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Fail a language? Start another one!

Imagine sitting in your classroom and your teacher covers her head with a paper bag, holding an imaginary gun to her head.

This is one example of how my first German teacher used various kinds of drama in order to introduce new words in the classroom.

I have failed to learn French despite the fact that I had very professional, patient, humorous and caring professors in my home university in Hong Kong. Two years of learning resulted in remembering ten French words, maybe.

Six months ago, I started to learn German in Vienna with the fear of failing the same way I did with French. However, meeting my first German teacher changed everything from the beginning.

The teacher is a cool lady with short blond hair and a lot of dark humor. She is the one who is sometimes harsh but mostly concerned about our learning progress more than we do. I didn’t know that learning a language could be so interesting and interactive.

My current teacher is of a different type. He is gentle with a different type of humor. Sometimes he shares his life experience with us, which is quite encouraging. Good teachers come in different ways.

My German is quite good now but still not good enough to allow me to write the way I do in English.  (In Hong Kong, people start to learn English and Chinese at the age of three, which means I have been learning English for 20 years and I still am.)

If you are reading this article, I guess you might well be interested in or you are already learning a new language. You also might be asking yourself a question: Why would you want to do that? What are your reasons and how are you going to accomplish your goals?

I have discovered for myself that there are two major differences between learning French and German.

Firstly I have a clear goal. I know why I would like to pick up German. My plan is to land a job in Austria, and therefore I need a good command of the language.  When I look back into my French learning experience, I realize now that a precise goal was missing. All I knew was that French sounds beautiful and romantic.

Secondly, I am studying in Vienna, where I can frequently practice reading, speaking and listening to German whenever I walk out of my home. In comparison to that, back in Hong Kong no one other than my professors would speak to me in French. You will be amazed when you experience the change from someone who doesn’t understand a word to someone who is able to grasp people’s gossip on the metro.

People just have to take up different roles at a time in life. Alongside being a student in the German course, I am also a Chinese teacher for private lessons. Teaching is fun but sometimes difficult since I want my lessons to be interesting and interactive while also being educative, and every individual is different. This largely affects the decision as to which teaching approach and what kind of learning material I should make use of with the respective student.

Having learned from my teaching and studying experience, I can recommend the following:

1.    Attend a formal language course

2.    Set your goals

3.    Learn bit by bit, it can be slow, but do not give up

4.    Start to build up vocabulary with topics you are interested in

5.    Practice and communicate with others.

All the best for your language studies!

Short info about myself:

My name is Irene Lai. After a long summer studying and traveling in Europe, I fell in love with Austria and decided to come and explore the opportunities for my career in Vienna. Currently, I am learning German and looking for a full time position in marketing and traveling industry because I want to use my experience and knowledge in digital marketing and English-Chinese translation to further my career. And #IcomefromHongKong

If you happen to be interested in doing a language swap (German-Chinese), feel free to email me at laiirenelsy@gmail.com


Wir danken Irene Lai herzlich für diesen Gastbeitrag. Möchtest auch du einen Blog für uns schreiben?
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