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Week 2: Learning German is sometimes fun, but definitely stressful

So, I’ve just finished my second week of learning German. This is the half-way mark of my four-week course at the did deutsch-insitut in Berlin. What’s the verdict so far? I really enjoy it!

I spent so much time last winter saying that there just wasn’t any reason to learn German, but turns out there is: learning a foreign language is fun!

Week 2 of learning German

Got a helpful language tip when complaining on Twitter about when/how/why to use articles, thanks @voyageries!

Here are a few of the things I’ve learned in German language school this week. (Be sure to check for more posts than just these!)

This second week of class was pretty different from the first. In the first week, I feel like I learned a lot more than in the second. We would learn a handful of new things, mostly grammatical, and then spend hours practicing them. Articles were obviously a big challenge all week—it’s what every student of German seems to say. Class at the did deutsch-institut this week was certainly less interesting than the first, but still fun. Now that the 12 of us in class know each other, the atmosphere during lessons is pretty relaxed—and often, quite funny.

We’ve got two professors each week, who alternate teaching days. One of the two is clearly better at teaching us—speaking only in German during each and every lesson and slowly explaining things to us. The other professor is way more entertaining though, often making jokes (in mixed languages) and adding political commentary during the lessons. This balance between the two teaching methods is sometimes difficult, but keeps us all pretty interested in class.

In addition to learning German this week, I did a number of other things in Berlin. Notably: having fun! In addition to the did deutsch-institut language school hosting a free Christmas party for all of the students (with German Christmas songs, snacks and glühwein), I did some urban exploring.

My week in Berlin

With language class each and every morning, I still have time in the afternoons to enjoy Berlin. I’ve been busy with some other projects, but that hasn’t kept me inside all afternoon. Here are some photo highlights from my week in Berlin:

Spacehall record store

Visited the Spacehall record store to do some Christmas shopping. Ended up just taking photos of the über hip store.

Christmas in Berlin

It was pretty Christmas-y week. In addition to my school’s Christmas party, I visited a few Christmas markets. My favorite so far this year is the Rixdorf Weihnachtsmarkt. It’s in Neukölln and most (all?) of the vendors represent charitable organizations.

cocktails in berlin

While most people in my German language course are enrolled for a minimum of four weeks, there were a few in the class who only had time to sign up for two. A few of us went out to celebrate our new friendship at a pretty cool cocktail bar in Schöneberg called Train. It’s inside an old s-bahn train—you even have to enter through the train doors!

Schwuz gay bar

My weekend in Berlin started off with my favorite indie club night in town: London Calling at Schwuz. Good music, good friends, lots of fun in one of my favorite (gay) bars in Berlin.

Christmas in Berlin

And it wouldn’t be a winter week in Berlin without a bit of snow! There was plenty of snow in the middle of the week, and plenty more on the weekend. Looks like this may be my first white Christmas in a long time!

Be sure to follow my continuing adventures of learning German in Berlin at my Berlin-specific blog: You can also snoop on my other assorted Berlin adventures by following me on Instagram.

  1. I always wanted to learn German and I also wanted to live in Berlin for a while. After reading your post I want to do it as soon as possible :)

  2. Rachel says:

    I can kinda relate this to my guitar-learning lessons. It’s always difficult at first, but you’ll get to learn it fast depending on your interest and on how effective your teacher(s) will be. As for me, I can now play Jerry C’s Cannon Rock.. best if I play it with a band. Kidding! ;P

  3. Clairikine says:

    Not pictured: hyperactive Frenchperson attempting to sing along to Yelle.

  4. Cheryl says:

    Adam, so glad to hear that your German classes are going well. Love the photo from the record store. I want to steal that globe!

  5. Schön! Viel Glück beim Deutsch lernen! Fear not the mistakes, even if you think the words are coming out slow for your liking. Üben üben üben!

    Besides, you may find that in time, dein Denglish wird besser sein. ;-)

  6. Carrie says:

    Hey there!

    Learning another language is difficult. I learned Chinese for two years back in high school. Phew Wee! Thank goodness that’s over, lol.

    Grammar is probably the most difficult, especially since every language has its own grammatical rules.

    I wish you the best of luck with learning German! :)

  7. Lane says:

    I’ve tried my hand at both German and French (due to college requirements to graduate) and found French to be much, much tougher. 20 years later, I can still read bits of German. French… forget about it.

  8. The Sojourner says:

    For me, learning German is always stressful. :))

  9. Cathy Sweeney says:

    I try to learn German with a self-study course each time I go to Germany. But I don’t seem to make much progress. I love the Christmas markets and will try to make it to Rixdorf Weihnachtsmarkt next time.

    • Adam says:

      Glad to hear Cathy! How does the self-study work for you? I found it really difficult at the beginner stage because the group environment of a class was really helpful but I can see how some people might prefer it.

      Definitely check out Rixdorf’s Weihnachtsmarkt next time – though it’s only on one weekend in December, unlike most of the others which are for the entire month.

  10. Travelphilia says:

    Hi Adam,

    no, there is no sense in German articles – the sooner you accept this, the better! :-)
    I can imagine learning German as a foreign language must be tough – but we are amazed everytime someone makes the effort!
    I’m sure you’ll improve quickly!

    Great blog, btw!
    All the best,

  11. Tae says:

    Thank you for this post! I recently started learning German with the hopes of moving to Berlin in a few years, and this has got me motivated and excited!

    Best of luck to you in your new language adventure!

  12. John5 says:

    I was born from the German heritage, but can’t speak a lick of German. My great grandfather came to the US in 1897 and had to learn English. I would like to learn my native tongue!

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