The mistake I made when I left my small French town to do my Erasmus program in Rostock was to overestimate my level in German. For a French person, in France, I can consider having a good level.
I quickly changed my mind the first time I had to speak in German. I simply did not understand anything. The person in front of me did not speak English. This was the first moment of embarrassment that prepared me for a long series of even more embarrassing moments, but it was too late, here I was, I didn’t know anyone, I had to find German friends to practice the language with, and fast. Fortunately, the university has set up different possibilities to practice German, adapted to the means of the different students and efficient. I will tell you about the ones my friends and I have tried before. How can you learn German while meeting new people?
In connection with the University of Rostock, the Sprachenzentrum offers evening courses at all levels in German, but also in several other languages such as English, Spanish, or Russian. (There are also French courses but really don’t try this language. The French don’t know how to do anything but complain, you’d be disappointed). ) The prices of the courses vary depending on whether you are a student or already in the professional world and remain affordable (less than 100 euros per semester for 3 hours per week).
A language test is immediately offered on the site to help you choose the right course. The test is free of charge, and you will only need 1 hour of your time to take it. For students, these courses can earn credit points to help validate the semester.
I enjoy taking these courses because of the academic aspect, it allows me to add these language courses to my schedule and have a regularity in the practice. What is different from my classes in France is that we talk a lot, which surprised me at first. In France, we study a lot of grammar and comprehension but don’t often practice speaking. Once I got used to it, having to talk to my classmates seems obvious and it’s the best way to progress. However, you have to be assiduous and motivated.
The “Tandem Programme” is a program set up by the university to bring together a foreign student who wants to learn German with a German student who wants to practice a foreign language.
You can choose people based on passions you may have in common which helps to start the conversation. Once you have found someone you get on with, you can stay on the phone and talk to each other or meet up to do activities together.
This is a great way to get to know each other and to experience life in Rostock. It is also (and obviously) a very good way to practice a language.
Like the Tandem, the Guardian Partnership is a project run by the RSA (Rostocker SeniorAkademie) and consists of meeting native German speakers to practice the language. At the beginning of the year, a gathering is organized so that everyone can meet each other. The difference is that the native Germans are already retired. The challenge with them is that we can’t use a back-up language if you are missing a word, they will only speak to you in German and only understand German.
Besides being probably the most effective way to learn German and the region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the elderly people you meet are mostly friendly. You will be able to have a real human exchange while discovering the other’s culture.
All these programmes are available on the website of the University of Rostock, you can of course register for all three programmes or only for one of them. Life is too short to learn German, so don’t be afraid to give it a try. I have chosen to show only the most important ones, but campus life is quite active, and it is still easy to meet people if you pay attention to the events organised by the student associations.
Sprachenzentrum and Tandem: https://www.uni-rostock.de/en/international-affairs/outgoing/language-learning/
Guardian Partnership: https://www.rsa.uni-rostock.de/projekte/partnership/auslaendische-studierende-international-students/