Thankfully, while we were still in Canada Elizabeth and I signed up for a two week beginner's language class that is in Germany (at Colón, a language school in Hamburg), which we hoped would help us fare better.
Am I ever thankful we did!
As it was just a beginners course, it didn't make me able to speak fluent German, but it helped me solidify the German I already had. And made me able to understand a little more of what is happening around me, even if I don't know all of the words. Basically, the class gave me a step up that I am very thankful for, a step up which will hopefully make the rest of the steps of German language learning a little bit easier.
The class itself was pretty fun to be part of. Towards the end of my time in the class, the novelty wore off, especially as we really had to get into the memorization of things, such as different verb endings and conjugation rules and grammar rules (all of which is very helpful, I must admit).
Overall though, the class was rather enjoyable. I got to meet new people, and learn a language in a way that was generally pretty fun. The class was more conversationally laid out. We would learn a new language concept or a new set of words and then as a group we would try them out, going around the room and chatting with each other in our gradually expanding German. We would work in groups on different mini-projects or pn filling out papers. Normally I'm not a fan of group work, but it is rather helpful when it comes to language learning - we were all able to help each other out with different parts of the language, correct each other and ourselves, and learn effectively.
It was really fun! And it really was helpful. I had learned a lot of things in my studies before I came to Germany, but I did not know the reasons behind what I'd learned, the proper situations to use different words, and so on, and the class really helped with that. It built on my German a little bit, but also helped solidify and stabilize the shaky foundation I had tried to lay out for myself. I'm very glad I took the course - and I'm already able to see how it is helping me. The other day I went to a ice cream shop in a train station. I'm not sure what part of milk it is I'm allergic to, so I generally avoid it as a whole (my host family has a lot of lactose free things, which I am trying, and that is for the most part going well, so it might be the lactose... but especially when in public it is probably best to not have too much milk). So I went up to the girl behind the counter, and asked "Hast du Milch-frei Eis?" (Do you have milk free ice cream?) I didn't have high hopes for a positive answer, but the ice cream looked extremely good so I thought that it couldn't hurt to ask. To my surprise though, she said yes, and showed me which ice creams were milk free (all in German, which I understood!!). So I got one, and the transaction went entirely in German. I was really proud of myself - but I'm much happier with what happened next. The girl behind the counter said something to me in rapid German that I couldn't understand, and waited for an answer. I had to reply that I wasn't so good in German, but I'm still very happy that she initially assumed I was good enough to be spoken to in rapid not simplified German - it must mean something good about my German. I hope it makes sense, but it gives me hope that maybe soon I'll be able to have that assumed of me almost all of the time - and that maybe one day it'll be true.
I finished writing this post a lot faster than I thought I would so I guess that makes for two posts here in one day!
I hope you are all doing well, and I hope to write another post soon!
See you then!