10 Ukrainian Words I Learned in Kiev

Russian and Ukrainian are approximately 60% similar. So, knowing one does help with comprehending the other. However, there are many things that make each language unique. Such as the alphabet, the vocabulary and the grammar. Keep reading to learn more about these differences ❤

 

McDonald’s-ua
Yes, people speak Ukrainian and Russian in Kiev. But advertisements and television programs tend to be in Ukrainian, the official language. Russian and Ukrainian are approximately 60% similar. So, knowing one does help with comprehending the other. However, there are many things that make each language unique. Ukrainian has one more case and an additional imperfective future verb tense. Hooray for declination and conjugation in Slavic languages xD Below you will learn some differences in vocabulary that I picked up in Kiev while I attended Russian lessons for seven weeks.

 

Ukrainian – Russian – English

  1. так (tak) – да (da) – yes 

  2. привіт (pryvit) – привет (privet) – hi

  3. доброго ранку (dobrovo rankoo) – доброе утро (dobroye ootra) – good morning 

  4. доброго дня (dobrovo dnya) – добрый день (dobryy den’) – good afternoon

  5. дякую (dyakooyu) – спасибо (spasiba) – thanks

  6. будь ласка (bud’ laska)– пожалуйста (pozhaloosta) – please/you’re welcome

  7. великий (velykyy) – большой (bol’shoy)- big (false friend: великий means great in Russian)

  8. це (tse) – это (ehto) – this/it

  9. кава (kava) – кофе (kofe) – coffee 

  10. горілка (xhorilka) – водка (vodka)- vodka (Ukrainian “г” has a different sound: “xh” not “g”)

 

Comparison of Ukrainian and Russian alphabets:

ukrainian alphabet

RussianAlphabet

 

Did you know about these Ukrainian words? I’d love to hear from you!
One more thing before I conclude this post: Yes, I am interested in Ukrainian! This year I have also decided to learn some Ukrainian. I won’t be learning the grammar formally like I have done with German, Russian and French, but I do want to learn some basic words and phrases. The language is personally interesting to me since I lived in Kiev and got to know Ukrainian people and culture. Plus, it’s fun to compare the similarities with Russian. I really like Ukrainian so far ❤ Since I don’t plan on studying or working in Ukraine, I don’t see any need learning the language past a B1 level. At most, I’ll probably reach A2. I’ve got a phrase book and two vocabulary books. And I use Duolingo and YouTube. As I go on, I may use other websites and language learning apps. Even though A2 isn’t that high of a level, I look forward to using some Ukrainian the next time I visit Ukraine!
Чудового дня! / Have a lovely day!
❤ Stephanie

Two Exercises for Improving your German Vocabulary

Hello everyone!

Glad to have you on my blog =)

I wanted to share a quick post today with two exercises for improving your German vocabulary. You can use the exercises for any of your target languages, but since I have a B.A. in German, attended all sorts of classes to learn German, tried (nearly) every method to improve my skills, and lived in Germany for a year, I wanted to do a language-learning post for German 😀

My specialty in life would have to be German grammar 😉 Most people are indifferent when it comes to grammar, but I love it! It’s interesting for me to learn about the structure of different languages,  so it’s no surprise that I have predisposition for liking (German, Russian, French) grammar. German grammar seems difficult in the beginning for most learners and that’s the popular opinion around the world, but, in my opinion, it’s much more reliable and logical than French or English grammar. 

I’m not sure if many German learners read my blog, but if you are learning German and have questions, or want recommendations for German learning resources, please feel free to ask in the comments.

 

With the little introduction aside, let’s move on to the two exercises:

Exercise 1:

  1. Write a text in German. For example: a diary entry, a letter to a loved one (imagined or real), a report about something, or an essay on a particular topic.
  2. Try to think and write in German only. There may be some words that you still need to translate, so make a list of the words you need to know.*
  3. Group words from the list together. You can group verbs/adjectives/prepositions together, or words that belong to a particular topic such as “university life.”
  4. Study these words and re-write the text. Here is an essay checklist for writing correctly in German: Essay Writing Checklist. Here is a list of transition words to help with the structure of your essay: Aufsatz Phrases (pdf). Finally, here is another resource that discusses common mistakes students of German make in their writing: Grammar and Usage Advice.

 

*why should you start with German instead of translating? 1) If your goal is to speak German, you have to use German before you get really good at it. Actively using a language is the only way to become “fluent,” so it helps to start thinking, speaking and writing even the most basic phrases and sentences when self-studying. 2) You want to avoid awkward translations. By using German only, you are helping to develop a feeling for correct, natural German. Also, if you are just translating a text instead of trying to see what you know first, your progress will be very slow. 3) If you are an upper intermediate or advanced student, I would suggest translating an essay you have written in your native language into German. You have already developed a feeling for the language, so your main concern is no longer major translation mistakes, but rather limited vocabulary. You may have good grammar and know many words, but are you always repeating them over and over? Translating a text you have written in your native language will give you plenty of opportunities to learn new words and to compare your writing ability in your native and target languages.

 

Exercise 2:

  1. Select a topic (for example: animals, nationalities, professions.)
  2. Jot down words you already know.
  3. Search them online for natural examples from native speakers. For this I recommend: Tatoeba, a collection of sentences and translations or use a dictionary to find related words. I recommend dict.cc.

