, the level was too challenging, or my classmates were so good that I didn’t think I could keep up with the pace. But I persisted because I knew mastering a new language is the ticket opening up the world and create connections for me. Today, people are so talent that they manage to not only being bilingual but also multilingual and it definitely makes us stand out and have a better shot in the career. I began studying German in high school because my father speaks German, so I wanted to continue the family tradition.

I was fortunate to have a passionate teacher, who I still keep in touch with him these days, which was dedicated to teaching us the language. He made German much easier and more interesting for me when I was starting out. Fast forward to when I was accepted to Drexel. I continued attending German classes since I wanted to use my German as much as possible. Practicing German is a part of why I chose Bremen because I can be surrounded by native speakers.

This term, I’m taking a B1 level course involving a lot of speaking and new vocabulary. I’m not a vocabulary person because I could never sit down and memorize all the words. That’s the utmost tedious work. Instead, I would make examples with them. I recalled all the tricks and tips I used for English, and one of the tricks was making sentences. I remembered I would make the most nonsense and absurd sentence just to practice with the words. I think it works well for me, especially when I can come up with good jokes. And thankfully, German and English have a lot of similar words, so it’s a relief for me that I don’t need to learn too many new terms. 

Speaking is something I enjoy the most when learning English, but it turned out to be a pain in German. German words are sometimes hard to pronounce, and the sentence structure is different. Until now, I’m still not confident in speaking, but I can at least have brief chats about going grocery shopping or college studies. Though it’s a long way to sound like a native speaker, I think I’m getting there.

My listening skill is also improving. The German usually speaks very fast, and it’s a shock to me how fast they talk daily, but if I pay attention, I can catch some keywords here and there to know general ideas. I also like listening to train or airport announcements because they’re pretty slow and easy to hear. I think it’s a great way to train your ears. Sometimes, I would go to Youtube and watch EasyGerman. It’s a channel teaching German and the culture, and it’s short (max 10mins) so I won’t be bored. The topics are daily life, so I learned a lot from the channel when prepping my exchange term. I would definitely recommend that for those who are interested in learning German, are learning it or wanting to know more about the culture and customs.

That pretty much sums up my progress thus far, and I’m hoping that by the end of this term, I can improve a bit more of my skills. I hope you enjoy this vlog and find this helpful. Bis bald!

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.

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