Tag Archives: language

Darn Immigrants! – What I Have to Deal with in my German Integration Course – Part 1

I go to an immigrant integration course here in Berlin – a mix of all different kinds of people from different backgrounds – all of us mixed together for 4 hours every day trying to learn one of the most difficult languages out there: GERMAN.  This leads to a lot of tense/interesting/funny/strange moments and comments that I thought I would capture here because it is truly a unique experience I am going through.  It’s not every day that so many different backgrounds, ages, cultures, social upbringings, education levels, etc. are mixed in one room and forced to try to get along!

My background: I’m Canadian, ethnically Afghan and a lawyer in Canada.  I have two university degrees and have lived in a few different countries.  I speak English, Farsi, Spanish, a bit of French and now German. Generally, we Canadians are polite, non-confrontational and respectful of others’ opinions and personal space.

My classmates’ background:

  • Number of students: 18
  • Ages 24 – 65
  • Countries represented: Cameroon, Afghanistan, Philippines, Iran, Bangladesh, Sweden, Iraq, China, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Chile, France, United Arab Emirates
  • Professions represented: Tailor, Waitress, Housewife (6), Mechanic, Salesperson, Student, Consultant, IT

Something new happens every day so I will just start writing about the interesting ones on here as they happen so you can have a taste of what I go through every day!  Some incidents are funny, some are astonishing, some are racist, some are just silly…but this is real life…

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How to Learn a New Language – FAST!

The thing I hate the most is being in a new country and not being able to speak the language.  It’s been two months since I arrived in Berlin.  You may think, “Well, you are in Berlin – you can totally get by in English.  You don’t even need German.”  Although that might be true for people passing through the city (and even then, I think “Travel Etiquette” requires that you should always try to speak the language of the country you are visiting in), I’m not here on vacation.  If you want to actually find a job or work in Berlin in something that you are interested in, it’s pretty imperative that you learn German…and learn it fast! So how the heck do you do that? One trick is to find a TANDEM partner in Berlin!

Okay not my tandem partner – but my friend Lisa visiting from Vancouver – on my new street: Odeberger Strasse!

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