Let’s use the word Kellner (waiter):

Kellner example
By searching dict.cc, we learned that instead of saying “ich bin Kellner von Beruf” you can also use “arbeiten als.” More colloquial, would be the verb “kellnern.” There are also further collocations like “eine Stelle annehmen.” Dict.cc also gives grammatical information and synonyms at the top of each entry (not shown here.)

 

 

So, how else can you improve your vocabulary in a foreign language? a) Listen daily to native speakers by watching TV shows, the news,  films, or YouTube videos. b) Read daily— you can actively look for new words, or just enjoy the story. Exposure and practice are key.

 

More blog posts I’ve written about learning foreign languages:

 

I hope it helped! I’m going to use the first exercise to help with my French self-study and the second one to expand my Russian vocabulary.

Have a great morning/day/evening,

Stephanie ❤

Tips for Native English Speakers Learning Russian (Part 2)

If the grammar blows your mind, you get tongue-twisted by common words or you still seem to not be able to express yourself, you’re not alone–you have to work hard, but a rich cultural world opens when you understand Russian that will ultimately enrich your life. Immersion is the best thing you can do to unlock this world. Therefore, I suggest these learning options for students of Russian:

For tips #1-5 click here—>

fifth-tip-part-1.jpg

 

As I mentioned in Part 1, Russian is a difficult language to learn. It doesn’t come overnight. You need to be consistent and organized. You have to repeat, repeat, repeat. It also helps to have different resources to keep you engaged; you don’t need to torture yourself–using fun learning options will motivate you so much more than dry grammar theory or difficult texts.

 

6.) Find a song you like and look up the lyrics. Read the Russian text and English translation. I suggest copying the song by hand, but even just reading the text is useful in developing listening comprehension. Your accent, vocabulary and grammar will improve, too. I thought that my love for Russian language was unrequited until I found the band Kino & some Soviet-era films. I studied кино’s lyrics by analyzing grammar, picking out vocabulary words & singing along to get myself speaking more Russian. Now, I can understand songs by the group without having to look up the lyrics.

 

7.) There are so many things happening with Russian grammar. So, memorizing phrases is the best way to get you speaking. Learning 150 nouns (see my article on the topic here) & the conjugation of verbs (+declination of nouns) will also be useful as you go on to build more of your own sentences, but it will be challenging to go from scratch. That’s why it’s useful to build a dictionary of phrases.

 

8.) Russian and English express themselves differently. Trying to translate your English thoughts into Russian speech will require effort. It may lead to slow, incomplete answers. Once you can think in Russian, you won’t have to translate and will be able to speak more naturally. Until you reach this level, however, I suggest that you work on conversation topics. For practice, you can speak daily or write a diary. Think through some basic scenarios, too–like ordering coffee, saying excuse me, and asking different questions. I would try to think/write in as much Russian as possible then translate a few words or ask for corrections. 

 

9.) I mentioned in the first point that regularly listening to music in Russian would help your speaking. Another great thing to do if you want to improve your accent is to read aloud. You have to get past the alphabet and focus on reading some basic words first. But it’s easy to transition to short texts and, later, simple stories. Reading aloud will really improve your flow of the language. You can work on trouble sounds and try to make your accent more Russian by comparing a recording of yourself to native speech.

 

10.) Russian requires some dedicated time spent studying the old-fashioned way. Use books and websites to study grammar. I recommend:

  • A) a LOT of study—patterns, structure, nuances, roots a.k.a grammar tables
  • B) memorization—apply to speech, do exercises, & quiz yourself.
  • C) practice—find a speaking partner, write a journal, speak to yourself daily, read something or learn a few new words every day

 

 

~Stephanie

 

My Resources for Learning French

Dear readers,

My post Why I’m Learning French has been one of your favorites. So, I wanted to share how I am getting on with French 🙂

French is the third foreign language I have studied (after German & Russian.) One thing working in my favor is that I already have my own methods for learning a foreign language as well as experience speaking these languages in Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

However, maintaining multiple languages means not being able to give each individual language as much time. Getting past the beginner’s plateau takes patience, love and hard work no matter how “easy” the language is.  🙂

This post–as you can tell from the title–will cover my resources (all books) for learning French. If you aren’t learning French, I would still recommend sources like these for beginner students of European languages. Together, they function as a system: textbooks, workbooks, dictionaries, and so on. (Also, I consult online articles about grammar pitfalls and YouTube for a variety of French-teaching videos (a great resource to improve your listening skills.)

I am going to share a bit in this post about how I use these books when I study, but… I have another announcement! I have a few learning challenges that I want to do and then share with you guys.

  • The first will be about vocabulary: Does studying the most common 200 words help you to start conversing in your target language faster?
  • The second will be about my self-study methods: I am going to measure my French grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking ability, etc. to see how fast my French skills develop from my self-study methods.  In this post, I will share in more detail how I learn certain topics or work with different resources. I recommend studying in 15-minute sessions and giving yourself a 5-10 minute break after every 30 minutes. If it becomes boring or difficult, move on to something else. I also recommend looking for ways to blend your studies into your everyday routine like studying vocab in the subway, or thinking to yourself in French when you go for a walk.
  • Third will be like the former one, but I will work with an individual teacher and measure how I progress in French after 5, 10, 20 hours of private lessons. I will also describe how the lessons went, how I prepare for them, and how I review them. I suggest recording the lesson or taking notes, asking questions and receiving corrections, speaking as much in your target language as possible, and doing homework to review what you did during the lesson. 

 

That is how I plan on improving my French! I would be happy with reaching B2 in French and if I really love the language, maybe even C1. By April of this year, I hope to make it to B1 and no longer be a beginner student!!

