If I can learn a second language, anyone can…
Learning a new language is hard, especially if you come from an English speaking country. Let’s face it, life is easier when most people you encounter in a foreign country can understand you. Despite being a lazy Brit who is used to everyone speaking English I always wanted to learn a second language. My journey began when I moved to Germany several years ago with my boyfriend who I met in London.
It’s possible to get by in Germany without speaking the language and this is what I did for a few years. I spent time living in Munich and Berlin and bouts of time working in Hamburg. All the time speaking barely a word of German. After a while it became a bit embarrassing. It’s not like I didn’t try, I bought books and did an online course but it just wasn’t happening. So eventually I enrolled at a local language school feeling determined to make it happen.
The course was the best idea for me and I wish I started as soon as I arrived. I felt comfortable stumbling my way past the basics being surrounded by other people also trying to learn. Before the course I wouldn’t say anything until I could speak perfectly. This meant I didn’t speak at all for fear of looking stupid. I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly academic person and learning something so challenging was exhausting. Every evening I would come home feeling tired, all I wanted to do was lay on the sofa and stare at the ceiling.
Things progressed and as I got over the first hurdle of mastering the very basics I started to enjoy myself. Fast forward to almost a year later and the course was coming to an end. This included six weeks learning politics and history which I somehow managed to pass. Having the certificate allows me to apply for German residency which is a nice option to have.
At that time my boyfriends family were asking him how I was getting on. They are really nice and wanted me to do well in the final exams. This scared the hell out of me and the pressure was on to do well which actually helped me a lot. I put that added pressure down to passing everything which I’m still super happy about.
It’s been about six months since finishing the course and I must admit I have been a bit lazy. I find myself speaking in English a bit more so it might be time to get a tutor once a week. Having come this far I don’t want to lose what I’ve learned so I’m confident I will stick with it. I’m actually feeling inspired to learn another language. So this year I will hopefully take an Italian class with my boyfriend. It’s the perfect excuse to visit Italy and practice my skills whilst eating pasta and taking in the sights.
You might also like to read The London Photo Diary