July 9, 2017 by JT
Recommended Listening: The Penalty
Hey, lange nicht gesehen (“long time no see”)!
Time certainly got away from me! It’s been a whole three weeks since I began my internship at the Sprachschule zum Ehrstein, and in that time, I have learned and done a whole lot.
(pictured here: the reception desk, where I generally am)
I have a lot of other responsibilities here, but I spend most of my time at the reception desk. Working at the reception desk has been pretty challenging so far — whenever I’m there, it’s my job to greet people and answer questions. Since we’re a language school, many of the people I talk to are not fluent in German (that’s okay, I’m not, either) or have just recently started learning German, so it can be difficult for me to properly help them. On the other hand, speaking to native German speakers is so intimidating that I get too nervous and forget how to even speak German…
My best advice for anxiety and nervousness when trying to communicate in another language is: just go for it. It’s very true that you don’t get better at a language unless you practice it every day. Doing an internship abroad is a great way to experience one of the best methods of language learning: total immersion. Here, I have to use German on a daily basis, and I also have to listen to it constantly, which improves not only my speaking skills, but my listening comprehension as well (it also builds your vocabulary!).
(pictured here: the cafeteria/lounge area where students can chill during breaks)
Another of my responsibilties is making sure that the students have coffee and water to drink, as well as cups to drink from. Basic, but since there are so many students and so many classes, the water has to be refreshed pretty frequently, the coffee machine has to be checked every morning, the dishwasher has to be emptied and filled regularly, etc… It’s become a fun little morning routine that helps ease me into the workday. I also get to greet the students (many of whom live in my apartment building) whenever I’m checking the water and coffee during a break, which is always nice.
(first picture: putting together the welcome packets, second picture: Freizeitprogramm board)
My main responsibilities involve preparing information for the students, and scheduling their extracurricular activities. Every Monday, we get an influx of new students at the school (last Monday, it was about twenty new students, which was a lot). Upon arrival, every student gets a brief tour of the school, and they also receive a Begrüßungspaket (“welcome packet,” in German), which contains important and useful information on living and studying at the school (such as how to get a ticket for the tram, a map showing the surrounding areas, contact information, etc) and also information about our Freizeitprogramm. These packets are generally prepared on Thursday or Friday of the previous week, so they can be ready to go on Monday.
The interns are in charge of putting together the Freizeitprogramm (“leisure-time” or “free-time program,” in German) every week. Essentially, we see what looks fun, plan for the students to go, and then make flyers for it — Stammtisch (“regulars’ table,” in German, a little weird to translate), which takes place every Monday, is a good way for the new students to get to know each other (and also a good way for the interns to get to know the students). During Stammtisch, we meet at a cafe or bar, have food and drinks, and just talk. It’s a great way for everyone to practice their German, and also a great way to take advantage of the many bars, cafes, and restaurants in Freiburg.
The rest of the week is usually a toss-up, but so far, we’ve gone to the beautiful Moosweiher for a picnic, visited the Biergarten im Seepark, and also been on a historische Stadtführung (“historical city tour”) through downtown Freiburg (which will be covered in another post, maybe)!
This week I’ll take more pictures of Freiburg to put up on the blog, but until then, bis später!