**As of January 8, 2019 according to this online test, my French is B2 level. Although I think I am A2 and am just a good test taker 🙂

 

Without further ado, here are the books I am using to learn French: 

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A bi-lingual dictionary is useful for translating and building vocabulary (beginner, intermediate, advanced students. Although, I also recommend monolingual dictionaries for serious language learners.)

 

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I really like the selection of texts in this book! I read before bed (sometimes aloud.) A great exercise to is to re-read texts several times after translating them into English. You can also pick out sentences (or vocab words) you like to use in your speaking.

 

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These texts are more advanced, but they are great for advanced beginner/intermediate students, who want some immersion in French

 

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I had an A1 class during my exchange in Germany. I learned French through German (my second language.) I had a great teacher, who used games to train our skills. The CDs, accompanying vocab book, and grammar cheat sheet (not pictured) help take the lessons to the next level

 

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I like working with this book because the dialogues and explanations stick with me. Although, I had it for German a few years ago and didn’t like it

 

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Great book for learning irregular French verbs & conjugations of French tenses

 

 

 

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This my current “textbook.” It covers more grammar than the A1 textbook did and serves as a great road-map and reference guide for French grammar

 

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This workbook brings it all together~ exercises to make use of what I’ve learned

 

Let me know what you thought of this post and if you are interested in the language challenges mentioned!

Je vous remercie d’avoir lu mon blog

❤ Stephanie

Free Russian Learning Resources on YouTube

Hello hello! Всем привет!!

A few months ago, I started writing a series of tips for English speakers learning Russian.

You can find Pt. 1 here—> Tips for Native English Speakers Learning Russian (Part 1 of 3)

Recently, I shared more tips and also recommended books for learning Russian here->So, you want to start learning Russian?

Part 2 & 3 of the series are coming soon, but, for now, I wanted to share some useful and free sources for learning Russian.

 

To learn a foreign language you need a system, organization and motivation–but, behind that, needs to be some solid resources for you to blend into your language-learning-routine. These Russian teachers will have you motivated to study hard and can guide you along your language journey~

(by clicking on the photos below, you will be taken to their YouTube channels)

 

Amazing Russian.JPG

 

Bridget Barbara

 

Easy Russian

 

Irina Mozelova.JPG

 

Learn Russian Language.JPG

 

Denis Fedorov.JPG

 

Learn Russian with Irina.JPG

 

Learn Russia

 

Learn Russian TV

 

RussianPod101

 

 

Live Russian

 

Make it easy with Lilu

 

Natasha Speaks Russian

 

Real Russian Club

 

RUland CLub

 

Elen Sheff

 

russian from russia

 

russian grammar

 

russian lessons

 

russian with anastasia

 

Russian with Max.JPG

 

russian with russian

 

tatiana klimova

 

animated films

 

Mosfilm.JPG

 

 

If you are a Russian teacher or know of resources that weren’t mentioned, please share them in the comments below~
❤ Stephanie

Going beyond the textbook~ learning to speak a foreign language (Pt. 2)

You can find Part 1 here—> “I want to improve my speaking in a foreign language” (Pt. 1)

“Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides.” – Rita Mae Brown

 

beach dawn dusk hd wallpaper
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

 

1) A great way to learn authentic modern language is to find a language partner. I personally like learning through real conversations because I unconsciously/effortlessly add new words to my vocabulary without thinking about grammar or pronunciation.

I don’t think idioms, slang, sayings, proverbs, quotes, usw. can be learned from long lists. Some books may use stories or pictures to illustrate them, but we don’t learn idioms or slang from books in our native language; we pick them up from speaking with others. And I find this approach effective with acquiring specialized vocabulary in foreign languages.

Furthermore, a language partner will help you utilize what you already know. You can talk with your pets if you are too shy to find a language partner online/in-person–or with yourself in the shower–for this practice. Ask them basic questions, tell them how your day is going, and train what you recently learned. 

 

2. Another important tip I have is to find a private teacher. Receiving corrections is important, so ask your teacher to correct your speech and turn in writing assignments to them as well.

A good teacher should also boost your motivation and be able to guide you as you progress in the language. Together, you can find your weaker areas and reach your learning goals. 

Use this time with your private teacher to converse in the language and get yourself accustomed to different speaking situations. Your accent, vocabulary and grammar will rapidly improve. 

 

3. Third and final point is concise: to use I) context to your advantage and II) immerse yourself in the language.

I) Using context: instead of lists of words with no examples/related words, find something that is interesting and relevant to you… read an article in your target language about your favorite band and study new vocabulary by memorizing whole sentences. Translate a short text that’s on your level and re-read the original and the translation several times.

II) What I consider immersion (taken from my article on learning Russian):

  • a) Having a good teacher and regular lessons based on an effective system
  • b) Passive learning & natural usage (minimum five days a week) such as watching films, listening to music, reading literary texts, and communicating in your target language
  • c) Teaching yourself the language & doing exercises: use YouTube videos and free websites to learn vocabulary and grammar
  • d) Practice & usage: think to yourself, record yourself speaking, write stories and essays, and do A LOT of listening.

 

 

 

 

Best of luck! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below~

Stephanie F.

My First Trip Abroad in Photos

My project “Austauscherfahrungen” has been active for more than a year now. To celebrate this occasion and reflect on the roots of this blog, I have put together this post—My First Trip Abroad in Photos.

