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Our Deutschkurs 2: Never ask “Warum”

Aurelia D
Berlin, am 23. January 2015

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!

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