1. Education

Ten Ways to Keep Your German "rostfrei"
Part Two: From ePals to Tutors

FIVE MORE TIPS > Part 1, Part 2

In Part One we offered Tips 1-5. Before going on to items 6-10, let's discuss one of the more obvious—and more expensive—methods of keeping your German-language skills in tip-top condition. We didn't include this idea in our Top Ten because we were aiming at German-learners who are not able to visit a German-speaking country on a regular basis.

But if you can afford it, a trip to Austria, Germany, or German Switzerland is certainly the best way to help your German... but only if it is done right. It is quite possible to travel to German Europe without speaking or hearing much German at all. Tourists do it all the time. And since many German-speakers speak English, they tend to make it even more difficult for English-speakers to practice their German. Another good idea for someone who will be in Germany is to take a German language or culture course offered by the Goethe Institute or some some other organization. (For more about the Goethe Institute see this article: Das Goethe-Institut.)

While in German Europe, get the biggest bang for your buck by using, reading, and listening to German as much as possible. And with a little planning you can also return from your German visit with items that will help you continue your exposure to German after your return: books, periodicals, audio/video tapes, etc. Some travelers even bring along an extra bag just to carry such items home.

A cheaper alternative to European travel—the next best thing to being there—is a language camp. One of the best known in the U.S. is Concordia Language Villages' Waldsee Summer Camp for German in Minnesota. For a link to Waldsee and other German summer schools all over the world, see Deutsche Sommerschulen, which includes our German Summer School Directory.

However, if you aren't able to travel just yet, here are the rest of our "Ten Ways to Keep Your German 'rostfrei'"—tips 6-10.


6  Get a German-speaking pen / key pal
We wrote about email pen pals (e-pals) in detail in "German-language Pen Pals." This article also links to various key pal organizations that can be found online.

7  Listen to German audio books and music
Many books in German—from bestsellers to classics—are available as audio books (Hörkassetten). For music, an earlier feature, "The Sound of Music... and Lyrics," discusses how music can aid your German and where to order German CDs or cassettes online. Both Amazon.de and BOL.de offer audio books, music CDs and cassettes in German. Whether you're listening to the latest album by die Prinzen, a collection of Marlene Dietrich classics, Harry Potter in German, or Steven King's Kinder des Zorns, you'll be learning the language. I also recommend the Schau ins Land audio magazine for German from Champs-Elysées (CD or cassette). And don't forget that you can download German music and audio books from the US iTunes store. See this article for details: Downloading German Songs from iTunes.

8  Subscribe to and read print publications in German
Sometimes you would just rather curl up with a real book, magazine, or newspaper in German. If you live in the United Kingdom, it's relatively easy to subscribe to German periodicals. But even in the US or Canada, it is possible—if not cheap—to have German periodicals delivered to your door. Imported German magazines and newspapers are available from German Language Publications and other sources. Also in North America there are regional and local German-language newspapers such as the weekly Neue Presse. Das Fenster is an American monthly magazine in German, published in Athens, Georgia. Amerika-Woche is another German-American publication. We talk about these and other German-language publications in the article German Newspapers in the US. You'll also find many more online and print publications in German under "Reading German" in the column on the left.

9  Watch German movies on video
Help for this tip can be found in our Videostore, offering videos in German. A particularly popular recent German film was "Lola rennt" which is out on video and DVD in North America. We discussed this video in detail in Lola's Running on Video. Another previous feature was devoted to other links and sources for finding videos in German: DVDs/Videos for German. With or without English subtitles—DVDs and videos in German are an entertaining way to build your listening skills.

10  Get a tutor or attend a language school
Sometimes there's a limit to what you can do on your own. And, if you are like most people, being consistent about learning German may prove difficult. Here is where a tutor can help—not only with the language, but with making time for German. If you are paying a tutor to help you with your German, you are more likely to keep up with your studies. Or perhaps it's just a matter of finding it difficult to advance any further without some help. In any case, there are times when a tutor is an excellent idea. See "About the Tutor Directory" for more information and a link to the Tutor Directory itself. Also see our Web links for Language Schools, which also include camps offering German.


We hope you'll find at least some of these ten ideas helpful in keeping your German "rostfrei"! Viel Spaß!

BACK > Part One of this Article

MORE > Are You Listening to German? (Using the Web to Improve Your German)


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