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Learning German in Upper Austria

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.

Adventuring in 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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About GG

Gundolf Graml is Associate Prof. and Dir. of German Studies at Agnes Scott College. He has a Ph.D. in German Studies from the University of Minnesota and has published articles on German and Austrian film and tourism. He is currently writing a book about tourism and Austrian national identity after 1945. Other research projects include critical whiteness studies and, most recently, investigations into the connection between memory and nature. At ASC, Gundolf Graml teaches courses on a broad range of topics, from German 101 to German and Austrian Cinema and Afro-German History and Culture.

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