Monday, December 05, 2005

Suggestions: Language Courses


I was hoping to receive input from everyone about which language course do you think is the best? I have signed up for SprachCaffe starting January 9, 2006 in Duesseldorf. Has anyone heard of that language institute? Any comments? Where did you study German? Where is the best place to learn? Any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

14 Comments:

Blogger Dixie said...

I know at the Berlitz School you learn from native speakers only and you will speak only German in class.

I learned from watching a pantload of TV and by having no one but my husband around me being able to speak English. I also hired a couple tutors - one Americna lady and one English guy who taught English at the Berlitz School. They both spoke German so they tutored me in grammar on the side. If you need a private tutor that may be a way to get one.

10:38 PM  
Blogger christina said...

This was a long time ago (I've been here for 15 years) but I learned at the Volkshochschule - kind of a community college/continuing education sort of thing. As soon as I moved here, my husband and I also switched to German when speaking with each other, so it was all German for me, all the time. TV, magazines and just getting out there and listening to people were some of the things that really helped.

10:56 PM  
Blogger saksa2000 said...

Hi from DUS!
Exciting to follow your preparations for your move to Düsseldorf.
I am sure you'll like it here.

I would like to add your blog to my link-list. I hope it is ok for you?

8:16 PM  
Blogger James said...

Thanks! Please do add it to your blog. James

9:02 PM  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Hi James - I can't recommend a school but I can tell you one thing that really helped me in learning. You need to go more than 1 time a week. It's better if you can go at least 3 times and make yourself only speak German as much as possible.

After a 9 year break from speaking of French before arriving in switzerland I really lost a lot. I only had class once a week and well it didn't help me much at all. I learned more when I HAD to speak it and needed to learn words in order to get through my daily work.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Katja said...

Hi James, my mother is a teacher for german as a foreign language at the Volkshochschule. Of course she always says its better than all the more expensive schools like Goethe Institut. This is the link with phone numbers you can call once you are in Düsseldorf:
http://www.duesseldorf.de/vhs/programm/semester/4100000002.shtml
They have different offers depending on how much time you have.

Gute Reise!
Katja

10:18 PM  
Blogger christina said...

Me again. I can second Expat Traveler's comments about going as often as you can. The courses I took at the Volkshochschule were intensive ones, 4 days a week, 4 hours a day, and they REALLY helped.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

And I have to add that you really need to speak German as often as you can. Understanding it is one thing but you can't really put it all together until you start making it come out of your mouth.

12:55 AM  
Blogger James said...

Yeah, the Sprachecaffe where I am enrolled is going to be about 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. They said NO English will be spoken. So I am hoping it will sink German into my brain... :)

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Belinda said...

I'm probably the wrong person to give you advice about learning at a school. I hate classroom learning. When I moved here over a year ago I signed up with a Volkshochschule class. The teacher could only speak Russian or German. Obviously to learn German one must be prepared to give up English at the door. However, whenever I had a question after class that no dictionary could help me translate she was unable to help me. I found that extremely frustrating so I stopped going. When you go to this class be sure that your teacher speaks enough English to help you whenever you have questions- that would be the most important thing.

I speak German almost fluently now. I bought a "learn it yourself" German book/cd set and taught myself. I forced myself to only watch German television. Unless you have cable, German language tv is all you'll have access to anyway here.

Like everyone else I recommend forcing yourself to speak as much German as possible.

Here are a list of links of places I used while learning. Since you're going to a class these can just be auxillary resources. But I really benefitted from them.

Grammar List

German Verb Tables

German for Beginners

Handbook of German Grammar

and my favourite link:
Deutsche Welle
Basically this is a multilingual website. You can read/hear the news with vocab clarification. With the radio/read news they have slowly spoken reports to help you understand more. They also have a self-learning German course that you can do online. It's really quite awesome :)

Hope that helps and best of luck with the move!

8:29 AM  
Blogger J said...

That seems to be very expensive. I work for a private language school, albeit not in Dusseldorf, that charges about 60% of the price given on the website. Surely you can find a better deal.

9:08 AM  
Blogger jen said...

James,
I go five days a week for four hours. The cost is about 230€ per 100 course hours. My teachers speak a variety of languages and if I get really stuck, explain in english. I need that. I really need that.

I tried the VHS way and it just didn't work for me. I like my private language school way more betta. I'm making friends and having fun. Its nice after 2 years of self imposed isolation.

Sparky and I are now speaking a few hours a day nur deutsch and its really helping, however, we could not have done that when i first started learning. Our relationship language will always be english, i think.

I also suggest as many school hours per week as you can fit in. Then study more when you get home. I'm a total dunderhead with languages and I'm actually starting to speak.

Oh and get 501 german verbs. You'll need it!

6:42 PM  
Blogger Grendel said...

James, stay away from the VHS. I'm working at a German language institute, something like the Goethe institute, but smaller and cheaper, too. Depends on your needs which school is best for you. If you need info on schools in the city or general help to get used to the great weather etc, just drop me an email (my username @ gmx dot de or Skype "grendelshitsuren").

12:12 AM  
Blogger Berlinbound said...

I know this is late ... but I've been attending the Carl Duisberg Center in Koln and it's great. So if your place doesn't work - check out CDC ...

All the best,
Richard

7:00 AM  

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