Virtual Summer Courses: Rebecca reports

Share this page

Share 'Virtual Summer Courses: Rebecca reports' via Facebook, Twitter or email below.

Our Summer Programmes went digital once again in 2021. UK participants met online and attended German language sessions with a UK teacher before taking part in a virtual language & culture course, and meeting young people from Germany. Participant Rebecca shares her highlights and how she built her skills to speak with native speakers.

Hello! My name is Rebecca. I’m a 17 year old from Scotland. Currently, I am studying German at Advanced Higher level – similar to an “A-level” or “die Abitur”. I’m also taking English, French and Biology.  In my free time I am learning BSL (British Sign Language) and Korean. This summer I attended UK-German Connection’s Virtual Summer Course with participants from all over Europe – here’s what we got up to…

Digital immersion

After meeting the UK participants online and having language sessions with a German teacher to prepare us for the course, the language and culture course began. It lasted five days, and was taught online due to Coronavirus. Lessons started at 9am UK time and lasted four hours (luckily for participants outside the UK, the time difference meant they got a lie in!). The teacher taught entirely in German, meaning we were immersed in the language – almost like being in Germany!

A packed week of activties

We covered so much in just 5 days! Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday

In groups, we wrote dialogue on a topic of our choice and then presented it to the class. Since it was the first day, it was nerve-wracking, but it helped us get to know each other.

Tuesday

The focus was “Studentenstädte” – cities where a large percentage of the population are students attending college/university. In groups, we made a PowerPoint about one of these “Studentenstädte”– my group picked Aachen.

Wednesday

Today we got an overview of German history – this was really interesting, as we focus on British history in school. We also discussed the German national anthem, and made presentations about our country’s anthem. This gave a fascinating insight into the cultures of other participants.

Thursday

This was my favourite task – learning about ‘Gendergerechtesprache’ – how words can be written to be inclusive of all genders, e.g Lehrerende (gender non-specific teacher) or words combined to include a masculine and feminine form e.g Lehrer_in, which combines masculine (Lehrer) and feminine (Lehrerin).

Friday

The final day gave more insight into German culture; this time politics and dialects. We also looked at variations of the word potato in Germany  – I liked ‘Erdapfel’ best, as it translates to ‘earth apple’ in English!).

Talking to native speakers

Throughout the week, we wrote mini essays on topics such as films, “Gendergerechtesprache” and dialects. We learnt very useful opinion phrases – perfect for those of us who will need to write essays for our exam this year! At the end of the course, we spoke with German teenagers in German and English. It was exciting to hear their ideas and improve my German.

I feel more confident talking to native German speakers as they were really kind and helped me without judgement when I made mistakes.

UK-German Connection’s Café Connect gives a similar opportunity: young people from Britain and Germany connect to practise speaking each other’s languages.

I will definitely be attending Café Connect and would really recommend others give it a shot too.

An eye-opening course

Talking to the other participants opened my eyes to the languages they are learning, and the careers which interested them. It has made me think about studying languages at university – perhaps in Germany.

Overall, despite the course being online, the experience was incredible. I know a lot more about German culture and language, and I feel confident about getting my ideas across in German. Furthermore, I have made several new friends, whom I will keep in touch with. Hopefully I can visit Germany soon, and put this language practise to use.

Thank you UK-German for this great opportunity, and I hope my experience can encourage others to give it a go too!

Do you have a UK-German story that you’d like to share? Get in touch with us at alumni@ukgermanconnection.org