Ending my Journey

I am now approaching the very end of my SLA experience. I am quite proud of the language skills that I have accumulated, as well as the rich culture that I have been able to immerse myself in. I have continued along with many of the strategies that I described in previous blog posts, including the flash cards and extensive writing exercises. I feel much more comfortable starting up conversations with locals, which I have found is an excellent strategy for language acquisition. Learning from a native speaker is wonderful, but it is often very formal. Hearing how the average German speaker talks is invaluable in deciding how I should actually speak. While my vocabulary had been improving rapidly, it was only through this strategy that I have been able to confidently discern the connotations of certain words and when a layperson would use them in a conversation. A final incredible cultural experience that I had was going to see a Bayern Munich game. The team is wholly beloved by the city, and I had heard locals rave about the team and the sport so often that I decided I had to see it for myself before leaving. The atmosphere at the game was incredible. I spoke to the fans around me, many of whom had grown up watching the team. Their passion was infectious, and they taught me many of the cheers for Bayern Munich, as well as the soccer terms that Germans used. While this wasn’t something that my class would have taught me, it is certainly an important part of the culture and something that would come up regularly in a conversation with the average German sports fan. I am quite pleased with the progress I have made with the language during the SLA experience, and I believe that the language acquisition skills that I have learned and practiced extensively will allow me to succeed throughout the rest of my German classes back at Notre Dame.