Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I Survived My First German B1.1 Class!

I signed up to take German B1.1 at the local university. It's non-credit courses offered by a university club/association. Despite being run by a club, the program is very well-run and still academic in nature, but without grades to worry about. It's mostly for foreign students at the university to learn/improve their German.

Not all of the foreign students speak German, nor do all of them have to. Depending on their field level of study at university, they might never have to speak German in class. I have a friend who's working on his Master's degree and doesn't speak any German in his program's classes. It is usually the upper-level degrees that are this way; most of the undergrad-type programs require fluency in German. This was a simplified description and there are certainly variations, but it's the basic gist.

Anyway, I want to improve my German so I signed up with the club. Even though I'm not a student at the university, I was allowed to enroll as an external participant (I paid 100 euros extra, for a total of 250 euros for the class). I am taking the B1.1 course, which aims to bring the student to the threshold/intermediate level as an independent speaker.

Of course I freaked out that I wouldn't be proficient enough to take this class even though I have an Associate's Degree in German Language and Culture. I've had four college-level German classes and tutoring by a lovely teacher before that. I always worry about everything like this though; it's just who I am. I was concerned that I would be in over my head and I wouldn't be able to keep up. I'm good at guessing on tests and wondered if I had guessed too well for this class's test. Lest the reader think I'm totally neurotic, I did put myself in quite the predicament in high school when I took the placement test for college Spanish and guessed so well that I was placed in the last Spanish class before one starts taking literature classes. I was way over-faced and got a C+, though I admit that it didn't help that I didn't try very hard, either.

As for my current German class, I recently attended the first meeting and while I couldn't understand some things (it was more of a vocabulary issue), I am pleased to say that I didn't flounder too much. When I was completely confused, I found that the other students were, too. Our teacher could sense this and would explain things in a different way. Phew! I'd say that my skills fall in middle of the class. I can deal with that and I'm excited to improve my German. As part of the class exercises, we talked for more than two hours straight. The last time I spoke German that long, I had to prime myself with plenty of Portuguese wine. I think that my liver will appreciate the new method!


  1. Good for you!! I look forward to reading about your class experiences and progress! Obviously it will be challenging and frustrating at times, but think forward to the day when you'll be pondering a conversation or a dream you had but not remembering if it was in English or German! :-)

  2. Thanks! I've already had where I've completely forgotten some really easy English words in a conversation. I don't think it's so much to do with German; it's probably more of a result of being tired, but it was still amusing and frustrating.