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My German Course: der Frauenkurs

I've been following the Deutschkurse des Frauenprojekts (German Course of the Women's Project) for a month.  It's part of the integration course subsidised by the German government. Among many integratioun courses out there, I chose this Frauenkurs (Women's Course) because of its special program and facility where the course is tailored for mothers and the school building is equipped with a child care. The whole program takes a longer time to complete compare to the 'normal' integration course, as the usual 600 hours/6 months/5 days per week becomes 900 hours/2 years/3 times per week at the Frauenkurs. The reason: one level is done within around 150 hours instead of 100 so the mothers can keep up with the course pace (between taking care of family and house chores). Besides we have days-off parallel to the German school holidays which also contributes to the prolonged course.

I'm on Modul 1, the most basic level. The class consists of 18 students from many nations, with different backgrounds.  Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma, Turkey, Iran, Brazil, Morocco, Afghanistan, Srilanka, Kosovo and Ukraine are the countries our class represents. Three of us graduated from universities, another three finished their high schools and the rest had only 5 to 9 years of education. There are widows and divorcees or those who have been married since their teens. Most have no knowledge of English or if they do, they have very little command.

The majority of my classmates struggle on each lesson. Some have such very poor analytical skills that even after the teacher explains something for tens of time, they still don't understand a thing. Later on, when they finally understand it, the teacher still needs to guide them word by word to build a sentence. They even have difficulty to copy what's written on the blackboard and react very slowly towards any instruction. The good thing is, most of my classmates are enthusiastic. They might need lots of extra help, but their flaming eyes and gritted teeth show their eagerness to learn. I salute them from the bottom of my heart. Yes, I sometimes feel dead bored in the classroom when our teacher explains something more than five times or when waiting for my turn to practice verbally, but other than that I have no complain. Besides, very different we might be, one common goal brings us together: to learn German.

Talking about the teacher, her name is V and she is just G.R.E.A.T. She speaks without any particular accent although she actually comes from Yugoslavia and has been living in Germany for only 18 years. She has an 11-year experience of teaching integration courses. To ensure that everybody understands completely, V teaches systematically by drawing lots of tables and schemes on the blackboard. She's patient but at the same time firm and asks us to work hard. I once was an English teacher myself who gave lessons to high school pupils and university students.  I remember how tiring it could be to deal with my students although they didn't have problems like my classmates.  Now seeing the patience required to handle our class, my admiration towards V grows each time. Her job goes beyond the language teaching as she should also put extra energy to awaken the sleeping brains of most of her students. A determined person V is, I could see her tireless efforts motivate students who used to be laid back.

This Frauenkurs is my first integration course. Before, when still living in the US and the Netherlands, I used to take French and Dutch language courses at universities. The courses were fast paced and demanding, with lots of homework which took hours for me to finish. Having gotten used to the university courses, I find this Frauenkurs very enjoyable.  At home, I can go through my lessons happily and relax.   After all, I only have time for myself pass 8 pm when kids are in bed. The German homework is enough for me to develop the language without neglecting my kids, house-chores and research/writing.  I even consider myself very lucky to be in this particular class with V and my comrades, as I learn many things beyond German from those fabulous and inspiring ladies.


( 69 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 31st, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
Integration Kurs
Interesting to read your experiences learning German. Your class is mixed. 3 days/week exclusive the homeworks, with children to take care of sounds still an intensive programme for me. Do you also get lessons in German customs, beside the language? And do you have to do an exam at the end of it?

Viel Gluck San!
May. 31st, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Integration Kurs
Yeah, my classmates and teacher fascinate me. It's an experience I never had in my previous language courses.

We will get a 45-hour lesson on German culture at the end of the whole program. Later after the whole 900 hours, we will have a test to get a B1 certificate, a proof that we are integrated. Before the B1, there will be exams every two books to get A1 and A2 certificates.
Re: Integration Kurs - ext_127152 - Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Integration Kurs - doolittles - Jun. 14th, 2009 06:53 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 1st, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
It was interesting for me to read how you get your
lessons in German.But I have doubts, that the course runs very good for all persons.I can't imagine,that high-educated persons and such who have 5 classes only will get the same level of German language.
Jun. 2nd, 2009 09:21 am (UTC)
Re: Sprachkurs
Yeah, level of education plays a big role in someone's ability to absorb new things, although I think a high motivation will still help them to get the most.
Jun. 1st, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
Enjoy learning about the German language and culture! I took three years of German in High School and loved every minute of it. I think that you will find it has some very strong similarities to English - which makes it somewhat more easy to understand/follow/remember than other languages (I think).
Jun. 2nd, 2009 09:31 am (UTC)
Like you, I enjoy learning German (so far at least hehe). English helps a bit, but Dutch language is even closer to German. The first year living here, I basically survived without really knowing German because my 'translated' Dutch was enough for the Germans to understand (although I often got lost in translation as of course there are significant differences between the two languages).
Jun. 1st, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
Hi! I saw your journal in the Livejournal section that makes aware of other journals. I just wanted to say Hi and wish you lots of luck learning German! I had to learn it myself a couple of years ago to be able to study here! So it made me really happy to see someone blogging about it =)
Jun. 2nd, 2009 09:32 am (UTC)
Hi there! Learning a new language is indeed enjoyable!!
Jun. 1st, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
Hi there,
I'm here via the lj spotlight and just would like to offer you some help learning German - if you ever do need any, or need some info on German culture, you're very welcome to ask me.
I hope this is not too forward of me, but since I am a native speaker, I'm always excited to meet people who are actually learning the language.
Jun. 2nd, 2009 09:34 am (UTC)
Thank you!! I will consult you!
Jun. 2nd, 2009 11:02 am (UTC)
Hey, may i add you?
i found you at the spotlight and interested in your journal.
and I'm also an Indonesia,
Nice too meet you ^^
Jun. 2nd, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
You're welcome to add me! It's nice to meet another fellow Indonesian with the same interest :D.
Jun. 2nd, 2009 11:28 am (UTC)
I also found you via spotlight and just wanted to wish you good luck and lots of fun with German. :)
It isn't one of the easiest languages to learn, especially once one dives deeper into the grammar, capitalization, comma placement and all that - even for us natives it can be rather tricky at times. So I'm admiring everyone who learns it as a second language.
And it must be very interesting learning it with a Dutch background. I'm studying Swedish at university and notice myself how much it can help if two languages are stemming from the same language-family and how fascinating it can be getting to know the similarities and differences between those languages. :)
Jun. 2nd, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, to me German grammar is more complicated than Dutch while Dutch grammar is more difficult than English. So it's nice to know Dutch before learning German, otherwise I would get completely nuts with all those capitals and inversions!!

