The German Challenge
I am currently in my 2nd year at University and for my sandwich year we get to do a work placement or study abroad, so I will be studying in Germany. Our University has a few connections in Europe but unfortunately none in Japan :(. Well, long-story short I applied and got accepted into a German University to study Computer Science related subjects (I haven’t decided what yet). This study year starts around October this year and will continue up until around July. It is a great opportunity to experience life in a new country while also learning about new topic areas. I am very excited.
There is just one catch.
The entire course is taught in German.
This isn’t a problem though. I know how to learn languages and I expect German to come slightly quicker than Japanese did. If I apply everything I know now, I think I can get to a good level of understanding before I arrive in the country. One great thing about the study year is that although the entire course is taught in German, the exams can be answered in English (the questions are still written in German though…). So all I need to do is get to a good understanding of the German language and I will be perfectly fine. Also, my grades don’t actually count for this study year (phew!).
I have already started the immersion process, although it has been a bit slow. I’m worried about how lack of Japanese contact will affect my Japanese ability. Due to this I am researching what other polyglots or bilingual language learners do to maintain their languages. So far I’ve come up with the plan of at least an hour of contact a day and up to a maximum of 4 hours. This will consist of at least 30 minutes reading, 30 minutes listening, my Anki reviews and talking with a friend. I am seriously considering living in Japan after University so I can’t lose my Japanese ability. This means that German isn’t going to have as much immersion time compared to Japanese.
My plan is to read books straight away while listening to kids shows. I am currently watching Die Mumins on Youtube and am reading Die Verwandlung by Franz Kafka. At this stage I understand about 0.5%. Literally just a couple of words and phrases. There are some things that sound very close to English and there are a lot of words I can infer meaning from when reading. This just goes to show how similar European languages can be :D. I remember really struggling with Japanese at the beginning stages but German doesn’t feel like it is going to be as bad. I plan on not even looking at grammar as I know how much people complain about “Cases” and such. Instead I am just going to absorb the language like a native would. That means lots of TV and lots of reading. I will also sprinkle in some SRS in there too speed up the process as well, of course 😉
Anyway, this was just a quick update letting you guys know that I am know studying German. To any native speakers that are reading this, if you know of any good websites that you use for TV, books, music etc then please post them in the comments below! 🙂
See you in the next one!
Undergraduate Software Engineer and Language Enthusiast.