There are two ways to “read” this entry: you can either start from this page and click on the photos that interest you, or you can start by clicking on the first photo and then go from photo story to photo story.

 

The first time I went abroad I was 18 years old. I went abroad the summer after my freshman year of university. It was not an organized trip with my university, nor was it a group trip through an organization offering study abroad opportunities to American students. I signed up for a summer language course with an international language school, Goethe-Institute.

I was from a small (southern) American town and somewhat bad at directions. Naturally, I had some expectations of Europe, but I was open-minded and unafraid to travel to Germany by myself. I wasn’t too nervous before I took off—I only worried about organizational matters. At first, it was a challenge to navigate train stations and flow with the pace of Germany, but I soon met friends at the language school and spent a fantastic summer abroad.

Some quick tips I have are: to enjoy the small things and give yourself time for reflection. Also, you have to be bad at something before you can be good at it, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Ultimately, I gained a strong motivation to study German further and changed my major to German once I returned home. For more on my study abroad in Germany summer 2015, check out this article~Getting Started with Studying Abroad

 

Introduction aside, here is My First Trip Abroad in Photos:

 

 

 

“I want to improve my speaking in a foreign language” (Pt. 1)

 

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1. Reading is a great way to improve your vocabulary, accent, rhythm and overall relationship with a new language. There are many methods to learn from reading: by reading aloud and training your accent, by finding unknown words in a text, and, simply, by immersing your thoughts in a new language you are helping your brain to connect different channels of information, so that you can use grammar and vocabulary naturally when speaking.

 

2. Writing a diary or stories to take some authorship. Do you just want to be able to introduce yourself and order food, or do you want to be able to converse about daily life, describe a special memory, talk about your hobby, or discuss your beliefs? Write about the things that are important to you.

 

3. Speaking and thinking in your target language before actually speaking. Many performers–let’s say dancers–will review their routine by quickly running through it before they go on stage. Take a few minutes and go through a scenario in your head about a possible conversation topic. This way you will be better prepared the next time you have a chance to practice and you can discover where some gaps in your knowledge are, so that you can later fill them with more studying.

 

 

More speaking tips coming your way~

 

❤ Stephanie

So, you want to start learning Russian? (Five Quick Tips & Book Recommendations)

Dear readers,

This will be a short post about tips on how to learn Russian efficiently.

These were suggestions from my Russian sociology professor (a Russian historian, Chekhov fan and funny guy) for our five-week stay in Russia 😮

For Part 1 in this series click here —->            russian-meme-1

 

1. Be a bit Russian .

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A bath house in the gardens of Catherine Palace, Pushkin, St Petersburg, Russia (SUMMER 2016)

2. Hear/watch music, cartoons, and movies . I LOVE Soviet Kino!

3. Read classic literature ...

4. Read about history ...

5. Take advantage of free Russian materials on YouTube and VKontakte.

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And to conclude this post… some books I recommend for learning Russian:

TEXTBOOKS

VOCAB BOOKS

RUSSIAN READERS

GRAMMAR BOOKS

 

More Russian Related Posts:

Online Resources for Learning Russian—>Free Russian Learning Resources on YouTube

Tips Part 2 (coming soon)

Tips Part 3 (coming soon)

 

 

Напишите мне что-нибудь на русском~

❤ Стефани

 

 

3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

Hello everyone!

I’ve been back State-side for nearly two months now. My plans have been going well and I’ve got to see quite a few old friends! We still have sunshine here in Georgia, but cold weather is coming and it may freeze soon.

 

Georgia On My Mind

 

I left the States in August 2017 as a senior and came back a year later as a college graduate!

I absolutely adored Uni and wanted to share another post on this blog about American university! I was a German Literature major, so this post will be most relevant for students of humanities. However, everyone is invited to read and may find some inspiration for their coursework here 🙂

Even before I began university, I was fascinated by the variety of courses offered in just one major and there were many other departments that interested me.  I really don’t have any regrets about my college years, but, of course, I didn’t get to do everything I wanted. To share some of my experience as an American college student and reflect on my major and classes taken, I put together this little post: 3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

And before I dive in to the classes, I want to share a great resource for deciding on a major at college and, later, selecting a career specialization. “What Can I Do With This Major” provides an in-depth approach to career options with a particular major. I think it also gives insight into some steps you should take during your college career. So, I’m a big fan of the site!

 

3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

 

1. Business Writing: 

Upon taking “Women Lead in Business” at my Uni, I realized that there was a lot I did not know about the business world.

The reason for this class is simple–being able to adjust your writing according to the proper style/convention is important not only during your college career but also in your professional life.

Not only would I have improved my writing in this area, I think I also would have learned a lot about business culture, ethics, research practices and verbal argumentation. Not to mention, it wouldn’t look bad to have “Business Writing”
on your resume 😉

two person shaking each others hands
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

2. Drama/Theater:

Looking back, there are a few reasons as to why I wish I would have taken theater.

But to be honest, I was not interested at all in taking drama class at high school and was usually shy and nervous about giving presentations until university. So, I thought that theater wasn’t the right place for me.

Oftentimes the performance is just as important as the quality or depth (think about speaking with a great accent in a foreign language despite only knowing a few phrases), and I think that is where theater has its role in preparing you to speak and perform, to be witty and natural, and to entertain your audience. Also, I would love to build my technical knowledge of theater. 

people at theater
Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

 

3. Creative Writing:

Again, another writing class! While I have started adopting outlines and pre-writing techniques to improve my writing, I really would like to push my creativity and ability to describe something in words… to create a fictional world, to write a small scene or to embrace some lyrical rhythm in my prose.

