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  • Writer's pictureHannah Bywater

Learning German

Taking my first german course in Bern, Switzerland

Learning high German in Switzerland is not an easy thing to do. Before coming to Switzerland I knew they spoke Swiss german but what I didn't know is that in every canton (like their province/state) they speak different Swiss dialects. Needless to say it has been hard to understand what is going on. I will get the hang of it eventually.

I started taking a 4 week intensive German course in Bern. I live in Fribourg and it is quite the adventure to get from my house to the classroom in Bern. It takes an 1hr and 15mins on 4 different types of transportation, each way. First I bike to the bus stop and then I take the bus to the train station. I have to be sure to be on time because if I am even a minute late I will have missed the train. It is a 30 minute train ride to Bern and then from that station I take a tram that drops me off just a 5 minute walk down the street from the classroom.

I have really been enjoying the course a lot. The teacher is great. She makes our lessons really fun and takes us on field trips around the city. We visited the Einstein house, the parliament building, the Aare river which runs through city and a church with a beautiful view point that overlooks Bern. The course is specifically for exchange students so it has been really great for making new friends. The students come form all over the world (Peru, Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, Brazil, Guinea, Russia, USA and Canada) and everyone has something unique to add to our learning environment. Despite any of our differences we all went from being strangers to friends in just a couple of days. Many people in the course don't speak english so we are forced to practice our german in order to communicate with each other.

There is a lot to the german language but the course has been very helpful for learning the basics. My vocabulary is growing quickly and I am getting good at conjugating verbs. My biggest struggle has been with learning the nouns because they all have genders. Similar to french with masculine and feminine but german also has a neutral gender. Unlike french the rules to matching the gender with the noun is not that easy. It has been a guessing game for me half the time but people understand what I am trying to say.


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