So off I go to the first day of Class. We met our teacher Herr Albert, a very orderly gentleman. We learned quickly the meaning of “duzen” and “Siesen” and which form of address is apropriate. He was fine with all students using the “du” or familiar version with him even if he was older than the students. We laughed about how he technically was supposed to refer to me in the “Sie” form, since I was a few years older than him but he technically pulls rank as the master teacher.
The 15 students in the class are an array of Deutsche Welle watchers: Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, India; Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France and Portugal; Mexico and U.S. I was pleased to be the only native from the U.S. Most of the 20-30 something male students are studying German because it is job related and banking on their future in Germany; (most of the girls are studying for cultural or social reasons based on their statements); one or two are business related and are slightly older.
A few vignettes: a floor layer from Bulgaria who works in Meissen is taking the class to improve his grammar. He is largely self-taught, is reasonably fluent, and left his country due to lack of work. He installs carpet, wood, and other flooring materials in private residences. He says the retirees speak too fast for him to understand them.
A girl from Mexico is here for cultural purposes. She’s also fairly fluent, a very good contributor to the class, helps everyone, and is very outgoing. She even tutored students to pass into the next class!
My teacher is an old hand around the Goethe Institute and speaks multiple languages. He studied in England for a year. One of our assignments was for us to introduce each other and I was assigned to him. He has kept us from getting bored by varying each day, playing a lot of games and role-playing.
Photos, from top:
1. Exterior of the Goethe Institut, conveniently located at a tram stop that identifies the Institute in the Neustadt district where many students live and study music, art, engineering and language
2. Inside dining area
3. First day sign up for how to get work in Germany
4. More student interaction in the lobby