German Classes

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by TSE, May 23, 2009.

  1. TSE macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #1
    Hi guys, I am going to be a Junior next year for high school, and I was thinking about possiblly going to Germany for my full senior year. Anyone know where I could get some German classes in the Twin Cities? I already looked into it from a few colleges and there were none that I could find.
     
  2. noodle654 macrumors 68020

    noodle654

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Location:
    Never Ender
    #2
    Question though, why go to Germany for your Senior year?
     
  3. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #3
    I want to possibly go to into the auto industry when I grow up, so learning German would make sense and I want to learn a language fluently besides English. I also want to go somewhere because I think it would be a good experience and fun, not to mention most of my school's credits would be done by the end of my Junior year so the only credits I would have to get to pass my school would be Calculus and another year of History. Plus I was thinking of possibly going to Germany for college.
     
  4. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #4
    Does your high school offer German? Take a class there during your junior year if you can.

    FWIW, you would probably be fine with only English in Germany. I was in Berlin for a few days and basically know no German and was fine, a lot of Germans speak English. If you can get a year of German in at high school, you'd probably be very well prepared
     
  5. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #5
    As a tourist, you're right, knowledge of German isn't necessary. Living in Germany as a student, however, would be completely different. Typically, exchange students are expected to know a minimum of at least three years of German before they participate, even if it's a short program. Keep in mind, one needs to be knowledgeable enough to understand his/her classes in order to receive a good education abroad.

    I've accrued over 500 hours in German classrooms in high school and University, and I still would find the idea of traveling as a student daunting.

    TSE, if your high school doesn't offer German, check with the community colleges in your area.
     
  6. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #6
    I found a course here: http://www.gai-mn.org/

    Hopefully I can get good enough with this and Rosetta Stone to get me through a year. :D
     
  7. Decrepit macrumors 65816

    Decrepit

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Location:
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    #7
    I wouldn't rush things to get to Germany so quickly.

    Take the time to take classes here, focus on getting into a good school. A good college will have good connections to get you internships in Germany in your industry of choice.

    Just think, by working your way into a good school, you might end up having a German auto company pay you to fly over there, work for a semester, and then you'd be lined up for a potential job at graduation. If nothing else, you'd have international work experience.

    So, that's my two cents.

    But make sure you've got your passport now. Don't miss a short term opportunity because you didn't have the paperwork ready.

    I used to work for a Fortune 10 company. And you wouldn't believe how many people into their 40's still had never gotten a passport. So guess who got paid to go to the French Alps for training one year? Me. I had the passport.
     
  8. opinioncircle macrumors 6502a

    opinioncircle

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #8
    Learning German makes complete sense. However, based on my personal experience, if you can, avoid the south of Germany. There is nothing wrong with it, but the accent is very tough, and once you go back to Stuttgart or Berlin, people will be able to tell that you have an accent. The Northern part of Germany is known to have the "purest" German, if that makes any sense :D.

    Note: My family hails from Bayern, so no pun intended here :D

    And what company would you look to work into by the way?
     
  9. car man macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    #9
    Once you get started on some classes (online, Rosetta Stone or in school/ community college) try to get your hands on some German movies or TV shows once you have some lessons down and see how much you understand (try to get a movie with subtitles).
    I can recommend Rosetta Stone to get a good start - it's a bit expensive but works really well (my wife is using it) but you should also take same real classes or find someone to speak to in German (the internet is great for that!)

    There are a lot of people who come to Germany without much if any knowledge of German (in the 90's and early 2000's there was a large wave of immigrants from Eastern Europe/Russia as well as from former Yugoslavia) and most of them have a hard time in school because of the language barrier. Unless you're a genius you'll have problems (I have a good friend who came from Russia during Junior year and he picked up on German to a point where he sounds like a native as well as really good English and Spanish within a few month so it is possible but that's a big exception). Outside of school you won't have any trouble getting by with less knowledge.

