Radolfzell: Week Two

This week, I focused on trying to speak more in class and with other local people. While I did speak more, I was often frustrated by my lack of vocabulary. I know plenty of words, but I never seem to have the right one when in conversation. Outside of class, people still recognize that I do not speak German well, even if I only said a simple sentence or question. I think this is due to my hesitation and the speed at which I speak. Because I want to be clear and pronounce words correctly, I often speak very slowly, even for shorter, simpler sentences. I am working on the rhythm of my speaking, because I feel it will help me communicate more clearly with other people and get a better feel for the German language. I have also been getting more comfortable conversing with the local people. When they ask me questions in stores or on the streets, we usually end up having a conversation about Germany and how I like it here. Most people can guess that I came to Radolfzell to study at the CDC, so they usually are nice about mistakes in my speaking and will continue speaking in German with me.

I enjoy going to class at the Carl Duisberg Center. We learn a lot of grammar concepts every day, which is very interesting to me, especially when I compare German grammar and English grammar. We also cover a wide variety of topics and the diversity of people in my class contributes to making class interesting. I get to hear about experiences from people around the world. It is interesting to see how their perspectives and opinions are different from and similar to mine, especially in regards to the upcoming US election. Another nice thing about going to class each day is the consistency. It helps me maintain a schedule, which helps me feel more comfortable despite being in an entirely different country.

There was another public holiday this week; it was Corpus Christi on Thursday, so we had no class. Although it was nice to receive a break, it was very strange not being able to do anything. Everything, except for some restaurants, close down on public holidays, so there was not much to do other than go to church and eat. There are only two public holidays in the German year that are not religious and Corpus Christi is a solely Catholic holiday, so not all areas of Germany celebrate it.

Overall, it really is the little things that make a difference here in Germany. Just being able to carry a small conversation with a local person can make me incredibly happy, while butchering the pronunciation of a word feels incredibly disheartening. I am trying my best to find a happy medium. I realize I am still learning and should feel proud of improvement and not dwell too much on mistakes. I am definitely making progress in learning German and I could not be happier that I am slowly improving each week. I am already much better at understanding what is said to me, and I plan on trying to read some novels in German.

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