Unsere Lehrerin Marie

Already mentioned in my previous posts, I finally decided to dedicate a few lines only for her: our nice teacher Marie! Marie is the real rock star of our course. A blond skinny girl who has the power to teach us the secrets of the German language. Her main ingredient for every lecture is a big smile and a very positive attitude. Even though often our faces look so desperate while approaching some new alien concepts, she finds the way to encourage us with her positive energy. In fact, without her methods, I bet that for most of us “poor students still at level A1.2” the course would be very boring. I mean, the panic already started and we are still at the beginning. “Zu viele wörter”, too many cases to conjugate and a lot of mass panic! Fortunately Marie makes everything easier for us. Marie´s creative way of teaching makes possible to learn and have fun at the same time. Through table games, activities outdoor, team exercises and a lot of patience for our great variety of questions, I accomplished the goal to make phone calls and organize appointments in German! This is for sure only a small result. But it is the proof that the time at the course has flown away so fast that we did not even realize how many words, verbs and grammar we have learned in a very short time. And I am aware of that every day, when sentences come spontaneously to my mind and I start thinking in German.

Once I asked Marie if we are going to do a final test to evaluate our improvements at the end of the course. It sounds logical to me, otherwise how would you quantify your improvements? Marie´s answer shocked me a bit and at the beginning I could not grasp Marieher way of thinking. She claimed that we will make a team test where we can mutually cooperate to reach the final result. She preferred a group test, since individual tests would just foster the competition among us. But after a few classes, I finally understood what she meant. I realized how good we work all together and how much we learn from each other. Then Marie was right: social learning is the winning tool.

Unfortunately, Marie is teaching only at the basic level, therefore we have to say goodbye to her in 2 days. Marie, we will miss you! Are you sure you don´t want to teach at the next level too? 🙂

Discovering Berlin

Neue HeimatBerlin is a city full of surprises. Everywhere you go, you will make new discoveries, even when you already lived in the city for a while. And however, there are so many options available that sometimes you do not know which one to choose! New places are always exciting, because you can meet new people, do something that you have never done before or getting inspired from everything you see. Nevertheless, new places could be also disappointing. How many times it happens to go to a recommended place just to find out that it does not look as good as you expected. And for this reason, many times people like to go to already known and tested places, since going out with minus “random number” has to be at least worthy. Well, already seen it or not, I have a worthy place to suggest: the Neue Heimat. I was there on Sunday, but it is open also on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Every day has a specific theme. On Sunday it is usually street food. The food exhibition begins at 12pm and it goes on until the night, so it could be a cool place for having brunch, but also lunch, or dinner, or just for a beer. There are no specific rules there, only a bunch of stands with typical food from all over the world, very warm lights and always a lot of people. People sit everywhere, also on the stairs. They walk around, chat with their friends and taste worldwide food. The particular characteristic of this place located in Waschauer Straße in the “Clubs Zone” is that when you come inside you feel like entering into a different world. Now imagine: it is Sunday, minus “random number”, but also that small sun which forces you to go out, because who knows when you are gonna see it again! You leave your warm house and the greenhouse effect is already dramatic, take the Ubahn, walk over the Warschauerbrücke (the bridge). Finally you come in front of that big stand and you do not have any idea of what is going to happen inside. You just know that it is very cold and you are standing in the cue. Then finally in! The warm atmosphere of the Neue Heimat is already all around you. Then what will be next is up to you! I strongly recommend this place when you need to switch off. All the stress related to work, cold weather, routine will be forgotten while tasting a Sicilian arancino and a cold beer together with a nice friend!

Our Deutschkurs on Friday: Shopping gehen

It is funny to see how I put together two different words in the title: german course and shopping. It sounds weird to put those two different things together. People would usually put them in different labels and connect for example the language course with: “duty, serious, studying, effort, getting up early in the morning…”. While they would connect shopping with: “weekend, fun, new look, friends, chat, relax…”. But who said that the world is just black or white? For sure not our teacher. Marie is a special kind of creative German who always thinks outside of the box. When she told us that this week we were supposed to go to the course on Friday instead of Monday, almost everybody reacted not in such a good way. Breaking the expectation to get up late on Friday is dramatic! However, our teacher found a way to break the boredom of the Friday class. Since we are now studying everything related to “Kleidung”, clothes, she decided that the last half of the course we will go shopping! I do not know how she had this brilliant idea! Maybe because she knows that students would spend the last hour of the last day of the course sleeping or thinking about the plans for the weekend… Maybe! However she found the way to wake up us! Fortunately, we were almost all girls who are crazy for shopping, so it is easy to imagine our enthusiastic reaction when she told us what we were going to do!

Our project was about going to a second-hand big store with a very important and precise task: every team had to find clothes for one of the lucky volunteer model according to a season that we chose. My team chose spring and the other one autumn. I was so focused in the task that I looked like those crazy shopping assistant who have to help common people to find the perfect style for them, in one of those American reality shows

I had so much fun that at some point I was thinking that I want to do this as a profession! But I was not the only one. We all had lots of fun trying to find the right look for our model!

