Language Course Advisor Alessia Ungari tells us how her German evening course has given her a real passion for the language
Since I was at primary school I’ve been learning foreign languages and over the years I’ve become a more and more dedicated learner. When I heard that Cactus was offering me the chance to take a language course I was really excited. I speak Italian and Spanish fluently and wasn’t sure whether to brush up my French knowledge or to start with a completely new language. I decided to enrol on a German course, although I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to learn a word.
Why German then? Mainly because my relatives live in Switzerland and I’m used to hearing the language since I was a child. But I never learned more than a few words and expressions, such as “Danke”, “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Kartoffeln”. I wanted to surprise them, and the idea of being able to communicate with my little cousins made me very eager to begin lessons.
One of the advantages of Cactus courses: the timetable. As I’m a full time employee, I couldn’t really find time during the week, but studying one evening per week can definitely fit into everyone’s schedule.
The day of the first lesson arrived and I left my work place a bit anxious to meet my classmates and teacher. All I knew about my course was that the tutor was a native German speaker and that there were 6 students in total, including me. All students were in the room at 7pm and the teacher had already prepared the materials necessary to start. For the first hour we had to fill in a questionnaire and played a warm-up game to get to know each other and very soon the atmosphere became pleasant and enjoyable. The lesson went smoothly; Rebecca, our tutor, showed us the lesson plan and asked more about our preferences and expectations from the course. It was a nice feeling to know that we all could express our personal needs and that Rebecca was flexible regarding the course content.
After the first session passed I felt much more relaxed, and despite my tiredness, I was already looking forward to the second lesson.
I couldn’t expect to understand everything at beginner level, but I was really surprised to notice my quick progress over the 10 weeks. My understanding improved, I was much more confident with my speaking and I enjoyed the variety of activities and the great interaction with the group.
In short, my overall experience has been awesome and I haven’t stopped learning since: I’m currently attending the German Elementary 1 programme and all the concerns and the anxiety I had on first day have gone.
My Wednesdays are now exciting and I can’t wait to do my homework during the break to get prepared for the next lesson!