Monthly Archives: November 2012

DARN IMMIGRANTS! Part 2 – The French Struggle

As I mentioned, there are a lot of different backgrounds, ethnicities and languages in my class.  I speak to the Chilean girl in Spanish, to the Afghans/Iranians in Farsi and to most others in English as our German does not always suffice for what we want to say.  There is a girl from Cameroon in my class.  She is around 30, has a daughter and her mother tongue is French.  She and I immediately got along in my class as she is smart, witty and has a great sense of humour. But there are a lot of things she does that drive me crazy.

On one of the first days of class, as soon as she found out I was Canadian, she immediately asked if I knew how to speak French.  I laughed and told her in my broken French “Oui, juste un petite peu” (which really is just a little bit because I’ve forgotten nearly all my French) – but this “petite peu” somehow translated to “I speak French fluently” to the Cameroon girl because from that moment on, she spoke to me pretty much only in French and kept asking me to translate from German to French!  Geezuz!

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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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