Thinking about Learning German in Basel? Helpful Tips and Resources to Guide You

New Year’s Resolution #1: Learn German! (Again?…)

scrabble-resolutionsYes, it’s mid-January and I’m just now getting around to writing about New Year’s resolutions. But on a positive note, the Christmas tree got put away “early” this year! And by early, I mean yesterday.

In 2016, my resolution was to master German in a year, and I had a very elaborate plan about how to go about it. Spoiler alert: two months later, I was basically the equivalent of those kids on the school bus who gleefully throw their notes out the bus window on the last day of school.

At that time, my husband and I were new to Basel and didn’t have much guidance; in hindsight, a year later it’s easy to see where we went wrong and what we should have done. Despite how far we’ve come in a year, ‘s PWG-Basel’s last Job Hunt Support Group meeting I realized how incredibly valuable social supports and networks are, and how these continue to provide me with valuable information even when I’m confident I’ve already “learned the ropes” so to speak.

For anyone in Basel, new or veteran, looking for German courses for 2017, here’s some tips we discussed at last week’s Job Hunt Support Group meeting:

  1. The women who attended the meeting had positive experiences at the Migros’ Klubschule, Berlitz, and the state-funded Volkshochschule that has three locations: Basel, Weil am Rhein, and Lörrach
  2. If you are unemployed and registered at the RAV (Basel’s unemployment center whose website has an English version), emphasize to your consultant the value German courses can have for your professional prospects and you just might get a course for free.
  3. As per a relatively new law, Basel is giving German course vouchers to newcomers – if you’re new to Basel and aren’t aware of this opportunity, go to the migration office at Spiegelgasse 6 and ask about it.
  4. PWG-Basel will be offering members free German conversation sessions guided by our trainer Martina Klemm. More info here!

Before my first German class, I made a lot of assumptions about what learning German would be like: that I’d pick it up quickly; that private classes were better than group classes; that I could tailor my own method; etc. Now that I know better,
here are some of my personal tips about learning German:

  • Even if you think you learn quickly, German is going to really test your patience – take it slow and don’t rush it
  • Go with the smallest package possible to get to know the trainer and method first
  • Private classes are a waste of time for beginners if your trainer isn’t experienced – group classes at well-known academies are a beginner’s best bet
  • If your trainer isn’t a good fit for you, request a new one – if that trainer isn’t a good fit, change academies

It’s never too late to get started on resolutions! Many thanks to our Job Hunt Support Group attendees who shared such valuable tips and helped me write this post. Don’t miss our next Job Hunt Support Group meeting Friday January 20th!

What has your German-learning experience been like? Tell us in the comments below!

Disclaimer: PWG-Basel is in no way affiliated with the German academies listed in this post.


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