My Progress with Learning German – from A1 to B11. August 2023
Our student Tania from Colombia has been attending a German course at the Humboldt-Institut in Constance since February 2023. Here in the blog, she regularly tells us about her progress and experiences learning German in Germany.
After starting in February with no knowledge of German at all, I can now say that I feel comfortable having a conversation. It took about four months to get there. I would say that my German has improved significantly and I feel much more comfortable and confident interacting in everyday life.
The path from A1 to B1
By the end of level A1, I mastered the basics of the language. That is, I could have short conversations and build phrases. During the A2 course, I learned many connectors (linguistic expressions, such as conjunctions that connect sentences) that helped me to form more complex phrases.
There was a big jump from A2 to B1. We were asked to write more texts, speak a lot, and give our opinions on certain topics. Together, we discussed controversial topics and it was always interesting to hear what the other students had to say.
During class, we talk about different topics and we sometimes have to give presentations. The topics always vary, among others, we have talked about marriage, meat consumption, electric cars, artificial intelligence, inclusion and culture in general. I have also learned a lot about other countries because there are students of many different nationalities in my class.
Every day I learn a new word or something I didn’t know yet or repeat what I had already learned, so every day is different. The declension of adjectives and the article of each word still give me a headache, but it’s a good headache. When I don’t want to do my homework, I remember a German saying my teacher taught me once: “What you can do today, don’t put off until tomorrow.”
Since the beginning of the intensive course, the road was not easy for me because German is not an easy language, I think. But my friends, teachers, and counselors were always there to help me. There were days when I doubted my abilities, but in the end my passion was stronger. And if I were faced with the decision to learn German again, I would do it again!
Especially the activities offered at the Humboldt Institute helped me to communicate more and put into practice what I learned. They are also very important to connect with the German culture and – above all – they are fun and interesting.
For example, we went hiking at Lake Seealpsee in Switzerland. This hike was not only a physical effort but also a mental workout for me. We learned many new words about the forest and nature. At the beginning of the hike, it was a bit tiring because we had to hike up the mountain. However, in the end, we sat in front of a beautiful lake in the middle of nature.
Another thing I really like, is that we always have counselors with us. They help us speak. I think it’s very important because we can practice with them. In any case, it’s nice to have someone to talk to after class.
My favorite experience was going to the theater. The fact that I saw the show in another language allowed me to use all my senses. For example, I could read people’s body language and orient myself to the music to understand the plot, even though I didn’t understand all the lines. After the show, I was happy because I thought about all the things I have learned since I arrived in Germany.
Also, I love to get to know new cities and villages because I believe that every village and city has its very own atmosphere. There is always something new to see and to experience!
What I like about Germany
Since I’ve been immersed in this culture, I’ve realized that Germans love bread and there are thousands and different types of breads and pastries. Which I find very delicious and dangerous at the same time! 🥲
I really like using public transportation here in Germany because it is very organized and punctual. I’m used to the traffic chaos in my hometown, but since I arrived here, I can get around with peace of mind and no problems.
Furthermore, I can always use my bike because Constance has many bike paths. What I like most is the ease with which you can travel here and arrive in another country within a few hours. My classmates and I can travel to different places in Switzerland and Germany because Constance is right on the border between the two countries.
Another very important aspect is that as students, we almost always get discounts on activities!
What life in Constance is like
Finally, I’m going to talk a little bit about Constance, because it’s a very nice city with a lot of students: Now the weather is very nice, but the last month was a typical “April, April, it does what it wants”. That’s a German saying, because of the often crazy weather in April.
I am looking forward to summer. If it’s a nice day, we can swim in the lake and play games or have a cold beer once in a while. I love living in a city by the lake and with a view of the mountains. And I hope to continue learning here and enjoying this place.
Another very beautiful place is Mainau, an island near Constance. There you can see many colorful flowers and visit a butterfly house. I would recommend everyone to visit Mainau.
The old town of Constance is also always busy, you can find many ice cream parlors, shops and cafés there. Especially ice cream is always a good idea in summer! Summer really makes us happy!
PS: Tania’s first article about the start of her German course can be found here: My German Course in Constance – Tania from Colombia