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6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

There are plenty of destinations where you can get by with English, but sometimes you want to do better than just ‘get by’. Here are 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination.

What are the 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination?

1. You will be able to discover your destination better than other tourists.
Getting by is one thing, but actually experiencing a trip abroad is quite another. No amount of guidebooks and online research can compensate for a basic lack of language ability. Speaking the language of your destination permits you to explore that destination beyond the regular tourist traps. Your language skills will not only allow you to dig into all the hidden gems of your destination, but they will also allow you to mingle with the locals to get a true experience on your holiday. Think of it this way: you’re not restricted to talking to the people at the tourist desk anymore.

2. Knowing how to communicate with local police or medical personnel can be life-saving.
Before you leave for your destination, make sure you learn how to ask for help in that destination’s local tongue. Do you know how to ask the waiter if this dish has peanuts in it? Or tell your host family that you’re allergic to fish? Can you tell the local doctor where it hurts? Moreover, an awareness of an environment improves your chance of remaining safe inside it. For example, walking around a busy marketplace, dazzled by an unfamiliar language, signs and accents will instantly render any tourist a more attractive mark for pickpockets. Communicating with other people, asking questions and looking confident will make you look like a semi-local yourself, and will ward off potential thieves.

Click here for German Survival Phrases that will help you in almost every situation

3. It helps you relax.
Traveling is much less stressful when you understand what that announcement at the airport was saying, or if this bus line reaches your hotel. These things stress you out when traveling and they disappear when you understand the language. This allows you to focus on planning your trip in a better, easier way.

Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.

4. Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.
Sometimes those relationships turn into friendships, and other times they’re nothing more than a lively conversation. Either way, as Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” When you approach someone – even staff at a store or restaurant – with English, rather than their own language, an invisible divide has already been erected. Making even a small effort to communicate in the language of the place you’re visiting can go a long way and you’ll find many more doors open up to you as a result.

Click here for the Top 25 German Questions you need to know to start a conversation with anyone

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

5. You’ll be a better ambassador for your country.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we know very little about other countries and cultures, especially the local politics. And what we do know is often filtered to us by the media, which tends to represent only certain interests. When you can speak the local language, you’re able to answer questions that curious locals have about your country and culture. Are you frustrated with how your country is presented in global news? Are you embarrassed by your country’s leaders and want to make it clear that not everyone is like that where you’re from? This is a very good opportunity to share your story with people who have no one else to ask. We all have a responsibility to be representatives of the place we come from.

6. Learning another language can fend off Alzheimer’s, keep your brain healthy and generally make you smarter.
For more information, check out this blog post about the 5 Benefits of Learning a New Language.

5 Tips To Motivate Yourself While Learning A Second Language

5 Tips to Motivate Yourself

1. Schedule your time.

One of the most important factors in keeping your motivation up is developing it into a habit. Whether it be 20 minutes or 3 hours, schedule time to study every day and stick to it. Regular exposure solidifies what you learn and keeps you progressing. To make sure you stick to your routine, a great idea is to build a schedule for your day and decide that every day/Monday/weekend, you study from 6pm to 8pm. Just remember that 30 minutes a day, every day, is better than a binge 8-hour study session at the end of the week (though it’s obviously better than nothing).

2. Learn a word a day with our great Word of the Day learning tool.

Trying to learn everything at once and getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of words in your new language is not a good idea. Sometimes, even if you do learn new words, you forget them quickly because you haven’t heard them enough in context. As mentioned above, daily exposure to new words is an important factor in solidifying your target language. Our Word of the Day tool delivers you daily words and phrases, shows you how to pronounce them and use them in different contexts. Since you can get the WOTD via email, Facebook, or Twitter, this is a passive way of learning a language that fits into your existing daily social media routine. It only takes 3 minutes to review a word and practice its pronunciation, so you can do it on the way to work, in the gym, or even before you go to bed.

Click here to get the German Word of the Day for FREE!

3. Make friends!

Make friends!

If there’s a community of people who speak the language you want to learn in your city, start attending those events! Friendship is the easiest way to get comfortable with the slang, intonation, and mannerisms of a new language. The key to learning any language is speaking a lot, so try to find a native speaker who can be your conversation partner. Having friends that speak your target language means that you will find yourself in situations where you have no choice but to speak that language. But since they are your friends, you will be doing things you enjoy with them. So these situations will probably have little or no stress. These friendships will also mean that you have someone you can ask about language, culture, and so on.

4. Take a break!

Break time

If you’re having an off day or if your brain is already tired of studying, see if you can take a break and do something fun AND useful. Comic books, illustrated stories, and cartoons are a fun way to keep learning while reducing the target language text load for weary eyes. Plus, the images help you plant lasting seeds of memory, as researchers say humor opens up cognitive doors. This is a way to keep the target language active in your brain without the strain of studying a textbook.

Don’t get stuck with the same content though. When things start to bore you, move on. Change up your books, movies, anime, music, dramas, and so on when they start getting old.

5. Don’t give up!

As with any goal, there are going to be pitfalls along the way. You’d have to be incredibly determined to never have an off-day or consider giving up. And when you do it’s ok, but the important thing is to pick yourself up after this temporary setback and keep going. Knowing you’ve overcome a few obstacles is only going to make the moment you have your first conversation in another language that much sweeter. Like the German proverb says, ‘Fall down seven times, stand up eight.’

