A lot of people who arrive in Berlin do not speak German at all. For Dutch people like me it is not very hard to understand German but for many others it will be a totally new language. Because it will be very benificial to learn the language of the country you living in, we have selected some cheap ways to learn German in Berlin.
Why learn German anyway?
Entschuldigung?. This was one of the German words I used a lot in the first months I lived in Berlin. I was able to understand most women at that time but it was very hard to understand some men. In public places I was treated as a tourist and it was hard to connect to the locals in Berlin. Speaking (a bit of) German is very important and will definitely make your daily life easier in Berlin. Besides that it will open up many job-oppurtinities in German companies.
Learn German in Berlin: My tips
Below you can find some helpful tips for people who want to learn German in Berlin. We focused on the cheapest ways because many young people and students arrive in Berlin and they are usually on a budget.
Tip 1: Start straight away
Although this might sound like an open door, it is is really a helpful tip. I live in Berlin about 5 years now and I did not start learning German before the third year. In these first years I developed a lot of bad habits in the German language. After that getting rid of these mistakes was very hard and took me a lot of time. Therefore it makes sense to start learning German as soon as you arrive in Berlin.
Tip 2: Be surrounded by Germans
Although Berlin is a multicultural city, there are still a lot of Germans in the city as well. My tip is to try and connect to them and meet them on a regular basis. It is invite a lot of people from home and speak your mothertongue the whole time, but this does not help you with learning German. Therefore it is best to take the step and find some German friends. Or just try to get a job in a company who has an international and German department and have lunch every day with the German team.
Tip 3: Use a tandem
The previous tip is easier said than done. You cannot just walk up to a German and say “Do you wanna be my best friend?”. But lucky for you there is another way: You can find yourself a tandem. A tandem will teach you his/her mothertongue and in the same time you will teach him/her yours. Obviously you have to be lucky with the tandem you find but it is a free and very useful way to learn German and get to know new people. There is a facebook-group which focuses on tandems in Berlin.
Tip 4: Watch/Read German books and movies
Another way to learn German for free is watching German movies and reading German books. You can start with children-books and easy programs and you will recognize how fast you getting the hang of it. In the beginning it will be hard but this is definitely one of the most comfortable ways to learn German.
Tip 5: Let someone explain the German grammar
The first four tips are helpful and cheap, but it will not help you that much with the German grammar. You will probably only get the hang of the German grammar when you are very talented and disciplined or when you get a teacher. Obviously you can do it the traditional way with a course, but there are easier and cheaper methods these day. There are websites who make it possible to study in your own environment and whenever you have time. Lingoda is one and of them and I personally like their method because you can schedule your week just the way you want. Besides that an advisor will be assigned to you and you can decide yourself if you want to study in a group or in a private session.
I hope these tips will help you a bit when you are planning to learn German in Berlin. All of them are quite cheap but make sure you still choose the one which fits you the most. Sometimes it is better to invest some money in the beginning so you learn the right basics. Viel erfolg!