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That grey square

Aurelia D
Berlin, am 15. January 2015

Hello you! Are you currently looking for a Deutschkurs, but you cannot decide among the many options offered by the city? You might be brand new in Berlin. You are thinking about the next move and you decided that it is going to be obviously a German course. Or you might be already in Berlin for 2-3 years never caring about learning German since you don´t need it at work and you don’t hang out with Germans. You might be a student who enrolled in an international study program and you are used to interact just in English. But you might be also an artist who has been attracted by all the cultural and artistic movement rising in Berlin in the last few years, trying to be part of the German culture.

Nevertheless, whoever you are, while analyzing all your options in depth, or just seeing a flayer in the underground which advertize the best German school, or just accepting your friend´s advice, you must know something.

Studying German will be not like taking a walk in the park. You could also do it for fun, but with the awareness that this requires lots of dedication, discipline and resistance.

Therefore, you should include also secondary/qualitative factors in the choice of the school which fits you the best. In my humble opinion, one of those factors is the location of the school. When I went to the DeutschAkademie for the first time, I have been asked to choose a location between Alexander Platz and Wittenberg Platz. Always following my damn instinct I chose Alexanderplatz. I did not even think about all the quantitative factors, as the distance from my house. Despite the fact that Wittenberg Platz is cool as well (you can go shopping and lose yourself into Kadewe if you are rich), I believe that Alexanderplatz is “The Location”. Why? Now I want to go back for a moment to the first time I came to Berlin as a tourist. It was 2 or 3 years ago and I was so anxious to see the city and especially Alexanderplatz. I was curious to understand why this square was considered to be so special to get mentioned in songs, movies, books. What were those artists feeling in order to celebrate this square which such fascination? Therefore I was there. First impression, first thought: “so, is Alexanderplatz that grey square”? I went back home a bit confused and disappointed. Indeed, you cannot really understand Berlin until you don´t live in the city. Even though I read a lot of books about it and I had a romanticized view of the city, only now I can fully understand the magic of Alexanderplatz. Alexanderplatz is more a feeling than a physical space. That feeling of walking through a place where everything can happen (It happens a lot there). A place that keeps the ruins of the East world and it mix them with an ongoing metamorphosis caused by the rapid-changing of our time. That is a place where you can breathe the metropolitan chaos, where lots of busy people run around the whole day concerned about their business and while walking, you can experience a kind of connection with them. Different stories who have in common just the great chance to share the same life space.

So you get out in the morning, take the underground and you are in Alexanderplatz. A quick look to the Fernsehturm, the second highest building in Europe, just to remind that one day you will go up there to watch the whole city. Then a quick check to the World Time Clock, maybe to remember what would be the time in your own country. Then a nice coffee at Tschibo and you are already in the class getting ready for a new chapter!

Now, imagine that your school is located in a not well-known street of any area where there is not so much going on. Then, remember how hard is to study German and finally think about how much having a positive reinforcement matters.

Do you still think that any location would be the same for you?

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