Knowing Deutsche Welle (DW)
In 2011, I was studying my master’s in Chemical Engineering at Technical University of Denmark. With participation in different activities, I was knowing more about European Union. In may 2011, I voluntarily opted to work during my free time at European Daily (a news website gathering news from different resources of Europe). I joined business section and later became head of this section with a pan-European team of 6-7 members. It is here, I got to know DW for the first time as one of the reliable source of getting information about Germany.
Germany has always been my favorite destination due to my strong inclination towards science & technology. In October 2011, I got opportunity to participate in 9th European Regions of Parliament at October 2011 as university representative. In Brussels at the largest decision making body of Europe, I discussed many different issues related to the future of EU and met decision makers came all across the Europe. Looking at my interest in Environment, ability to tackle complex challenges at international scale and knowing so much about EU in just 2 years without being from there, a person from German trade association advised me to come to work in Germany. I asked what do I need ? He smile and said, you have all the qualifications, just brush up your German!
Start: Most of the European people I have met were fluent in more than one language and I always wanted to be like them. In my effort to become multilingual, I tried to learn Danish during my stay in Denmark. Combing this experience and my interest, I have started searching free online resources for learning. I took advise of the German delegate seriously and by early November 2011, I have found German Language courses on DW. There were plenty of courses to study German but which one to choose? I settled on Deutsch Interactive to start with as it was building things from basic. Later, I have also used Audio Tutor, Top Thema and Video Thema partially. Despite being very old, series like Wieso Nicht, Warum Nicht and Marktplatz were very good to enhance my vocabulary.
Defining self-learning path post Denmark: In March 2012, I have returned to India after finishing my graduation. The idea of learning German just got a temporarily pause, when I have started to prepare for my ‘Zero Cost MBA(Global Manager for 21st Century’ to equip myself with the skill sets needed to become a 21st century global manager. Knowing few important world business languages is a must for such manager and German was one among them. With that, I resumed my German learning back at my home town.
Difficulties at my home small home town
It gave me a tough task, as not many people were speaking English, so enrolling in German school and getting something done easily was out of question. It was difficult task to learn things on my own, especially when negative perception about German being difficult is so much profound on internet. I decided to take this challenge and turned towards virtual world for my learning. It was very difficult during first 5-6 months.
Getting read of perfection syndrome
I wanted to be perfect in grammar, writing and speaking and gave too much focus on rules like an Engineer. This perfection syndrome was bad, as I have failed many times in achieving anything and realized that even after working hard, did not reach anywhere after 5-6 months. I rethink my methodology and stopped looking for perfection. I started to give more on making it enjoyable experience, laughing on each of my mistakes and just tried to reach a comfortable level in German rather than becoming like a perfectionist.
Developing new methods and tools: I tried to immersed myself totally into German and developed many tools & methods to do it. I started to listen German audios on my mobile phone while going for walk, traveling in the bus or during my leisure time. At my home, I watched Deutsche Welle-German on TV to listen commentaries in German. Using the language exchange website, I have found native Germans and had regular language exchange with them on German-English. I have practiced along side German movies on You-Tube to improve my listening and pronunciations. I have developed many different tool-kits to make my learning enjoyable and engaged with other learners on virtual platforms (like Facebook). It was very bumpy ride and checked my patience at each step but I enjoyed this journey of self-learning a foreign language. Although, I still gets confused with grammar rules like differentiating between akkusative and dativ, but that’s why German is different and beautiful language. You can never think of achieving perfection, there is always a room for improvements.
Taking learning further: After working hard for 12-14 months, I have reached a good level in German. Since then, I have used methods and methodologies developed while learning German to study Spanish and Russian. My long term aim is to know at least 4-5 foreign languages at communication level at either basic or comfortable level. It is my extreme desire to come to Germany and practice this language with native speakers. Hope, one day my dream will become true.