If you’ve been hanging out here for awhile, you might remember that way back when I arrived in Germany, I spent a couple months in intensive German courses provided by my fellowship. My ability to communicate practically quadrupled by the time it was over, and I felt like I had a good foundation for my life in Deutschland.
Over the last two years, I’ve occasionally taken evening courses (1-night per week), mostly just to keep my language learning on a roll (or at least prevent it from backsliding) and have been able to steadily (if slowly) progress. As I anticipated my next steps here in Germany, I couldn’t resist putting my current flexibility to good use — instead of sitting in an office and writing up my research from 9-5 all summer long, I decided to make room for some intensive language lessons in the morning and do my writing in the afternoons and on the weekends.
Sounds a little crazy to most people, probably. But I know that once I start my doctoral work in September, there will be no more time for language lessons. And since my work is going to be all in English, I’m actually a little nervous that my German could start to slip. So my goal this summer is to really take my German as far as I can, and finally stop blowing hot air and just take the Goethe-Zertifikat-C1 exam already.
Three weeks in and so far my German has grown in leaps and bounds. There’s nothing really new about the grammar at this point, so the focus is really on drilling in those problem areas (for me it’s always those dang adjective endings and pronouncing my R’s correctly) and increasing our abilities to express more complex and nuanced thoughts and information. Our class is small — we started out with 6 but are now down to 3 — and it’s almost like private tutoring. Really, it kinda doesn’t get any better — and I’m so excited to be seeing tangible progress again.
Anyway, I’ll be sparing you the less interesting details about this whole process, but think it’s only appropriate to share a little bit about what is occupying the lion’s share of my attention these days!