Enrichment Award Update: Learning German Through Podcasts, Short Novels, and News Outlets

Learning German for the past three months has become significantly more challenging. My progress is not as rapid as it used to be, and psychologically, it is slightly discouraging. That is not to say that I do not feel the progress, however. I can tell that I’ve gotten further in these past few months than I was during my last year of high school German. Guided teaching was definitely the best approach for the foundations of the language, but for vocabulary, there is no better method than reading and listening to the language.

I have been trying to dedicate a few hours a week to a mixture of reading German novels/short stories, and listening to German podcasts, videos, and news sources, such as the Deutsche Welle. I still struggle to hear everything clearly in the language’s native speed, but after a few listens, I usually get the basic information, and with a few more, I tend understand most everything said in the reports.  For reading, I have found parallel texts to be an unbelievably helpful resource. It prevents me from having to keep referring to an online translator to type the whole sentence in to check my accuracy, but I still need to refer to dictionaries for simple single words or small phrases. After finishing my current short story collection, I intend to do a slow, thorough reading of Franz Kafka’s Die Verlandung, known as The Metamorphosis to English readers.

Several new challenges have risen since my last update.  Time has been much harder to find, with the studying for my first actuarial exam, and some familial health issues that needed focused on, while still trying to maintain a 4 days a week work schedule. However, I have learned a bit from the experience and realized the importance of practicing my language skills whenever I get the chance!

John Rowland



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