Top tips for learning German
Learning a second language is a big aspect of studying abroad. If you’ve chosen Germany as your study destination, you’ve already taken the biggest step towards learning the German language.
Situating yourself in a country that speaks the language you’re trying to learn is the best possible way to gain confidence and fluency. Follow these tips for learning German to help improve your language skills!
Start with the basics
When you first start learning, you’ll be tempted to look up complicated phrases. However, not only will this be a disadvantage to you, you’ll probably get irritated quickly by your lack of progress.
The easiest way to learn German is by starting with the most basic and common phrases. From this, you’ll be able to learn grammar and pronunciation rules, making it easier to master the more complicated aspects of the language later on.
Consistency is key
As with any new hobby, you might find that after a few weeks, your enthusiasm drops and you start to fall out of the habit of practicing. However, if you can get in 15 minutes of practice a day, you’ll be able to keep your knowledge fresh and pick it up quicker.
Additionally, practice in your head as you go about your day. When you are walking around, try and name what you’re seeing in German. If you’re going to a specific place, practice the directions in German in your head. Read signs or plaques around you and try to translate what they’re saying.
Use podcasts and films
Podcasts and films are an excellent way to pick up obscure phrases. Start with a film that you’re relatively familiar with so that you don’t get frustrated if you can’t follow the plot because of the language difference. It might also be useful to have English subtitles on. You’ll be amazed at how many words you can pull out that you already know!
Podcasts are also a good way to learn. You can listen to German-speaking ones to try and pick up new words or, alternatively, there are many out there that focus on solely on teaching you the language.
Mobile apps are a great tool to use while your commuting, even on short journeys. Plug your headphones in and follow the lessons to start building your vocabulary. We recommend you use Duolingo or Babbel (or even a combination of the two if you’re wanting to learn German quicker).
Babbel is probably the best app to learn German as it teaches the grammar rules behind the language. However, you should note that you’ll have to pay a small fee each month (it’s definitely worth it for this resource).
Find a German pen pal
Over 220 million people worldwide speak German, so finding a pen pal shouldn’t be difficult. The internet is a great tool for connecting people. Explore websites such as Interpals and Global Penfriends to find people who want to learn your native language while teaching you German.
Practice when you’re out and about
The historical landmarks, multicultural environment and unique culture make Berlin a great place to study. Take advantage of this and spend some time exploring the city. Whilst you’re out, try to use your German where you can. Probably the best way to learn German is through practice. Therefore, speaking to people will help you build your skills and it will be appreciated by native speakers.
Seems obvious but asking ‘how do I say XYZ in German’ is one of the best ways for you learn. If you’re talking with native speakers, use the opportunity to ask them if your pronunciation is correct or what certain words mean in their speech. Don’t worry about sounding silly, people are always impressed when you’re trying to learn their language!
Take advantage of free lessons
Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI) offers students the opportunity to learn German for three hours a week. The lessons are free and a great way for you to improve your fluency whilst making new friends. They’ll also provide you with more tips for learning German.
To find out more about the free German language lessons offered at BSBI, click here.