Before landing in Germany, I had about 40 hours of private German tutoring. This may sound like a lot, and in some cases it is, but at the time I was also working almost 60 hours/week, and taking MBA courses (and final exams) in the evening. So my German retention was not so good.
Upon arrival in Germany, the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program enrolled us at the did Deutsch-Institut, and the real learning began. We had three intense hours each morning, in a class of 6-8 beginner Boschies. After a quick 45 minute lunch break (normally a picnic lunch on the roof deck), we returned for another 1.5-3 hours of specialized training, covering grammar, business, conversation, and phonetics. I remember one or two college professors telling me they once took a summer to learn German, and I’d always wondered how that was possible, given Mark Twain’s famous dismay at the language’s difficulty.
But I did it. After two months of language school, I am at an intermediate level. After six weeks, I had an hour and a half business meeting completely in German (and I understood at least 60% of it). Needless to say, I highly recommend did, for its teachers, training, and location, in Berlin’s central Mitte district.
Above, I’m pictured with several Boschies and two of our favorite did teachers, Jochen and Catharina (third and fifth back, on the right). This was our celebratory picnic night at Rüdesheimer Platz, in western Berlin, another place I highly recommend.
You can bring your own food, and order wine from the counter. Vineyards are on a two-week rotation, allowing you to try many different styles and brands. Jochen is a wine expert, with a side business in wine sales, so he’s an excellent teacher for both wine and German. Perfection.
When I’m older, and tell people that I spent a summer learning German, I won’t make it so mysterious or wondrous as it was presented to me. “I had great teachers at a great language school in Berlin.” Hm, maybe that is pretty magical after all…