Guten Tag von Heidelberg! Day 2 at the Sprachschule

“I think you should find an easier class.”  She took the words right out of my mouth.

Not the greatest start to my two week German intensive language school experience, but it could be worse.  Actually, my morning class is great.  The teacher is very kind when she knows you don’t have a clue, and doesnt call on those with blank or terrified faces.

The other students are lovely, (but oh so young!) and I feel like the class is at the right level.  This doesnt mean I get what is going on all the time- oh nein nein nein!  It just means I kinda know about half the time, can guess 20% of the time and otherwise semi-convincingly muddle through.

Heidelberg has many lovely open spaces- and funky trees

Heidelberg has many lovely open spaces- and funky trees

Because I enrolled for an intensive course, I also have afternoon classes with a grammar focus.  (How those Germans love their grammar, ja!?  I’m pretty sure it is a conspiracy to make the rest of the world feel stupid.)  Why the school placed me in a grade above my morning class level, I don’t know, but when I requested a change, they looked at me like they simply coudn’t believe anyone could be stupid enough to need to learn grammar at the same level as their substantive class.  But there you go, apparently someone can.

After I convinced them that I really was that stupid, they found me an easier class.

Dienstag (Tuesday)

I fronted up to class today with hope in my heart that fluency was just a few weeks away only….the class wasn’t easier (well, for me).  Still all in German, and all about declension of something or other- a concept I don’t even know in English.

Strike two.  It was a bit awful.  When I realised I was still way out of my depth, I felt that shameful prick at the back of my eyes….Oh my god really?  Tears?  How old am I??  Luckily,  I realised just how funny it was, and for a bit, had to stop myself from giggling (perhaps a little hysterically).  What was even funnier, is that this teacher really liked me, and despite me not having a clue what was going on, she wanted me to stay in the class.

Perhaps it was that I was the only girl in the room, or that I was older than the other students?  Or she felt a connection with me?  We had a conversation (if you can call my nodding and occasionally saying ‘Oh yeah’ being in a conversation) of which I understood the words ‘Australia’ and ‘3 months’ (going or been, NO idea).

So…despite the love in the room,  I’m back to the admin desk, to explain that actually, I was more stupiderer even than I had let on.

Mittwoch (Wedensday)

Dritte Zeit Glück (Third. Time. Lucky.)

Fear not friends of Tina, today I found a class at my level:  Remedial grammar. (I know my sister Esme will sympathise, she was recently put in a remedial arts and crafts class).

At first, the new teacher seemed a bit terrifying, pulling faces when people got things wrong, snapping at me when I spoke in English and saying  “Gott hilfe mich” (God help me!) and rolling her eyes, but I like her.  I also sat with two lovely girls from Tunisia,  who were both helpful and sympathetic, as well as fun.

I am finding this harder than I thought, and I wonder if it is because it is my first foreign language.  I haven’t met ANYONE here who is not multilingual.  Most people come from non-english speaking countries, but speak English and several other languages.  My flatmate, Stefan, (who speaks 3 other language fluently, plus a fair crack of English) is always telling me the things I am learning are easy (for which I would like to give him a good slap).

Cars- no problem.  Mad cyclists....EVERYWHERE

Cars- no problem. Mad cyclists….EVERYWHERE

Are they?  Am I just stupid?  Learning a language is certainly a blow to your ego, especially if you thought you were on the slightly higher side of average in the intelligence stakes. Or do people who grow up bi or multilingual already have a better brain for language learning?  There is a girl in my class who has been learning German for just 10 days, and already has an idea of sentence structure, cases and gender.  Granted, she is not that good, and is pretty lost most of the time, but I am amazed at how much she has learned.

I signed up for 2 weeks of classes, and set a deadline of today to decide whether to do an extra week, but I have changed my mind at least 4 times each day, as my morale goes up or down.  I know I should man up and do an extra week….but part of me is wondering whether this could just be a humiliating waste of time….

So, decision delayed.  Sixty verbs in present and past tense demand to be learned for tomorrow’s class to avoid wearing the dunce’s hat.  I’ll leave you with some pics of Heidelberg, especially for you Nomis Teapot.

Auf weidersehen!


Me and my castle

S.P Arkles

View of 'my church' from across the river, also the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge)

View of ‘my church’ from across the river, also the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge)

A honking great Church, the entrance to my apartment is the yellow building to the right

A honking great Church, the entrance to my apartment is the yellow building to the right

About The Tina Sparkles Experience

Apparently, there are people who go traveling and just see things and nothing weird happens. I'm not one of those people....come on holiday with me and find out why!

9 Responses to “Guten Tag von Heidelberg! Day 2 at the Sprachschule”

  1. Keep at it. It’s not about how smart you are – all of a sudden you will get the ear. I never found the grammar part of learning French much help until I had a few phrases under my belt, so good for you if you are getting at least some of it.

  2. Hi Liza, Have you been to Baden Baden? If you get there go the mixed baths! I.m sure you could write a great story about the visit!

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Everything looks so beautiful! and do the extra week! you’ll get the hang of it 🙂 try watching German dramas or movies with subtitles. That’s how I learnt my Taiwanese

  4. If its anything like my Mongolian classes then the first 2 weeks may be the hardest – then you come back and revisit things and suddenly they click. I agree with you that people who are multi-lingual seem to pick up languages faster. Perhaps its because they already recognise that language “rules” don’t apply to all languages so they find it easier to discard the rules they’ve already learned and understand new ones? Or perhaps not…

  5. Thanks so much for the photos, you look lovely as does the scenery. It must be an amazing experience. Also, stop being so hard on yourself. It’s a huge shift in a lifetime of thinking you’re contending with, but we all start somewhere and I have all the confidence you will be a whizz in no time.

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