I loved going to the Writing Studio at my school and getting feedback on my essays before turning them in! I would have enjoyed a creative writing class in poetry and fiction, which offered practice in styles, points of views, and structure.

I think most humanities majors would benefit from a creative writing class as they would not only get their creativity flowing, but also learn how to give and take constructive criticism, how to express themselves better, and writing regularly could serve as an outlet to relieve stress.

painting and drawing tools set
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

Let’s start a conversation! Which classes are on your list? Like and share with your friends.

Stephanie

 

**Coming Soon: “My First Trip Abroad in Photos/Roots of this Blog” & “My Favorite 5 Classes at University”**

Lake Bled ~ Slovenia

Lake Bled is a popular tourist destination and wedding venue in northwestern Slovenia. The town of Bled and Bled Lake are 55 km away from the capital of Slovenia—Ljublana.

Excerpt from my travel diary: Lake Bled was such a stunning and serene site. The lake was an amazing color and so clear. We had enough time to climb the steep hill and enjoy the view from the castle. The view was incredible! Being at the castle and looking down on the water was magnificent and fairytale-like. My eyes devoured the scenery.

 

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Bled 1
There are no major natural streams flowing into the lake; water supply comes from only a few springs. The thermal springs in the north-Eastern part of the lake now supplies the swimming pools of Bled hotels.
Bled 2
On Bled island are several buildings. Most notably is the Church of the Mother of God. The church has a stone-staircase with 99 steps. Ringing the church-bell three times is said to bring good fortune.

 

Lake Bled is a popular tourist destination and wedding venue in northwestern Slovenia. The town of Bled and Bled Lake are 55 km away from the capital of Slovenia—Ljublana.

The lake is surrounded by mountains and forests. It also has a small island. There are a few legends about the island: The legend of the Sunken Bell and one telling a story of Slovene pagan gods and the conversion to Christianity. There is a medieval castle at the lake—Bled Castle. A popular culinary delight at the castle is the Bled Cream Cake.

 

Bled 3
Bled Castle has more than just tasty cake to offer. There is a museum collection and wine cellar, where you can bottle and seal wine. Not to mention, the view is splendid.

 

Bonus for nature-lovers: Close to Lake Bled is Vintgar Gorge. Vintgar is “gorge” in Slovenian. There are several touristically arranged, wooden bridges with great views of the 1.6 km-long gorge. There is also a stone bridge above Vintgar Gorge, if you would like a bird-eye’s view of the most intact nature of Bled. The gorge is also home to numerous plant species. Steep depths and beautiful fauna make the largest waterfall in Slovenia a memorable stop for Lake Bled-visitors.

 

~Stephanie F.

 

 

*All photos are from Austauscherfahrungen.

**https://www.slovenia.info/en/places-to-go/attractions/bled

**http://www.bled.si/en/what-to-see/natural-sights/lake-bled

**http://www.bled.si/en/what-to-see/cultural-sights/churches/the-church-on-the-island

**http://www.bled.si/en/what-to-see/natural-sights/the-vintgar-gorge/Presentation

Inspiring Quotes for Language Learners

Here are three inspiring quotes for hacking your language learning approach.
German is known as the language of poets (Dichter) and thinkers (Denker). Test your German reading with these insightful quotes in German language!

Dear language learners,

Here are three inspiring quotes for hacking your language learning approach.

German is known as the language of poets (Dichter) and thinkers (Denker). Test your German reading with these insightful quotes in German language!

 

Sprache Deutsch

 

Das Problem zu erkennen (recognize) ist wichtiger als die Lösung (solution) zu erkennen, denn die genaue Darstellung (exact depiction) des Problems führt zur (leads to) Lösung ~Albert Einstein, Physiker

  • Instead of saying “my German is bad,” find your weaker areas.. “I make mistakes conjugating verbs” or “I need to improve my listening.”

 

Es ist nicht genug (enough) zu wissen, man muss es auch anwenden (use it). Es ist nicht genug zu wollen (to want), man muss es auch tun (do it).  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, deutscher Dichter

  • Put what you know into practice. If you really want something, you also have to do it.

 

Das Geheimnis (secret) des Erfolges (of success) ist die Beständigkeit des Ziels (endurance of the goal.)  ~Benjamin Disraeli, britischer Politiker.

  • Stick with the goals you set!

 

 

Why are you learning German or any other foreign language? How do you stay inspired? What approaches or methods have been most useful for you?

~ Stephanie F.

Returning Home After 13 Months Abroad

 

Returning home to Georgia, U.S.A after 13 months abroad was surreal. I spent 7 weeks in Kiev, Ukraine. And before that, I was an exchange student in Erlangen, Germany. During my 11-month stay in Germany, I didn’t visit home a single time.

 

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The Court Square ~ Newnan, Georgia

 

I left behind a different reality in Europe and had a hard time suddenly slamming my brakes to match with the pace of life in a good ol’ suburban town.

 
The population of my hometown (Newnan, GA) is approximately 30,000 people, which is about the same as the number of undergraduates at my alma mater, Georgia State University. Although it has been a humbling experience to revisit my hometown, I do not feel that my roots are here, and it is quite clear that the suburban lifestyle of southern American towns, or at least this one, is too mundane for someone like me.

