Elina wanted to improve her German language skills, and quickly, here’s how, with the help of Lingoda, she did it. She even managed to persuade a few others to learn languages along the way!

Why learn with Lingoda?

Lingoda seemed quite convenient to me from the very beginning.  The idea of the 24/7 flexibility, no travel time involved, and small classes with qualified native-speaker instructors beats it all!

Of course, when I found out about the possibility of taking three months of language lessons for free, (despite of the fact that it was scary not to miss even a single out of 90 classes) I decided I was in!

Not learning alone

I immediately told my husband, and, as we both were really up for improving our German, (plus sometimes one needs a piece of paper to say that one achieved an X-level of proficiency), we realised that we wouldn’t find a better (and more affordable) way to do it.

We currently live in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and quite often also work in central Europe.  German is essential here and we never felt completely at ease with it.  We took classes at our university, did a lot of self-study, but nothing can motivate you as much as a solid schedule and the chance to receive a 100% refund.


Keep the language fresh

For me, speaking German requires a very structured mind.  For example, in German,  needs to know in advance, how exactly (with which verb) one will finish a sentence (since majority of complex sentences involve more than one verb).  Also, I wanted to improve my use of the academic language, so I could write complex things, such as project descriptions / proposals and speak freely on a decent level.

Of course, both, my husband and I, still need a lot of practice.  However, we have now done the most important thing: we gave our German a really huge boost and achieved a lot.

German is the sixth language I speak out of the three on a decent level and three secondary ones.  However, now I would place it fourth after my native/fluent languages.  And it definitely wasn’t so high before the marathon.

My top tips

Number one: Stay organised.

It means: don’t cancel classes, plan very carefully ahead (especially if you are a freelancer and can get called to work on a short notice!), try to book classes a week in advance: otherwise it gets harder with class availability.

Make it a priority.  If you need to learn grammar, keep a notebook and coloured pens/markers nearby.  If you need to improve speaking, use the opportunity to do so all the time: try to talk in any everyday situation.  Write emails, read articles/books, listen to the radio, analyze poetry… in other words, immerse yourself in the language.


Helpful resources

I use Quizlet for new words.  One can make folders/lists/flashcards, study, and take tests.  It is a very convenient tool, accessible from the phone or computer, don’t neglect it.  Writing down words or making your own flash cards is quite time consuming…. (I never had any time to do that.)

A family affair

When taking the marathon, it was always fun when I ended up in the same class with my husband (we didn’t always arrange it together).  We were always in different rooms at our apartment, since being in the same room and hearing each other was not very convenient.  We loved the moment when each of us needed to introduce ourselves: we would say “I also live in this city….” and the teacher would say “wow, what a coincidence!”, then “yes, in the same apartment, actually…… well, we are married”.  It always gave the class a good laugh!

Then I also signed up my Mum.  She is not a marathoner, however, she takes classes religiously.  Once she purchased extra classes without realising that her next batch would arrive in a few days.  She ended up having so many classes that she needed to take them every day for a certain period of time: so they wouldn’t expire.  So perhaps she is a ‘pseudo-marathoner’!


Moving up!

Lingoda is a great school with big ideas.  I hope that in the future there will be many more languages and tools added.  After completing the marathon I changed the German proficiency from ‘intermediate’ to ‘advanced’ in my CV: to be honest, it felt very satisfying.

My husband and I are very proud of ourselves (and of each other) for winning this marathon.  I never took any of my ‘secondary’ languages to such a high level.

Thanks Lingoda for the boost you gave me and my family!  It was really needed and will always be highly appreciated!