Yes, I agree, language typology will help the learners. I heard that Scandinavian languages do have many similarities with German/Dutch, so good luck also with your Swedish!!
Jun. 2nd, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
hey, this journal is awesome!
Could i friend you? I happen to have a similar experience to yours - i was born in Russia, brought up in the Uk ( 11 years) and Germany (Berlin - 6 years)and am currently back in the Uk. Your journal is what basically i always wanted to write, dd actually write for a bit..
i got a bit scared of the whole trilingual/tricultural life though.. answering people's ' where do you come from' questions just became so difficult! ")
Jun. 2nd, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
It's always nice to meet another adult TCK! Yeah, I know how you feel. At my German course, whenever we repeat the question "Woher komen Sie?", I just want to name all the countries I grew-up and live in, because I belong to Indonesia and more!
I wrote many times about how I feel about being an adult TCK, the most recent one was this http://trilingual.livejournal.com/22113.html. You might be able to relate as well!!
(no subject) - ziggyzest - Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - trilingual - Jun. 3rd, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 3rd, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
Learning German
Interesting to know that there are such efforts by the German government. I bet its an interesting experience, learning German with so many people from different backgrounds. I can't quite understand the meaning of "focusing on woman"... what? they teach you "honey... could you make me coffee" before they teach you "what time is it?" :)

I am learning German since couple of months now and I could also recommend these Online German Classes. Unfortunately they take a small charge but their system is great.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:17 am (UTC)
Re: Learning German
LOL. It is called 'the women's course' because the time to complete the whole course is longer (following the schedule of the kids' school, slower pace of lessons, etc).

Good luck with your German!
Jun. 3rd, 2009 01:43 am (UTC)
Deutschkurs !!
Hi .. great !! I can understand your decision taking the course with a child care. We are moms, and it is sometimes hard to do things without it.

I love to get to know with completely other side of moms as well and can understand the excitement of yours knowing these moms that have full of eagerness. I believe spirit is more inspiring than other things.

Na also ... wir koennen schon in Deutsch unterhalten, nicht wahr ...

regards, Anky
Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:20 am (UTC)
Re: Deutschkurs !!
We got the same interest here! Knowing people from different backgrounds sparkle lots of ideas in my brain!!

Nope, cannot say much yet mbak Anky. I need more vocabs to start a decent conversation.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 01:55 am (UTC)
Hello, I found your journal on the home page and you struck a chord of my interest. I took french all for years in my high school and I love to learn about culture and different languages(You seem to have all of these bases covered) I look forward to reading your enteries and hope that maybe we can become good LJ friends.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:22 am (UTC)
Hi there! It's nice to meet you!
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:46 am (UTC)
Hey, good luck .. I hope you will start it soon!!
Jun. 3rd, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
Santi... wow, cant believed that they also offer childcare in the same building. That's superb! I wish you the best of luck. I am not learning another language until I can learn how to control my emotions LOL! :)
Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:47 am (UTC)
That's the coolest thing of this Frauenkurs. The child care is also subsidised, btw!
Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:47 am (UTC)
It's very interesting to read about your experience! My Mom is korean but my father is german and I also grew up in germany. My mother still struggles with the german language even avter 30 years but recently she started to take german lessons again.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:48 am (UTC)
German is not the easiest language. If we're gonna live here forever , I can imagine myself taking lessons again and again.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
Hi, I came over here from the LJ home page too.
I think it's fascinating what you do, live in many different countries, speak many languages and raise your children multilangual.
If I ever have children I have wanted to do that since forever.
Though I grew up and lived in Germany all my life I have always had a passion for languages and at least in Italy I feel as much at home as here.

I don't envy you having to learn German, my mother tongue is a hard one, especially since the grammar is a mess. However Dutch should help you some and English too for certain words. Best of luck! I'd advice you to watch lots of German TV to get a better feel for the language but sadly German TV sucks big time.
If you ever want to ask something, feel free^^
Jun. 3rd, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
Raising multilingual children needs some work and consistency, but you're right.. it's oh so fun :D.

I will take your advice to watch more TV. When we came here a year ago, I followed some funny sitcom and movies but somehow all those disappeared. Lately I could only find dubbed American movies or krimis (which I don't like).
(no subject) - shenai - Jun. 3rd, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
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