 
I no longer have the stresses that I had here as a teenager and I feel as if I am on a different level than other long-term residents… as if I am not defined by or confined to the old rumors. I see that my hometown is continually becoming more modern and more culturally diverse. But, I still have sympathy for the kids, who feel stuck here and have not had the chance to travel, or the chance to develop their beliefs at university.

 

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It was hard coming back. Having conversations with family or old friends can be challenging. The best way to describe the scenario is Plato’s Allegory of a Cave. In other words, we limit reality to our perceptions. To become enlightened, it is necessary to see life outside of the cave. The cave represents the states of most human beings. Those who return to the cave and try to recount what they have experienced meet disbelief from those who have not left the cave. We need more than just the naming of things; we also need reflective understanding. Travelling and learning foreign languages allow us to grow past only seeing the shadows in the cave.

 
I am still learning languages and working on a few small projects until my “medium-size” projects take off—I am looking for local internships and work while continuing plans of travel in the States. And my “big project” is getting accepted into grad school.

 

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A few days passed, and I was no longer waking at 4 in the morning. I guess it’s also not so bad being around people who really know you and not just the exchange student version of you… with friends who have not just seen how you’ve bloomed, but friends, who also know the “Georgia Red Clay” that you grew in and how your branches developed.

 

Sincerely,

Stephanie F.

 

 

 

Goodbye, Kiev! ~Back Home After 13 Months Abroad~

I had a simple, relaxing weekend before my 18-hour trip back to the States. On Saturday evening, there was even a beautiful sunset in Kiev.

Luckily, I lived in a room with a balcony. Although there was a noisy street outside, I still enjoyed having a view of passerby and of the many trees. When I search for a new place to live, an apartment with a balcony is on my list.

I headed out early on Sunday morning and caught an Uber to the airport. The international airport is located out of the city center and there is no metro connection, so buses and taxis are the only forms of public transportation. I got to the airport in plenty of time to get my ticket and hand over my luggage.

My flight from Kiev to Istanbul was about 2 hours long. I didn’t do any sightseeing in Istanbul—I had to run directly to my connecting flight after landing. I found the gate as they were doing security checks on boarding passengers.

Turkish airlines provided a pleasant experience. The aircrew was friendly and professional; the services they provided made the long flight manageable and more comfortable. I was in the air for 12 hours! I watched a total of 3 movies because I couldn’t catch any sleep. During the first 6 hours of the flight, it felt like time would stay moving so slowly that I wouldn’t be able to take it anymore, but, once I knew that there was only an hour left before landing, time felt like only a matter of a few short seconds that needed to pass before I would arrive.

I was ready to go! To hop of the plane, collect my luggage and set foot in Atlanta. In Kiev, I was settled and had a sense of home, so I wasn’t homesick, but during the flight I became excited thinking about going back to the States and seeing my home state of Georgia with new eyes. I was also thrilled to see family and friends and to have all my belongings together in one place. My suitcases were quite heavy—40 kg total. No, there wasn’t any gold in them—just books 🙂

Once I stepped out of the airport, the sultry Atlanta weather (despite it being 8 p.m.) greeted me kindly. Although everything was familiar, it was still a strange experience to be back after so long. This feeling of being back home will be the topic for my next entry.

Yours truly,

Stephanie F.

New Discovery in Kiev

I got to see a new part of Kiev today! A permanent flea market with an open-air book market. It was wonderful to dive into the stacks of books.. to test my knowledge of reading Russian and to discover some books in English, German and French. My buddy also found a book he had been searching for!! Schwein gehabt 🙂

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Despite the cold, rainy and grey weather, I had a great time. I feel like most big cities have these layers. As short-time tourists, we stay on a level of tourism.. only seeing attractions but not getting to know the city as it lives naturally. Ordinary parts of a city aren’t so ordinary when you find something you like. Like going to a book market as a book lover. I enjoyed myself and am glad that I keep finding new things to do and see.

For those interested, the book market along with the other flea markets there are directly at the station Pochaina (formerly Petrivka) on the blue line of the metro. In my post about Kiev, I mentioned a collection of shops at an underground crossing near Arsenalna station that sell a decent variety of new books, but this area is a typical flea market with a huge collection of used books especially in Russian language. Likealocalguide.com says that it’s the biggest book market in Ukraine with books of all genres and an authentic atmosphere. And I agree! It’s an authentic place with so much history and so many beautiful stories waiting to be discovered –> Petrivka Market

Best Wishes

~ Stephanie F.

Tips for Native English Speakers Learning Russian (Part 1 of 3)

“Повторе́ние — мать уче́нья.” (= Repetition is the mother of learning.)

Learning Russian… you need to master a new alphabet then move to reading syllables until you can read words and short sentences—but that’s not the hardest part! Russian grammar is very complex and there are few Russian-English cognates (mainly modern vocabulary dealing with tourism or technology.) Being able to speak Russian even on a lower intermediate level is a big challenge because, for most English speakers, it takes a while for basic Russian speaking-constructions to stick. Not to mention, Russian is highly-productive and can be very exact offering many options to one English word or phrase. Both the literary and the spoken language are rich and idiomatic. Therefore, building comprehension is a lot of work. Furthermore, there are many exceptions and various nuances (like stress in Russian words) that make the language challenging for non-native speakers. Russian language is a world of its own and, if you want to speak the language well, it helps to also study Russian history and culture. However, despite the many challenges, I still believe that learning Russian as a native English speaker is a rewarding process. I’ve never met a Russian who isn’t proud of their language and it should be easy for you to find speaking partners online. Russian literature also inspires many English speakers to study Russian. So, if you’d like to begin to use the language effectively, the following tips will help you out:

 

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1. The number one thing I can suggest is immersion. What do I consider immersion? a) Having a good teacher and regular lessons based on an effective system. b) Passive learning & natural usage (minimum five days a week) such as watching films, listening to music, reading literary texts, and communicating in Russian. c) Teaching yourself the language: use YouTube videos and free websites to learn vocabulary and grammar d) Practice & usage: think to yourself, record yourself speaking Russian, write stories and essays, and do A LOT of listening.

