Hola amigos! I'd like to open up about probably the biggest challenge I faced during the past years: learning German. When I moved to Germany on December 2012, I didn't speak the language at all. Back then, I dreaded the amount of work and energy I would have to invest to get up to speed. And, of course, I procrastinated big time. Anyway, after an intense year of learning, I'm ahead of the curve. My German is far from perfect but I feel comfortable speaking and interacting in the language, which has made an amazing impact in my life. I'm breaking down here the key factors that have gotten me ahead:
The last months of my pregnancy proved to me that if I didn't get down to it and improve my language skills I'd be literally a supporting actor on the movie of my life. The moment my employer at the time announced the release of voluntary severance package, I didn't think it twice: it was the time to quit my job and focus full time on learning German, for real.That was a real game-changer. During the first two years I took some four-hour-per-week courses. It wasn't enough. I compare it to losing weight: you won't see big results by eating healthy only two times a week. Intensive courses usually offer 20 to 30 hours of classes per week. It's definitely an investment but they are worth every penny. After the first two months, I understood much better and started thinking in German. I also felt more confident. It's a mental game.
German is a difficult language -duh!. And it is even more difficult if you start learning it as an adult. It is very easy to fall into victimism, procrastination, and so on. I've been there. But not anymore. It is important to be surrounded by people who understand and support your struggle and who can help you or inspire you to get better. I've been lucky that my husband refused to speak English to me almost two years ago. At the beginning it was really hard for me, but now I'm grateful for his determination.
German is a difficult language -duh! The reality is, it will probably take me a lifetime to speak a nearly perfect German. It is important to celebrate every little accomplishment along the way and feel really proud. Again, it is a mental game.
Germany is a great country and the key of a sucessful integration is speaking the language.
So, I'm curious, did you try to learn a new language as an adult? Do you speak German? Let's talk!