In case you are not following ASC alum Molly Saunders’ blog–which I highly recommend–here’s a great post about the switch from language classroom to real-life immersion, complete with some helpful hints about actual language use in Upper Austria.
So, I’ve been an au pair in Austria for about two months now, and my functional day-to-day German knowledge has exploded. I came in with a strong knowledge base (two semesters at college and a Goethe Institut summer course), but very little real-world practice. Answering questions on a test or in a mock interview set-up is wildly different from being immersed in a German-language environment. My first weeks here, I was sure that whatever people were speaking to me was not German–it bore little resemblance to the “Guten Tag, mein Name ist Sabine” type lessons that fill German textbooks. It was faster, messier, heavily accented, full of colloquialisms and contractions–and I could feel the look of panic on my face whenever someone asked me a question.
I’ve slowly begun to conquer everyday German. I can usually order things, ask for help in stores, retell the events of my day, make…
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