I know you might be thinking that German is too difficult, that you’ll never learn it. So, you say to yourself “why make the effort?”
I worked with a lot of students (15+ years worth), so I may know what might be going on in your head. You might be holding onto some mental grudges that are stopping you from moving forward. Don’t worry, it’s completely normal to have concerns.
Here are a few common questions and concerns you might have and the answers to help you make your decision:
Q: What’s so great about German?
A: I know what you might be thinking: “German is a language no one wants to learn or needs to learn – the whole world speaks English anyway.” But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
When it comes to travel and culture:
For one thing, a lot of people speak German – over 120 million people worldwide and almost a quarter of all Europeans speak the language. Within the European Union, more Europeans are native speakers of German than any other language. It’s even been proclaimed as the official language of Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.
And if you really want to experience the HEART of European culture, German is the key. You might be keen to explore the vibrant culture of cities like Berlin, Munich, and Cologne, or to thoroughly understand the works of Goethe, Nietzsche, Beethoven, Bach, Freud or Einstein. German acts as your personal gateway to discover all of this and to reshape your vision of the world (Yale University).
When it comes to your education:
As a student, there are over 2,000 scholarships and grants that are awarded to U.S. students each year to help them study abroad in Germany (Yale University). With GAPP (German American Partnership Program), more than 10,000 students visit each other every year.
It is also in second place in the field of scholarly publications and is, therefore, important for scientists and students (Yale University).
When it comes to your career:
With the German language, you have access to the 3rd strongest economy in the world and the #1 exporting nation in the world (Yale University).
If you’re in the U.S., you should know that 1,100+ companies in German-speaking countries have subsidiaries in the United States. These companies account for 700,000 jobs in the USA (Yale University).
By the way, if you looking to snag a job in Europe, you should also know that German speakers are highly sought after: 68% of British employers need employees who can speak foreign languages. 50% of them rate German as useful for their business, placing it on top before French, Spanish, and Mandarin (CBI Education and Skills survey 2012).
With all that, NO WONDER German is the 3rd most popular language taught worldwide (Yale University).
Q: Why learn German when I know it’s going to be really difficult? Why make the effort?
A: If you plan on learning ANY language, there’s going to be some hard work involved – it’s not just going to happen through osmosis alone. So, the real question is: How bad do you want it? What’s your reason to learn German? That’s what’s important know for your decision.
But I still want to say learning German doesn’t have to be difficult. Every language has its challenges, but it doesn’t mean you can’t overcome them. All you have to do is break it down and take a brain-friendly step-by-step approach that helps your brain to make new connections fast. Getting a Neurolanguage Coach®*[link to your ‘Work with Me’ page] gives you great accountability too – so you actually get to work. You will be amazed at what you can achieve.
Learning German can be a whole lot of fun if you approach with the right mindset. It is no harder to speak and write than other languages. English speakers usually find German quite easy to pronounce – both languages share similar linguistic roots. That means that you will find a lot of words that are the same or nearly the same in German and English. That means you’ll have a few shortcuts in the learning process!
“All I can advise is that you keep working at your languages. Foreign languages are exciting and interesting – keep up the hard work, it will be worth it in the end.” – Sir Alex Ferguson, CBE
Q: I’m worried I won’t be able to keep motivated while I’m learning…
A: Here’s the thing: motivation is notoriously known to be a fickle thing. It comes and it goes. Everyone has ups and downs in their learning journey. What you really need to learn the language is to put a system in place – so that learning German becomes an automatic part of your routine – like doing dishes or brushing your teeth.
And a great way to keep that system in place is to TELL SOMEONE ABOUT IT! That way, you stay accountable to getting the work in when you need to. So, tell your family, friends, and co-workers.
You can also make learning German SOCIAL. Connect with other learners to keep each other on track. Desire is all you need along with the learning tools and a S.M.A.R.T. goal. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. When setting your goal, try to experience your desired outcome in your imagination with the help of your senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. Experience it in your imagination, write it down and place it somewhere you can see it every day. This maintains HIGH levels of motivation. Warning: if you don’t do this, you’ll experience frustration when you lose motivation.
If you feel like you need even more accountability, have someone monitor your progress and help you – this is why I make it available for people to hire me as a tutor. It can be me or someone else – as long as you have someone in your corner!
Q: Can you really learn a language like German online?
A: Yes, you can. I started learning English back in the day using video tapes and CDs, and in 2001, I studied English using a virtual programme to prepare for a university exam – and passed with flying colours! Yes, you guessed it, English is not my native language. At the moment I’m taking virtual Spanish classes. I’m the living example that it’s all possible and actually works really well. I don’t have to be at a certain place to receive my session, but can continue studying from wherever I am – as long as I have an Internet connection. I even meet my own Spanish coach on one-on-one sessions online via Skype, a luxury I wouldn´t have access to in many places.
The Internet is an amazing resource, but only if that’s what you intend to do with it. A lot of people get sucked into the Internet and then blame it as being useless and a waste of time. But honestly, it’s what you make of it. You can use it as a tool or as a distraction. Your choice.
Q: Learning a language is very time-consuming. What if I don’t have time?
A: No one “has” time, you make it. If you broke your arm, would you go to the hospital? If you had a deadline, would you block out some hours for the task? If your loved one had a birthday, would you make time to buy a gift?
When you want to do something, you make time for it. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. There is no difference between the time you have per day and the time Barack Obama, Angela Merkel or Heidi Klum have. Plan your time ahead and write it into your schedule, watch an hour less of TV, don’t check your e-mails, or Facebook messages 20 times per day and practice saying “no” to commitments which aren’t a priority for you. If you really want to learn German, you’ll find time to study.
Again, ask yourself: How bad do you want it? Why do you want to learn it? If the outcome you’re looking for is worth the effort, make learning German a priority in your life.
Still got a question that’s burning in your mind that I might’ve missed? You might not be the only one with it! I’d love it if you could ask me via email and if I feel it’s relevant, I’ll post it up on this page so it has the chance to help everyone.