 
2. The second most important thing is repetitionstudying, reviewing and applying what you know. And reviewing again after applying what you know. Learn something new and forget about a topic then come back to it. This is the only way to succeed in learning Russian. Also, try not to isolate vocabulary or grammar when studying or reviewing, but always work on the two together—this will help you to learn the correct conjugations of verbs, the declination of nouns, etc., that you can apply correctly in your speech.

 
3. The next thing I would suggest is learning how to write Russian cursive. It will be very hard to continue to learn Russian vocabulary if you still write block letters for your notes. If you want to be able to use Russian to produce your own speech and writing, you need to learn Russian cursive and get corrections from natives.

 

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The Winter Palace @ Saint Petersburg, Russia

 

4. Another suggestion I have is to skip American or European textbooks for learning Russian and start with materials directly from Russia. What I don’t like about non-Russian textbooks is that they are either oversimplified or too complex. Now, I don’t think that American or European textbooks are completely useless, but I find the Russian system of learning Russian to be more effective in the long run.

 

5. The fifth and final point is to believe in your success and to have the desire to learn Russian. It helps when you have an encouraging teacher and make use of fun options like films, music, or literature, but the motivation has to come from within. Find something that inspires you and think about your goals. Keep working hard on the language so that you don’t have to ask yourself if you’re making progress, but you will naturally feel that you are advancing in the language.

 

That’s it for this post! Good luck with your Russian 🙂

For more language learning: Language Learners‘ Toolbox

 

~Stephanie F.

Blog Update

Dear readers,

As my blog continues to grow, I am trying to improve as a travel blogger. I want to record my memories for myself, but tell them in a way that is inspirational for my readers. I love exchanging ideas with others and picking up good habits from different people. Moreover, I want my travel posts to be just as interesting as they are informative. I’d love any feedback, tips or further comments about travel blogging. Why should we write about our travels? What do we gain by sharing our travels with others? What does travelling and writing mean to you?

Sincerely,

Stephanie F.

Why I’m Learning French

Hello hello!

Learning a new language is hard work and a big time investment, so we better have good reasons for why we want to do so. Knowing why helps us with our goals in the language (making learning it more structured) and will also help keep us motivated.

Here are eight reasons why I want to learn French:

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1. I had French for a few years in secondary school. I didn’t go that deep into the language, but I still had some interaction with vocabulary and basic grammar, which will make the learning process a little easier. Not to mention, French classes and other materials are relatively accessible in the USA, so it will be quite doable to learn basic French in the States.

2. It’s the second most popular foreign language after English. This means that I could speak French with friends (who already know it) and meet new francophones. It’s not the most popular language now, but it still holds its status as a lingua franca. It will always (or so I think) be regarded as a beautiful, romantic language that is part of a nice, prestigious culture.

3. It won’t be easy to read and write, but I like the pronunciation. (And, as I am learning more French, I like how French grammar expresses itself differently than English or German grammar. I am learning new vocabulary/new ways to think about the world, too.)

4. French and English are (sometimes) similar, so it won’t be as big of a challenge as learning, for example, an Asian language (or even Russian for that matter :D) There will be a lot of new vocabulary (and false friends) due to the Latin roots of French, but it will make it easier for me to learn another romance language in the future.

 

 

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5. The language has crept into other European languages (French used to be the language of government and the language of the elite, so other languages borrowed many French words) and knowing French will help my reading comprehension in general humanities. Therefore, I will understand history better and also improve my vocabulary.

6. I like a few French scholars already and would have access to even more scholars, writers, artists and the like.

7. After learning German and starting with Russian, I just wasn’t satisfied. Learning languages is one of my hobbies and it is something that I enjoy–not just to say that I speak the languages, or just to be able to communicate with others, but because I enjoy the process of learning them. Speaking multiple languages also makes travelling easier and more interesting.

8. Learning French will make it more enjoyable to travel in France. I can’t wait to see the beauty of the country, enjoy tasty food and get to know the culture (art, literature, customs) better.

 

So, guys, what languages do you want to learn and why?

~ Stephanie F.

 

For more language-related fun check out–>How I learned German (A Bilingual Text) & New language, new life

Countries Travelled (Year-Exchange in Germany)

#places visited while living in Germany

Hello everyone!

I’ve left Germany already and my first three weeks in Kiev have flown by! I’m enjoying my Russian lessons here and am staying busy. I’ll be sharing some new stuff soon 😉

In the meantime, I wanted to do a short, fun blog entry.. about the places I went while living in Germany! To make it more interesting, I’ve also listed each country’s name in the languages that I speak/study in order of decreasing fluency (English, German, Russian, French.) The only country that I had been to before was Germany**.

