Thursday, December 06, 2012

Practice German with Friends

A great way to improve your knowledge of a language is to speak it with natives. This isn't always easy to do, especially with a language like German. Many Germans, Austrians and Swiss speak English, and rather than hear you massacre their language will try to "help" you by switching to English.
So a program where you stay with local families and take some language classes is an ideal way to improve your knowledge and fluency. Friendship Force ( is offering a German language learning exchange with homestays in Cottbus and Varel, Germany in June, 2013.
Barbara Stonebrink-Martin, who is organizing the program, said "All the hosts have been on similar programs to learn English, so they know what is expected." The two-week exchange costs $1300, plus air fare and insurance. Not cheap, but reasonable.
It is hard to generalize about Friendship Force trips, because each experience is different. All the hosts are unique, as are the travellers. You may find yourself staying in a small apartment or a mansion, in the city or the country.
I have only taken one Friendship Force trip so far, but enjoyed it very much and am tempted by this one. If they had one for learning Russian, I would definitely sign on.
I suspect this one will be good because it is taking place in smaller towns where knowledge of English is not so common. And Cottbus is near the border of Poland in the former East Germany, which adds a level of difference.
If you are interested, you need to pay a deposit by Feb.1.


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