Learning German in Berlin by Ali Isaacs

For the first few weeks of my Study abroad program, I attended the Carl Duisberg  in Berlin, Germany. At this institution I took German language classes. The classes were small and we had an assortment of teachers. We would have one teacher for 2-3 days in a row and another teacher for the rest of the week. I was in the morning class that started at 9 and ended at 1:30pm. On Mondays, class started at 10. Classes were held from Monday to Friday and there was a 30-minute break twice a day.

The structure was very different from any other class I’ve taken in America. Each teacher had a different background, and some had accents. One teacher treated my class like kindergarteners, so learning with her was stress-free and fun. She had a South German accent that made it difficult for some students to understand her. Her teaching method heavily relied on games and humor. The games were fun and made tricky subjects easier to digest. This teachers’ tendency to go on tangents telling humors anecdotes, actually helped me learn more practical vocabulary. She taught my class on my first day there, and it really set the tone for the rest of the course for me. I was extremely anxious about learning at Carl Duisberg, and  having her as our teacher for the first 2 days boosted my confidence.

The second teacher I had was the polar opposite. She assigned pages of homework, so much that I often had to do half in the evening and the other half early in the morning before I left for class. However, her teaching structure was super helpful to me. She enunciated her words. From her class, my pronunciation was significantly enhanced. She was quick to correct students, but it was never in a harsh manner. Also, she utilized games that were technical and challenging. Furthermore, through her teaching style, my German listening comprehension was enhanced. I honestly don’t know how I got better at German grammar, but I noticed when playing her grammar games, the sets seemed to get easier and easier. I would get the right answer without fully knowing why that was the right answer, it was an eerie feeling.

My class alone had about 2 more teachers that were both adequate, but the first 2 teachers I mentioned were the ones that I feel helped my personal growth the most. It was a very short language course, but I feel that I learned more there in a few weeks than I would have in a school year. Berlin in praised for its exceptional language schools, and I agree. They are phenomenal.

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