Then, the important part would come: the final presentation. For my team, I introduced the Russian model Paulina with a perfect Arbeit outfit for the spring season and the second team introduced the stylish Yael with an urban autumn style!

In the end, it was really amusing and at the same time we learned how to use indefinitarkitikel+adjectives+clothes. It is just a game, but I believe that it is a good approach to reinforce learning and team work. Plus, it is also a good chance to get to know the people at the course. Indeed, we are always so busy in our daily activities and it is difficult to find some time to have a chat or, more ambitious, to make friendships. So what is better than a shopping session?

 

Check here our stylish model for the Spring and Autumn collection!Shopping!

2. Stammtisch im Januar

Liebe Teilnehmer,

vielen Dank für den schönen Abend gestern im Weihenstephaner am Hackeschen Markt. Wir hoffen ihr hattet genauso viel Spaß wie wir! Nochmals herzlichen Glückwunsch an die Gewinner des Quiz’: Hassan, Martina und Dario!
Wir freuen uns, euch bald wieder beim Stammtisch zu sehen oder bei uns im Büro!

Viel Spaß mit den Bildern.

Liebe Grüße

Euer DeutschAkademie Team

 

I am too emotional…

People over the world with a warm cultural background might think that Germany is a cold country once they move in. Despite all the cultural stereotypes, with my made up term  “warm cultural background”,  I personally mean all those people who grew up in a naturally social environment, in a small community where everybody helps each other or just in a place where interaction is much easier than other contexts. Community-oriented cultures and group oriented mindsets might have some problems when they approach the german culture for the first time. I do not want to mention any country or culture in particular, because I believe that every person is different and everyone can identify him/herself  into a more social/community-oriented culture or in a more independent/individualistic one. There are people who grew up in a certain context and however they feel much better in a completely different one. Anyway, for all the “warm  people” the initial integration in the country would look not so easy. First, the warm people attitude will completely crash with the German mindset. Then, there will be disorientation and frustration for the broken expectations. According to our internal schemes, we have internal values and point of references. Those can lead to the very common mistake of thinking that everybody perceives the world in the same way. For instance, my life in Berlin has been full of social misunderstanding. In my culture it is obvious that people help you when you are in trouble by asking you if you want to be helped. I learned that the German way requires rather an active style: you should ask for help, because the people otherwise will never know that you need help. I do not know if this sounds clear, but in general I learned that Germans are very shy at the beginning and for the warm people they might look very cold. We (warm people) wonder why they never call to meet up for a coffee, why they do not invite us spontaneously for lunch, or why they do not text us so often as we do. All these expectations made me suffer a lot at the beginning and I thought that actually nobody cares about friendship. And I also have been blamed to be “too emotional”, that is actually true. The funny thing is that they told me the opposite at work. It looks like the working environment makes me very cold. But I like the way I am: very focused at work and totally not focused outside. And I realized that most of my German colleagues do not change attitude at work and at  “feierabend” when we used to go out for a beer. It looked very amusing to me and I could not believe that! But time can reveal lots of surprises. Indeed, if you are a “warm one” and you experienced the same situation, just know that time will help a lot! Over time Germans become very warm. When they get you know you better, they are really reliable and trustworthy friends. More than you can imagine and even better than the warm ones!

Well, this is just my small experience and as I as said at the beginning, every person is different and free to have different opinions, experiences and expectations.

 

By the way, since I could not find a relevant picture about this topic, I would like to post myself looking “too emotional” just while enjoying my time at Tempelhofer Feld during a warm and sunny day JTempelhofer Feld

The passenger

“I am a passenger

And I ride and I ride

I ride through the city’s backside

I see the stars come out of the sky

Yeah, they’re bright in a hollow sky”

 

You know it looks so good tonight…”

