This week, we get advice from students enrolled in German classes at South Mecklenburg High. Twelve of the students will be traveling to Germany for a week in mid-June, where they will live with host families and attend Gottlieb-Daimler-Realschule, a German school in Schorndorf. Here, they share their tips on learning German and thoughts about traveling abroad.
Q: What is your favorite German phrase?
Nathan Fisher: Der Hubschrauber landet auf meinen Dach. (The helicopter lands on my roof.)
Thomas Dols: Wann du willst meaning, if you want. Im not quite sure why, there must be something appealing about both false cognates in the three-word phrase.
Jennifer Su: Das ist mir Wurst. It literally translates to That is sausage to me, but it means it doesnt matter!
Abie Bonevac: Das ist so fabelhaft! which is, That is so fabulous! Its just fun to say.
Q: Why do you enjoy studying German?
Abie: I enjoy it because its something that most people dont even think about taking. Its all (about) Spanish and French, but what (is) fun about doing what everyone else does?
Nathan: Because unlike English, there are explanations for almost everything about the language.
Lukas Burak Hilgenstock: I was born in Germany. (And) all the people in my family speak either German or Turkish, so it allows me to communicate with a large part of my family.
Jennifer: I really enjoy studying German because English is also a Germanic language, so it helps me in that field. Itll also help me out with a medical career, if I choose to follow that path. Really though, I enjoy making all these new sounds you dont really hear whilst speaking English.
Q: To be considered wise, what must you know?
Lukas: I think you need to have a broad vocabulary, which comes from reading books at or above your skill level. You need to know your basics, i.e., grammar, capitalization, etc.
Jennifer: To be considered wise in German to me is knowing all of the definite articles for every noun. There (are) three of them der, die and das in German, whereas in English all we say is the. Its a hassle to learn, and anyone who has memorized all of them definitely has my respect!
Rhianno n Williams: Its the same with any language, you need to know the slang!
Q: How can youth be successful?
Nathan: Start (learning German) early and learn to speak it first. Writing should come to you as you speak because the language is phonetic.
Lukas: Just have a positive attitude, and realize that youre not going to walk out of class after the first week as a German major. It takes practice.
Q: Are you nervous about traveling abroad?
Jennifer: Ive already talked to my (host) family student beforehand. She is 14 and likes Justin Bieber and shopping.
Stormy Boutwell: No, this is going to be an adventure.
Q: What are you looking forward to experiencing in Germany?
Most of the students said German food. Heres what Jennifer had to say:
Jennifer: I have been vegetarian for a year, but Im going to eat meat while Im in Germany. I also want to eat authentic Black Forrest cake.
Q: Whats one thing worth remembering in tough times?
Jennifer: Emil Kerbs knew 68 languages perfectly! He studied 120; if he can do it, so can you!