    Also, when you go to Germany you don't necessarily need to avoid the south altogether. Just make sure you don't end up in a small town out in the country. Instead try to get to a midsize city (50,000 - 150,000 inhabitants) or at least close to one. People in the cities usually are more understandable and transportation is usually a lot better (since you most likely won't have a car).

    If you want to go to college in Germany it's probably a good idea to go there beforehand (like you're planning to do) to get immersed in the language before its knowledge becomes critical. If you're an open and fast learner you'll be able to multiply your ability from a small base knowledge during the year in a German high school but don't expect to do well in terms of grades. But you said you don't need the German credits to finish high school in the U.S. so that's probably not a big deal. Still you could try to get credit for Calculus (standard class in 11th & 12th grade in Germany) and History (you'll see more history there than a class could ever teach you - plus you can take it in school there, too).

    Some universities offer programs or classes in English - so that might be another option for later on if you're not sure whether you can perform in classes taught in German.

    If you're interested in automotive subjects (engineering I would assume) try to get to an area that's big in that (the best bet would probably be Stuttgart but Munich and Hannover are good as well).

    BTW: I'm a German transplant working in the U.S. as an engineer for an American automotive supplier in a position that allows me frequent travel to Europe and across the U.S. - knowing German is definitely a big plus in this business! (although Japanese, Chinese and Spanish are becoming important as well - though German is far easier than any Asian language).
    I went to college in Germany but did an exchange year in high school in the U.S. which vastly improved my ability to speak and understand English (I sometimes still have trouble understanding people in the south though :))
     
  10. Shotglass macrumors 65816

    Shotglass

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    #10
    I would advise you take classes for two or three years before you even think about going to school in Germany. The language is very hard to learn, and once you've mastered it, you still have to master German culture and the effect it has on the language. You definitely will enjoy living in Germany, and speaking the language will do great things for you, but don't rush it.
    And also stay away from southern Germany. Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg etc. are great places, but if you go to like, Munich, people will notice your accent.
     
  11. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #11
    Let's be perfectly honest here, any accent he may have will be American. ;)

    Seriously, don't let something like an accent dissuade you from choosing southern Germany, if you find that's the best location for you (and let's be honest: BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche are all headquartered in the South).

    Besides, every region in Germany has it's own dialect: even the North. It's not as if northern Germany speaks "pure German" while Bavaria is tainted, not unlike English in the U.S.A.; you can always tell where one is from based on their accent (like Minnesota). :p

    However, it would be best to avoid small towns in both the North and South (although especially the South) as their dialects will differ the greatest from Hochdeutsch.

    But if you want to go to Munich, for example, I don't see why it would be a bad idea.
     
  12. Shotglass macrumors 65816

    Shotglass

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    #12
    Munich isn't as bad as the rest of Bavaria accent-wise, because it isn't populated exclusively by Bavarians.
    I know quite a few Americans living in Germany and most of them after a few years have lost most of their accents. However, I can definitely tell where they learnt their German, much more than you could tell where in America they're from.
     
  13. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #13
    You brought up Munich, not me. ;)

    Yes, but is this any reason to purposefully avoid going to the South? Are Germans who speak in a Bavarian dialect somehow inferior? I think you and I would both agree that that is not the case, so why tell someone to avoid the entire southern half of Germany, especially one interested in the auto industry?
     
  14. VideoFreek macrumors 6502

    VideoFreek

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #14
    My advice would be to forget about "taking classes" initially--too slow and inefficient, particularly if you're in a larger group where raw novices are learning at different paces. You'll study verb conjugations and cases until your eyes cross, but you won't learn to speak the damned language. I would recommend instead that you enter an "immersion" type program, where you go off somewhere and are forced to speak only German 24/7 for several weeks to a month. Painful, but very effective. There are such programs in the States; here in Germany one outfit offering such programs (some of which are student-oriented) is

    http://www.humboldt-institut.org/ENG/

    The key is to get up the inhibition curve quickly, to where you can converse comfortably with locals and watch and understand TV, etc. Your rate of learning will accelerate dramatically, and you can THEN learn the formalities of grammar and structure in a classroom setting from a solid conversational base.
     

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