… wrote James Newell Ostemberg Jr, alias Iggy Pop while travelling in the Ubahn, or at least that´s what somebody claims. True or not, Iggy Pop had a very musical productive time in Berlin, when he was sharing a flat with the blonde and charismatic David Robert Jones, alias David Bowie. In his biography it is claimed that the white Duke saved him after a period of confusion, alcohol, drugs and psychiatric hospital. And it looks like he did a good job! It is amazing to see how Berlin had inspired so many artists who created their best works in this city. However, true or not, it is not so difficult to imagine Iggy Pop writing “the passenger” in the Ubahn. Berlin is a big city and unless you work next door or you have the “neighborhood life”, travelling is part of your day. A few days ago, I was making a calculation of how much time I spend travelling among Ubahn, Sbahn, tram, bus  and I realized that it is a quite big segment of the day. How easy is to get lost in your thoughts while looking the metropolitan landscape through the window. And how easy is to meet the weirdest people ever there. Every line has its categories The U1, for instance, is the nightlife Ubahn. Here, every weekend after midnight you will see the people of the night. But not only the U1 is so famous, every line has its own character. During my travels I can mention just few examples of funny human beings who crossed my road: old woman with pink and green hair, the typical homeless trying to sell the newspaper, then the very elegant lady carrying fresh cupcakes, the construction guys with dirty outfits always shouting and drinking beer, a big variety of hipsters, almost never Berliner, but coming to Berlin to fully express themselves, hippies with lots of bags and children walking without shoes. Yes, in Berlin you can really meet every type of person and never be too surprised. At the beginning, the amount of time spent travelling in the Ubahn was pissing me off and I considered it to be a big waste of time. I needed to find something to turn that time into something productive by reading a book, planning my week, making the “to do list” or just listening to music. But now I learnt how to enjoy the trip. Everything happening there could be an input for something creative, indeed the Ubahn´s experience could be annoying for lots of workers, a “must do” for the people who instead would be happy to have a car and a reason of complaint for the active old Berliner going to the market in the morning. Instead for me it is the time to catch every little thing happening and use it to inspire a story. It is not a very social place, everybody prefers rather to be alone and not chatting around, but it is a great place for social experiments! And while looking through the window I wonder which weird, funny and incredible thing will suddenly happen. Here´s why  the Ubahn is the time and place where many stories meet and cross but they never face up to each other.

“Oh, the passenger

He rides and he rides

He sees things from under glass

He looks through his window’s eye

He sees the things he knows are his

He sees the bright and hollow sky

He sees the city asleep at night…”the passenger

Kulturprogramm im Januar

Am Freitag 23.01.2015 waren wir mit euch im Currywurst Museum in Berlin. Der Aufenthalt im Museum war sehr erlebnisreich und eine Currywurst zum probieren gab es auch.

Wir hoffen Ihr hattet genauso viel Spaß wie wir. Wir freuen uns bereits auf das nächste Kulturprogramm mit EUCH!!

Euer DeutschAkademie Team Berlin

 

Our Deutschkurs 2: Never ask “Warum”

Today is a day that must be remembered for good. The memorable event is about the fact that I went to the job center alone (my translator could not come) and I managed to reach my goal with my elementary German! I am aware that the majority of the people would laugh now and think that this is not a big deal. But only international non-german speakers who live here can fully understand what this means. Of course the task was not overcomplicated and it was just about bringing some documents. But did you ever go to the job center? Well, if you did not have this life experience, I will tell you how it looks. It is a grey office where the typical employee is an old lady whose best language skill is Berlin´s dialect. And then there is a big cue of people, most of them with translators, who try their best to understand their super complex requests. German bureaucracy is not the easiest, but with a bit of patience you can make it. Yes you can! Repeat always: “Yes, I can!”, because it helps. So usually it works like this: after waiting in the cue, the old lady´s protocol includes 3 types of answers:

-take a number and wait (Situation eins);

-you are in the wrong place and you must follow the stairs, then go right, left, geradeus room 20189992 (Situation zwei);

-your request is not her area of responsibility, therefore you must address it to another employee who is at the second floor, then right, then left, straight, room 15155151615.

It is very likely that you will repeat this procedure also with the second or third employee, but at some point you will find your way.

So you might now understand a bit better the reason why today is a good day for me.

And for this small but important result I have to be grateful to our deutschkurs and especially to our teacher. Indeed, managing the bureaucracy at the job center by myself means a lot to me: it is step forward in climbing a high mountain.

We are still at the beginning but big results can be reached only step by step. For instance, yesterday our nice teacher was in trouble trying to explain why a German sentence has a certain structure and it is always changing depending on multiple factors. Ambitious people are often impatient and I can see that at the course almost everybody is quite ambitious and with the desire to do more, to go forward. Poor our teacher, in the end she said: “Please, in German never ask WARUM”. And everybody was laughing and feeling that mix of confusion and frustration which comes when you want to get the logic behind a non-logical process. The reality is that it is very challenging to learn everything by hard, as we are supposed to do with German. We need anchors to build categories, to associate different elements (audio, images…), in order to memorize. And when there are just a few rules, then the teacher must be good enough to find methods and schemes to support the learning process. And yes, we have one of the best! One good example of what I am talking about happened yesterday. During the last 45 minutes we played a Kinder game to better memorize verbs and time. No need to say how funny it turned out, since everybody was super competitive and going crazy like a child! I think that learning while having fun is the best way to do it and I am glad to be in the right place for that.

Looking forward for next game!Kinder game!

Unser 2. Stammtisch am 28.01.2015

Liebe Teilnehmer,

nächste Woche Mittwoch ist es soweit – unser Stammtisch findet wieder statt. Dieses Mal im Weihenstephaner am Hakeschen Markt.  Kommt mit uns mit!

Alle Schüler sind herzlich eingeladen einen tollen Abend mit uns zu verbringen!

Kommt gerne ins Büro oder schaut auf dem Flyer nach, um weitere Informationen zu erhalten.

Wir freuen uns auf Euch.

Euer DeutschAkademie Team

 

Poster_Stammtisch_Weihenstephaner-001

Euer DeutschAkademie Team