This is a smarterGerman review by student Patrick Boulger.
The Beginning of my German Learning Career
12 months ago with bags packed, passport in hand and butterflies in my stomach i stepped into a plane headed to Germany. I was moving sight unseen to be with my then German fiancée, now wife. Guess how many words I knew. Yup, that’s right, about 5. Bier, Wurst and “Ich liebe dich”. Now I am the proud owner of a TELC B2 certificate with an excellent speaking score.
I was completely new, foreign, dependent and unable to speak the language. Needless to say i had very good reasons to learn as quickly as possible. So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. With a few newly bought language books, a dictionary and naiveness I quickly found out the difficulties, strangeness and complexities were huge and well …terrifying.
Pushing through the difficult beginning phase i managed to achieve a very basic understanding of the A1 maybe A2 levels in about 2 months. 2 months of 4-6 hours daily of self learning and slight interactions with my future in-laws. Month 4 I enrolled in a language course. In order to fulfill the visa and residency requirements I needed to pass the B1 German Language Test allowing me to stay in Germany. Because of my previous self guided learning i scored high enough on the entrance test to start at the B1 level. Saving me about 4 months of time and a lot of money. But i still had 3 months ahead of me.
At first the class was a good change and an opportunity to start using the German language, but it slowly started to become ineffective. First of all it was a 5 hour class 5 days a week. Very time intensive. Secondly there were between 20 and 24 other students. Although it was a culturally rich experience, as we came from all corners of the world, it also meant that each person was at slightly different levels of understanding and capability. And because of that it was quite common that the pace of learning would slow dramatically down to a crawl in order to match the pace of those who were struggling.
So paying a good deal of money, sitting in a class 5 hours a day and learning about 2 hours worth of information, it was clear that i was under-utilising my time, money and energy. I am not going to beat around the bush with this. German is a complex, specific, and very demanding language. However so is any language if you are not guided properly either by yourself (one of the few) or a teacher. Better yet a teacher that brings out the teacher within you. This is were SmarterGerman comes in.
smarterGerman taught me to how to learn efficiently
I came across this youtube video explaining simply and clearly when and why to use different past tense forms of verbs. The teaching was clear, the method was effective and it took about 5 minutes of my time. I was hooked. I went through all his videos. Each one gave me more insights into the German language as well as his teaching methods. Shortly later i started learning from him. Since i was already halfway towards achieving my B1 Certificate we set a goal of reaching B2. In the end after 45 lessons spread across 30 sessions I obtained both my B1 and B2 Certificate, feel much more confident and have a strong foundation that enables me to continue learning on my own.
Michael’s teaching methods are creative, effective, and quick. He is the teacher I needed and wanted. He taught me techniques to learn, showed me the short cuts and the patterns. He has passion for his language and sharing it. He challenged me to utilize his methods to become my own teacher. He saved me time and brought the language to life.
It’s way Simpler than they Say
German doesn’t have to be as hard as many make it out to be. I am 100% positive I could have saved even more money, time and a lot of headache had I started learning from Michael from the start. If you want to learn the language be smart about it. Invest your time, money, and energy with Smarter German.