Month in Berlin

Old Jun 13th, 2013, 05:20 AM
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Month in Berlin

Hi guys!
My boyfriend and I would like to spend a month in Berlin. We are learning german at the moment and our language abilities are poor, yet we want to improve and take an advantage of spending some decent time in Germany..We've taken a german summer course into consideration, however it might be too expensive for us. Do you guys have any experience with this kind of traveling ? Any tips, recommendations? Where is the best to stayin Berlin? Maybe there is kind of summer job possible for one month?
lokatorka is offline  
Old Jun 13th, 2013, 06:08 AM
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I speak a limited amount of German and I have yet to have any trouble communicating, understanding major signage, etc., while in Berlin. Many folks you are most likely to come in contact with speak English or at least understand what you are probably trying to communicate.

As to areas in which to stay, a lot of people will recommend some place "in Mitte." IMO a lot depends on your budget and how you plan to get around and the things you wish to visit.

The public transport system is excellent so I would try to stay somewhere near a public transport station.

I would not waste a limited amount of budget money on a lot of language courses. I'd save that money to SPEND once you are there.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 06:19 AM
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One thing fairly common in cities like Berlin to find a "tandem" partner (Sprachpartner) for language learning where basically you barter your English for a native speaker's German (or any language combination that works). Advantages are, of course, that it's free and you can make friends and get to know people. Search around a bit for Sprachpartner, Sprachenaustausch, tandem. You can do this online in advance or, when you get to Berlin, you can visit the language centers (Sprachenzentrum) of the various universities, where you should find some sort of Infobrett where people post all sorts of little ads for apartment sublets and such.

I don't think you'll really be able to find any kind of legitimate work, but you might be able to make a little cash doing language tutoring or editing student papers on the side, provided you have any skills in that direction. You might also look to sublet a room in a shared apartment where you would have an opportunity to interact with a native and improve your language skills that way.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 07:09 AM
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Language: As said, you will go along pretty well with English - probably better than with poor German. If you want to learn the language, family immersion is the best way. You may ask the Berlin club of Friendship Force if a Berlin family is willing to host you for a week:

Friendship Force Berlin e.V.
Heike Gempf
Hessenring 25, 12101 Berlin
Telefon: +49(0)30-7857125
Email: berlin(at)

Location: Anywhere in walking distance to an U-Bahn or S-Bahn station will be good.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 10:04 AM
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Just wondering why not locate in some smaller burg in Germany where English isn't familiar? Then you are immersed in the language. Also likely a more lovely place than Berlin.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 02:59 PM
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Hannover and the area around it is where the "best" German is spoken. In a lot of places (including cities like Berlin and Munich), there is a marked local accent or dialect which is not so helpful for people in early stages of learning the language.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 03:03 PM
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 03:04 PM
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you might find this useful!
annhig is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2013, 04:07 PM
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My local library carries a CD set called Speak German by Michael Thomas.

It's been very helpful to me and I've gotten so much better at confusing people because they really do believe I speak German.

The problem is, of course, when people speak back to you. I think you'll find people very helpful. A lot of young Berliners speak English but you'll go a lot further if you get some basics.

Many times people have said to me, "if you want to practice German that's fine." I always take them up on it.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 04:13 PM
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I've done a language course in Germany - in Göttingen, actually, which is not far from Hannover. It's a university town and that fact means that there is a lot of interaction between the students and the pupils from the language school, so lots of opportunities to practice with like-minded people. It also has a lot of cheap food options and the nightlife is very good, lots of pubs and clubs.

I do think it's a good use of your money - you learn a lot, and you are living in the culture, you're not only a tourist. In my case I learned skills that I've used in my profession my whole life, and I still visit Germany regularly. Do look into language schools (Sprachschulen) in Berlin. In many cases you will be able to be billeted with families, which is another good immersion opportunity, as traveller1959 says. There is usually ample time in between lessons to visit local attractions, sometimes with groups organised by the language school. In my school lessons were between 8am and 12noon, leaving you afternoons to do what you wanted or needed, including homework! There is also a difference between schools in terms of what you pay, so if you are on a budget, shop around.

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Old Jun 16th, 2013, 02:38 AM
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yes, here's another vote for Michel Thomas, who i used to learn both spanish [to a very low level] and Italian which I have taken a lot further. I haven't done the german course but I'm sure that it would help you to get the basics.
annhig is offline  
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