Is German too difficult for expats?

eingetragen in: English, Erfahrungen

Just the other day I read an extremely interesting Insider Report by InterNations about how expats see their life in Germany. On the over all ranking list Germany comes in 17th. However, what worries me is, that the tendency is dropping: In 2014 it came in 12th, just short of making it into to Top 10 of the favorite expat destinations, and in 2015 it already dropped to rank 16.

Why come to Germany?

Why do expats move to Germany in the first place? Most of them do so because they found a job here. And I am extremely happy to find, the those who moved for love come in second place. After all, my mother did so too, more than fifty years ago. The benefits seem to be the job market, good infrastructure and high general living standards. People feel safe here, and perceive the cultures as generally children-friendly.

What makes life difficult in Germany?

So what is it, that make life difficult in Germany? For one thing, the Germans are not famous for being friendly. And so many expats find the German language so difficult to learn. However, at work they can stick to English, which most of the educated Germans speak quite well. Parents, though, will notice quite fast, that for the sake of their children not attending an international school, it is advisable to understand and speak some German. And it's more difficult to learn as an adult than as a child being completely immersed in the German culture at kindergarden or school.

How expats learn German easily

Watching the children pick up German with ease while the parents are struggling can be very frustrating. However, there are ways to help expats learn the language with more fun:

  • Consider watching TV or videos with your children. For Videos you can work with sound in your native language, or in German with subtitles in your language. You will start picking up important words and grammatical structures quite fast.
  • Consider taking language lessons - there are plenty of language schools in any of the bigger towns and cities. Some companies also support employees wanting to learn the language by introducing a private language teacher and letting you use a meeting room for class.
  • Consider finding a tandem partner to create opportunities for speaking in German, or pracice your language skills while shopping etc.

A lot of adults remember struggling at learning a foreign language at school, but this memory should not hinder you now. There is actually a tool, that will help you to make fast progress in learning German. It's the ISONO device, in combination of which Gateway to Language learning offers German besides English, Spanish and Japanese for the time being (more languages are in preparation). Click here to find out more about this opportunity to learn German with ease, just like your kids.