30 September 2007

English, German and a splash of Chinese

It was an up and down week of excited smiles and deer in the headlight stares. This week can also be marked down in the history of my life as my first week as an English Conversation Teacher. Well, the term "teacher" is a little strong. I'm more of the leader, mediatator, or native English speaker the corrects spoken grammar! But nevertheless I was the head of a classroom and really had a great time.

In this short week, I have come to realize the challenges language teachers can face. I have many students who are so ecstatic to speak English and eager to chat away. While other students who give you a look like "I seriously have to speak English to you," or who would rather write a 100 page thesis paper then speak two words in Conversation class. But the non-talkers are going to be interesting. I'm excited to see their progress, I'm excited to help them break out of there shy shells and I'm excited to help them become eager to speak English.

I may love leading Conversation English but it's refreshing to get out of my English speaking niche and hang in the German world. Or for me instead, I live in like little Asia in Germany. Most of my roommates are from China and I also share an office with Ling, the Chinese Language and Culture teacher! She is so fun and has so much energy all the time. It's funny, because they will be all speaking in German to each other and I'll be excited because i'm understanding a little whats going on, Then out of now where it's rapid Chinese, and then I'm completely lost. Let's just say there is a very good chance I'll learn more about the traditions and customs of China than Germany. But either way, I am learning something new and loving every minute of it.

Last but not least a status update on my conversational German. Oh man! I have some much respect for my students. I understand what is like not to know how to say something or get frustrated when you can say what you want because you don't know the word in the language. Yes, everyone for once I find times I am speechless. No but I'm starting to understand more and more when people speak to me or I hear something on the radio or I see a sign on the street. There is progress...not much but some!

So When in Germany...never give a sweet little Chinese Lady and an American girl vague directions in a German city. We are bound to get lost but we can always find the shopping mall, which ironically is in an old castle. It's like a girl's fairy tale...gorgeous castle, shopping, the only thing missing is the handsome prince. hahahah

20 September 2007

Navigating Germany....

Ok to start...Lets just say this blog took me an extremely long time to step up. But here I am, I have navigated though the big German words and now ready.....the question is are you ready!

I have been in Germany for two weeks and have faced some major challenges. I know that the language barrier would be something I might struggle with. But it's really is amazing how much you learn in a few days when you are submersed in the culture. Granted I'm somewhat angry with my self. I feel like I have wasted 2 weeks, without much progress in my conversational German. I need to speak more! That's the only way I'm going to learn! Its amazing how excited you get when you go somewhere, use your German skills on a real German and you get what you asked for! I hope to be able to write part of this blog in German by the end of several months

But I"m living in mid northern Germany between Hanover and Berlin in a small city called Wolfenbuettel, very close to Wolfsburg where Volkswagen factory is located! It's been such a pleasure, the people are friendly and the town gorgeous. The town is inter weaved with small walking streets with cobblestones, flowers everywhere, house painted decorated traditionally. I recommend this part of Germany to everyone. The atmosphere is positive and wouldn't wish to change locations.

With two weeks behind me, I'm looking forward to actually meeting Germans. It's been international week so I have been hanging out and getting to know students from all over the world. Hungary, Mexico, China, Brazil, South Africa, Malaysia...really everywhere but looking forward to meeting the locals!

Preparing for my third week when my English Conversation classes begin. I have never taught anything beside Taekwondo so I'm a little apprehensive. But after several meetings with the students, I'm also so excited. Most of them seem eager to get started and I hope we can just have some fun and talk! That's the main point for Conversational English. Until next time.....

So when in Germany.....talk as much German as you can and don't be afraid to mess up.