Prior to giving birth last year, I secured my B1-level TELC result. It wasn’t enough, but it helped me get through the birth and the subsequent hospital stay. Magically, I also managed to secure appointments for hospital go-sees, find a Hebamme (midwife to assist me through the Wochenbett*), and survive.
Scraping by with my everyday (working but poorly working) Deutsch is not ideal. I need to improve. I want to get it up to a better level because Germany is where I live now. And language, as I have come to understand its full impact, is a country’s heartbeat. The smoothness of your daily transactions encompassing all areas of your life depend largely on how good your handle of the native language is.
There have been improvements in my German, as is expected when you encounter the language daily. I have also tried to actively learn it by following some lessons on Youtube, reading children’s stories, watching shows on Netflix and ARD, and trying to be more open to making many mistakes when talking to people.
But I do enjoy going to school, meeting new people, and learning with them. If I were to name a hobby, it would probably come up on my list.
I started searching for night classes around March and finally got around to get myself enrolled around April this year. It is quite tricky because the schedule has to be something that:
- works with my husband’s arriving from work
- is not daily
- is not more than 3 hours
- is not too far (back and forth should take only an hour) and
- not too expensive
All these requirements pointed to the VHS not too far from my place. When I went there to enroll to a class, I brought with me the TELC certificate that showed my language skills are up to B1 already hoping that it would take me to B2.1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The norm is to take a qualifying exam assessing your level, and based on that, they will suggest what level you should attend.
Eli was with me at the time I went, so sitting for an exam wasn’t an attractive option for me. Instead, I just opted to go with what I consider their bridge module, B1+, then enroll in further B2 classes when the lessons are done.
The schedule works well since it’s only twice a week and doesn’t start too early or too late in the evening.
I started last week and was happy to be learning the language formally again. Our class of 16 is an interesting mix of nationalities and age bracket. On the first day, we had a game about adjectives where we’re supposed to ask 12 different people questions like, Wann bist du ängstlich? (When are you scared?). The teacher also thought of a nice twist by way of introduction by having us tell our partner five truths and three lies about us. We then took turns introducing our partners in class.
It was a breath of fresh air and good for my soul. For two nights a week, it will be refreshing to take a small break from hearing baby-related things and talk to other people on different topics while learning German at the same time.
Bis zum nächsten Mal!
* postpartum period between after birth of child and going back to the regular flow of things (usually around 6 to 8 weeks)