 

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countries visited

  1. Germany – Deutschland – Германия -Allemagne
  2. Slovenia – Slovenien – Словения – Slovénie
  3. Switzerland – die Schweiz – Швейцария -Suisse
  4. Liechtenstein – Liechtenstein -Лихтенштейн – Liechtenstein
  5. Austria – Österreich – Австрия – Autriche
  6. Lithuania – Litauen – Литва – Lituanie
  7. Greece – Griechenland -Греция – Grèce
  8. France – Frankreich – Франция – France
  9. Poland – Polen – Польша – Pologne
  10. Hungary – Ungarn – Венгрия – Hongrie
  11. Czech Republic- Tschechien – Чехия – Czechia
  12. Ukraine – Ukraine – Украина – Ukraine

 

I hope to tell you about the amazing city of Kiev soon.

Best of luck! ~Stephanie F.

 

**Note: this is not a full list of all countries I’ve ever visited. It only covers places travelled during my year-long exchange in Germany 🙂

The Graduate? Graduating American University from Abroad

Mr. Braddock: Have you thought about graduate school?
Benjamin: No.
Mr. Braddock: Would you mind telling me then what those four years of college were for? What was the point of all that hard work?

Hello there! Glad to have you on my blog=) If you are here for the first time, I’ll give a short introduction about the blog and myself:

This blog started as a project for my online coursework while I was studying abroad as a German language major in Erlangen, Germany. It has grown into something much bigger. I have articles on German culture, sightseeing in Germany, learning foreign languages, travelling Europe, tips for studying abroad in Germany as well as several articles about self-development and my personal journey.

This post  is based on a journal entry from May this year (2018), which I wrote after I had officially graduated, but was still completing the second-half of my study abroad. It will be more personal than most of my other posts.  At the time that I wrote it and, especially the next month, I experienced a certain life-anxiety.

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The Graduate, 1967

Mr. Braddock: Ben, what are you doing?
Benjamin: Well, I would say that I’m just drifting. Here in the pool.
Mr. Braddock: Why?
Benjamin: Well, it’s very comfortable just to drift here.
Mr. Braddock: Have you thought about graduate school?
Benjamin: No.
Mr. Braddock: Would you mind telling me then what those four years of college were for? What was the point of all that hard work?
Benjamin: You got me.

“Life-anxiety” for me was an ambiguous feeling from not having the structure that university gave me and from being uncertain about the next plans and not knowing the meaning of it all.

I wasn’t feeling negative. I was actually quite positive, but I had so many goals along with the feeling that time is so limited. I am a person who believes “life is too short to not take it serious enough” rather than the relaxed “to take it too serious.” I don’t mean worrying about the little details, but rather having a direction and pursuing your dreams.

On the other hand, I think it’s not necessarily bad to not have it all figured out because we are able to discover new things and can go on a journey to let our intuition guide us to what we really want and need. Thinking about our future is also important because without goals or reasons to do something, we may end up unhappy or just breezing through at a job that we don’t enjoy, that doesn’t challenge us or add meaning to our life.

Graduating from high school is also a big change. By my junior year of high school, I realized that I would soon be free of school obligations and it meant that I was no longer a teenager, but a young adult. Graduating from university is much different than high school. High school was the start to university. (And for some work, love, marriage and kids.) This feeling of freedom after graduating university is well… as Janis Joplin said, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” It’s heavy. It’s great to have accomplished something, but being finished is also bittersweet. University encourages you to contemplate the universe and your purpose on earth and finishing university from abroad was almost as if the world decided to eat me and spit me out again. The weight of the world was on my shoulders.

But don’t let this intro intimidate you, here are the many different thoughts I had about graduating American university from abroad:

Before we get started, I want to say: I am no longer feeling like I did during spring. I have goals but no definite plans, but I am working on different things. As far as what my next official plans will be, well, you’ll just have to stay tuned.

9 Thoughts About Graduating American Uni from Abroad

  1. I am glad that I no longer have to do online classes. While my marks turned out fine, I didn’t get the usual interaction I would have when visiting a normal course at my university. I got a taste of the courses, but not the full thing, so my motivation wasn’t the same.. it just felt like busy work.
  2. I loved my home university. I knew my place there by my third year and spent my fourth year in Germany. So, I am a bit sad to leave it behind. Sad that I couldn’t have done more there as well.
  3. Being abroad makes me feel much different about graduation. After doing an exchange for 8 months abroad, not having cap-and-gown photos made and not going through the whole process with everyone, I’m definitely not experiencing the typical celebrations and worries.
  4. It’s also different because my Russian studies are finally starting off and I’ve started doing new things like French, travelling more, reading more, etc. In other words, I’m busy with new avenues and not just focused on being done with my home university.
  5. I feel proud and excited that I’ve finished university. I have a degree, great grades, honors, and other experience alongside the studies as well.
  6. I’m happier now that I have started working on grad school applications and preparations.
  7. In general, it’s still hard to believe that time went by so fast and many things just fell into place—it wasn’t a plan I had made years before I began uni. My studies found me.
  8. I’m stuck in some weird existential-crisis-zone. There’s capitalism of the 21st century vs. experiencing life vs. my true passion vs. adult life and so on.
  9. I am also looking forward to being “free” from university and paperwork as an (almost) expat in Germany and returning to USA. I’m coming back with many interesting experiences behind me and to friends and family who miss me. When I return, I’ll still be busy with a few things and I’ll definitely still be learning, but I want to use the time for myself and to travel the States. It will be interesting to see whether I will feel as free as I do abroad or if I will just feel out of place.

 

How did you feel after your graduated? Have you experienced a similar feeling?~Stephanie F.