I attended a German-language course after the closing meeting of the 2016/17 schoolyear, during the period before the beginning of the 2017/18 schoolyear. On Sunday, July 30, 2017, I traveled to Regensburg by car as a passenger. I spent 2 weeks there, I came home on Saturday, August 12th, also by car, the journey lasted 8-9 hours.
The school’s address is Rote-Hahnen Gasse 12, located in the heart of the historic city center where all the attractions of the city were in a walking distance. My room in the language school was on the fourth floor at the same level as the school. The rooftop room had a small bathroom and there was a small fridge in the room. There was a common, fully equipped kitchen and a dining room for the residents. The kitchen also had a coin-operated washer and a dryer.
The host institution is called Horizonte Language School, here native speakers teach German to non-German-speaking language learners. The age group is 17-77 years. Groups between 4 and 12 are taught on a weekly basis. Lessons are between 9 am and 12.30 pm with a half hour break. As I had an intensive course I had lessons in the afternoon with a different teacher. In the first week I was assigned to a language group level A1 but I changed to a level A2 group the second week.
In the language school, they organized different programs for students in the afternoons or evenings. On Monday there was a sightseeing and then an evening conversation in one of the local beer gardens. On Wednesdays there were longer programs, first time we went to Walhalla by ship. It is a huge building similar to a Greek church, where statues of people who enhanced German culture were exhibited. On the second Wednesday we visited the local BMW factory, where we had a 2-hour German-language tour, which was extremely interesting. I would have had the opportunity to go to the theater and to go to Munich on Sunday, but I did not attend these programs. On the second Tuesday we were cooking with the help of an Italian girl. We made and cooked noodles. This was a good opportunity to practice German.
The education in the school is highly communicative, teachers explain as much as is necessary for the understanding. Then the new structures are practiced in pairs and in the group, pronunciation is constantly corrected. Homework is always given in different quantities. Communication tasks are everyday situations, they teach the language that is used including local expressions. They also follow the students’ questions that arise during the lesson so sometimes they move from the original subject to give a good answer and the new words thus learned are included in the material to be learned by the next lesson.
During the afternoon intensive lessons, the teacher gave thematic vocabulary tasks and asked how and in which skills we would like to develop and she prepare for the lessons according to our answer. She asked questions about topics that she thought to be interesting for us. She waited until we finished speaking and gave feedback after that. She drew attention to our mistakes.
The aim of the program was achieved, and I felt that my linguistic competencies have evolved. I’m happy with the language course. It was a good language practice that was in accordance with my expectations, communicative with considerable amount of grammar practice.
Some of the methods I have seen during the two weeks such as how to use and fill the plain flashcards I would use during this schoolyear. All the new words learned in the lessons can be clearly found and practiced by the students. This type of international language training can help the self-confidence and language skills of colleagues, this way supporting teachers in participating in international programs.