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It lurks, like a boil, or a heavy dull ache at the top of your neck. The kind of pain that hits from within your skull and reverberates outward. Thumping against the casing of your brain, until you can no longer take it.
I’m talking of course about German grammar. And guilt. Oh so much guilt.
I’ve been taking German courses on and off for the last 3 years. Mostly off. I called German my ‘winter sport’, meaning I’d enroll in night courses between November-March, making the most of the cold, prematurely dark nights. Wrapping up in layers of coats, hoiking my heavy books and bags onto my shoulders and trudging from the office to a stuffy classroom full of equally uninspired adults. German class was always a chore. A necessary, begrudgingly completed chore.
Look, I know I have to speak the local language, I know it will only endear me to the ever-grumpy Viennese and I know that the only way to truly understand a culture is from within – speaking their way.
But oh, the grammar. My God, have you tried to learn German grammar? To grasp the slippery differences between hoch-Deutsch, Tirolian-Deutsch, Viennese Deutsch and the 35 million different accents and variations of German available? It is excruciating and frustrating as hell. The reason this Youtube-clip is so very hilarious is because it is very true!
There are precisely 93 excuses as to why I’ve avoided German. The top 3 are:
- I prefer French, or Spanish or Italian (or anything!).
- I don’t speak it at work so am not forced into learning.
- In Vienna you can get by without German.
That’s just the edited highlights of my looooong list of reasons to avoid learning German. But I’m fast running out of credibility.
When I first moved to Vienna, I would look to other expats who had been here 3 years and wonder, why the hell aren’t you fluent yet? How is that possible? But now I know it is entirely possible to get so caught up in the daily battle of existing in another country – in finding a job and your own friends, seeking out the best supermarket and a nice coffee shop and how to dress for 4 actual seasons – that the struggle with German becomes….less important.
Now I am that asshole that has lived here 3 years and still pretends to be a tourist if a stranger speaks to me in German on the street. (Also handy for avoiding charity-muggers). I am that expat that hasn’t made the effort.
There’s also the teeny-tiny detail that I’m approaching my visa renewal in just over 12 months and require B1 level German to stay here.
So I have to do this shit. I’m getting the guilts and am sick of not understanding jokes in groups. Not being able to read the newspaper is keeping me separate from the life of the city. Last week I decided it’s time to bite the bullet.
Like a sign from the universe, as soon as I made up my mind to really, truly, no I mean it actually, this time I promise, learn German, I heard about a newly launched company called Lingoda. They are offering a trial of their online German courses.
I’ve tried (and failed) just about every other option to learn German. Night courses are great, but impractical – my brain is always fried by 6pm, and I end up hating the class because it eats into so much time.
Duolingo is fine and fun for a short while, but way too easy to ignore on my phone.
Lingoda are offering online courses, with both group classes and private tutoring available. The courses are pretty well priced, especially in comparison to evening courses in Vienna. But for me the real advantage is that they are online. Meaning – studying on your terms. I’ve signed up for a trial starting 1st of May.
In truth, I’ve actually become a bit of an online-course junkie in the last 12 months. I’ve purchased around 6 courses in the last year. (The best of these has definitely been the We Create courses from Christine Gilbert, which are brilliant in inspiring anyone to build a creative empire. If you’re a creative type looking for direction, I can only recommend them!) So I know this format, of logging on and studying when it suits you, works for my learning style.
What I don’t know, is whether this will translate across for learning German. But hell, at this stage I have to try, right?
I’m excited because I can plan my own learning schedule around my real life – not trying to squeeze classes between 6-9pm on weeknights. The course price includes the certificates needed for Visa applications and the group classes max out at 5 people. That’s much less than any other German courses I’ve ever attended. (I’ve tried 3 different schools in Vienna – all crowded, all ranging in prices above what is offered on Lingoda.)
So I’m going to suck it up and do this thing. German needs to be conquered – but I’d love some company and support! If you’re even considering taking a German course in the next little while, you can come join me on Lingoda. Bonus (because they are looking for new students) is that you can get a 10% discount if you use my referral code: CARLY10.
German is a battle we all have to face – but has to be easier when faced with friends right?
I’ll report back once classes begin…..
This article includes affiliate links. By clicking these links & using the promo code you’ll get a reduced price on the Lingoda course, and I’ll receive a small affiliate credit at no extra cost to you. Those credits will help support the running of this site. I promise that Austrian Adaptation will only ever promote products I actually use, like and recommend. Here’s hoping Lingoda will help me ‘like’ learning German!