This month, we are happy to introduce a new series of posts dedicated to learning German in Berlin! As you may know, Lingoda’s offices are based in the German capital, a city which is also home to many young foreigners who were attracted by its reasonable costs of living. With this interview series, we look into the German learning process of four notable bloggers who call Berlin their home.
- Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Federico and I’m an Italian 31 y/o guy who’s currently living in Berlin.
- When did you move to Berlin and what were your motivations?
I moved to Berlin 4 years ago after finding an internship at a digital agency. It was supposed to be a 6 month experience and weirdly enough I am still here.
- Did you learn German before moving here? When and how did you start?
I didn’t. I took my first ever German class at the Volkshochschule a couple of months after moving here. Ever since then I’ve been trying to study the language continuously, even though I was never able to dedicate to it as much time as I’d wish.
- As a Berliner, how important is understanding and speaking German to you? How does it affect your life?
My current level of German allows me to get around in the city and face day to day situations, which is obviously nice. As much as stepping up my game and becoming fluent wouldn’t really be life-changing, I think it would enrich my experience and give me deeper insights on the culture and society I am living in.
- What is your stand on “English-speaking places” in Berlin, a.k.a restaurants which only have an English menu etc.
I don’t think any of those places generated from an evil plan to destroy the German culture or to purposely exclude German speakers. On the other hand, I know how the expat life in Berlin sometimes feels like a parallel reality and if I was a business owner (German or foreigner, it doesn’t matter) I’d probably do all I can to promote integration and inclusivity (which, if you ask me, makes also financial sense).
- Have you ever felt like your level of German was holding you back? If so, in which situations?
Absolutely. Moving to a place where you don’t speak or understand the language makes every single daily situation a lot harder and drastically reduces your social and job opportunities. Also, you don’t really get what’s going on in Tatort most of the time.
- What’s the most challenging thing about learning German?
Learning the vocabulary is a nightmare and there are very little similarities with Italian
- What would be your advice to other future or struggling German learners?
Learn by doing something you like, being that flirting with Germans in bars or re-reading your favourite books in German.
- Any funny anecdote linked to learning (or struggling to learn) German you would like to share?
In my very first days in Berlin I washed my clothes and asked my flatmate (who didn’t speak any English) “Hast du einen Ständer?”. I thought I was asking for a drying rack, but it turned out I had asked him whether he had a boner. Oops.
- What is your favourite German word? And the one you still cannot pronounce right?
I love “Aufbruchstimmung”, although it’s still unclear to me whether it’s a positive or a negative feeling. I still have a hard time pronouncing “Brötchen”