7 Tips to learn German whilst living in Berlin

The startup environment exploded in London, however the high living costs turned Berlin into a more attractive location for aspiring to be entrepreneurs and young companies. Slowly things have changed in terms of the living costs, however the amount of emerging companies keeps growing year by year, creating a higher demand of talent and specialists that cannot be covered within the country. This has led to companies hiring abroad and helping employees with relocating and working visas so that they can get the best talent regardless or borders. In the past, when relocating to Germany, most foreigners and expats were making the effort to learn some German. However, with such a high international presence, the trend of switching to English becomes a very stronger and more prominent option across cities like Berlin.

1. Enroll in German classes

This is the classic step to take in order to become better at any language or any skill in general. Attending regular classes can be a very traditional framework to use, but also very effective. The grammar, being asked to talk out loud and the obligation to finish homework can turn that sometimes boring activity into a neuroplastification. If you really want to take it seriously, go for the medal: targeting a title or certificate can be a good motivation to keep you going.

Start small and grow as you go. The most important success factor is to attend every class you can, even if you’re exhausted. Just showing up can passively influence your learning experience. There are many different language schools that you can look up walking around the city or comparing online reviews, some examples are: Deutsche Akademie, the Goethe Institut, die Deutschule, etc.

2. Switch your addictive apps such as Instagram or cryptocurrency live charts for Duolingo or Babbel

Screen monitoring tools available in your phone can tell you a lot about how you spend your time and in most cases there will be a very clear app that is distracting you from your offline life and your focus. Be it scrolling through Instagram, playing Fortnite with other online users, reading sports news or checking the value of bitcoin. Stay away from them and get hooked to some learning apps. They tend to have some gamification that makes the learning experience more enjoyable. The progress is fluent and the learning experience becomes much more user friendly than just facing an annoying book by yourself.

3. Get rid of your VPN and adapt your Netflix to German or switch to Sky TV

It’s very difficult to attempt a conversation in the street when you cannot understand what people are saying. Getting your hearing used to the language is very beneficial for your progress. Whenever watching TV, use the subtitles option to guide you a little bit better through the movies or show. It will help you associating the words to the phonetical pronunciation and even to associate the meaning to whatever is happening in the movie.

It is great to use VPNs to have access to content from across the globe without having to physically be present in the region. However if your brain knows there’s always the easy path to switch to a more interesting show, in English, you won’t be disciplined enough to make your brain work on a recurring manner. It is a natural habit for your brain to work in a passive mode as a way to make less effort and save energy.

4. Surround yourself with other German people instead of visiting the classic expat locations

Hanging around the cafes and bars that you found through TripAdvisor is convenient and easy. How about trying a new place in a new neighbourhood? Just like you wouldn’t write a review of the bar you have your daily coffee in on a traveling app, other locals might not recommend the places they go to in traveling apps. You can look for other types of places recommended by local guides in Google Maps. A good KPI for a German frequented area, is the presence of cash only payments. Those places don’t care as much about tourists, which require the convenience of using a credit card, and is reflected with payments being restricted to cash.

5. Meet local friends instead of always going with international group

Sign up for meet-ups where the titles or descriptions sound German enough. Obviously when meet-ups are tech or startup related, the titles will probably use some big and fancy English words, but the description should be German! This will give you an idea that the event won’t be hosted in English, putting yourself in the situation that might push you to attempt pronouncing the word “Wahrscheinlichkeit”. Check that the comments of people are also done in German, you can always open Google Translate and use the voice recognition option if you feel that things become too hard to handle.

6. Visit Notes of Berlin and check out the latest notes available

Rather than showing anger and bursting into flames, Berlin citizens have discovered a very enjoyable and therapeutical solution into writing passive aggressive notes for their neighbours or people surrounding them in general. The content is hilarious and it can be a nice and fun source of motivation to learn by translating content.

7. Learn German during a painting event or gardening event with more local people

Sign up for some kind of class where you can meet new people living in the city. Doing something with your hands can be an interesting experience whilst listening to a German speaking teacher guide you step by step. If you are interested in learning how to paint whilst having some drinks and getting to know new people, joining an ArtNight can be an interesting experience for you. The material is included in the experience and professional artists will guide you through the process and will explain in real time the steps that you need to take to create a great art piece with acrylic paint.

There are many different themes to choose from, interesting venues to discover and a nice art work to take home with you and decorate your new home. If shapes and colours are not your thing, perhaps creating decoration with plants and natural material can be interesting for you. You can make a living wall frame, a macrame plant hanger or a macrame dream catcher which you can take home with you afterwards.

Art events in Berlin