If you need more motivation, check out this list of the Top 10 Inspirational Quotes in German.

GermanPod101 Goes Mobile! Master German with One Thumb, No Squinting Necessary

Let’s play a game of Would You Rather?

Would you rather have this…
Over 300 German learning CDs (yeah, CDs…remember those?) piled to the ceiling in your bedroom next to stacks upon stacks of expensive, outdated textbooks that teach you dry, humorless German conversation.

…or this?
The same amount of content, shrunken down to fit onto your smartphone or tablet. And all those lessons? They’ve been updated to teach you vocabulary, grammar and culture so that learning German is actually fun!

The answer is clear. You’d rather have the GermanPod101 Mobile!

The biggest German course.
All on your tiny mobile device.

Introducing GermanPod101 Mobile Beta!
Take all of your favorite German lessons and lesson notes on the go, anywhere you have a WiFi or 3G/4G connection, anytime and on any device. That’s hundreds of German lessons from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, available at the touch of a finger. Optimized for any screen, you’ll navigate through our rich collection of lessons and resources easily and intuitively.

No more zooming. No more squinting. This is language learning on-the-go!

Exclusive New Feature for 12-month and 24-month Premium Subscribers!
Whether you’re an iOS or Android user, Beginner or Advanced speaker, you can swipe your way to German fluency as you go from lesson to lesson. Accessed through your device’s browser, once you log in and your 12-month or 24-month Premium membership has been authenticated, you’ll gain access to our entire lesson library including audio, video, lesson notes, line-by-line transcripts and vocabulary with audio.

Loading that many lessons onto your Phone would take up 20GB at least! With GermanPod101 Mobile, you get all the content without giving up all that storage space. Save that extra space for more Instagram photos of your delicious German lunch!

learn German online with GermanPod101 Mobile

Log On to Tune In
Using any WiFi-enabled device, log in at mobile.Germanpod101.com and tap on “Browse” to scroll through all seasons and lessons by difficulty. If you’d like to continue where you’ve left off, tap on “History.”

Most Lessons come with 3 Audio Tracks:

  • Lesson Audio Track – Listen to the complete lesson
  • Lesson Review Track – Review words and phrases from the lesson
  • Dialog Track – Hear just the German-only dialog to make sure you understand it all!
  • Plus, you get Lesson Notes and Supplementary Resources:

  • PDF Lesson Notes – Get the lesson in writing
  • Lesson Transcript – Read and listen to the dialogue again and again
  • Vocabulary List – The words, translations, and pronunciations
  • Expansion – Additional audio related to the grammar
  • GermanPod101 Mobile is currently available to 12-month and 24-month Premium and Premium Plus subscribers only. To access GermanPod101 Mobile as well as the unlimited GermanPod101.com access that comes with Premium and Premium+, click here to subscribe.

    GermanPod101 Mobile Launch Special: Save 20% on any 12-month or 24-month Premium Subscription until November 15th, 2012. Use coupon code MOBILE

    Click here to save 20% on 12-month and 24-month Premium!

    If you have questions or feedback for us, send us a message here.

    New German Resources Corner

    Hi there listener,

    When students start learning German, a ton of questions start popping into their brains like…

    “How’d the German language come to be?”
    “What are the top 100 German words I should know?”
    “What’s the deal with this crazy grammar?”
    “Where’s a good dictionary when you need one?”

    You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers.

    You’ll find them and a lot more at the newly redesigned German Resources Corner. It covers everything from language origins, the writing system, grammar, and must-know vocabulary down to extras like mobile apps and the dictionary. Best of all, you get access to FREE resources like:

  • About the German Language
  • German Pronunciation
  • Introduction to Grammar
  • German Dictionary
  • 100 Most Common Words
  • …and more!
  • The German Resources Corner is a master list of everything you’ll need to know about German. Jump in, master the basics of reading, writing, and grammar, and reinforce the material you learn from Audio and Video lessons.

    Click Here To Visit The German Resources Section!

    German Soccer

    Soccer is the most important sport in Germany. More than six million members are organized in the German Football Association (DFB). In addition there are about four million people who play soccer in hobby teams on a regular basis.

     

    In 2006 the soccer fever in the country reached a new dimension. The FIFA World Cup put Germany into a state of emergency. Houses and cars were decorated with flags. Even in companies television sets were installed, so that the employees did not miss a match of the national soccer team. Emotional higlights during that period were the fan parties. Thousands of people watched the matches together on huge screens and partied with the visitors from all over the world. The atmosphere was wild and peaceful. Also the weather contributed to the fantastic atmosphere. During the whole tournament there was perfect summer weather.

     

    Hopefully this party will be continued in 2011. Then Germany will host the Women’s Soccer World Cup. Of course the German women will try to defend their actual world champion trophy in their own country.

    Compared to the USA, women’s soccer still plays a minor role in Germany. There is an average of 800 to 1,000 onlookers at league matches. But the situation is slowly changing. Because of the two championship victories in the last World Cups, the regard is constantly increasing. In 2007 more than 20,000 excited people bid their welcome to the successful team in Frankfurt. With a total of eight championship victories at international tournaments, the women soccer team is even more successful than its male counterpart.

    Now you understand the importance of Soccer in German society! Next time you play the sport, you will have these key elements in mind!

    Bier

    The picture of the beer drinking Germans is well used abroad. Indeed the cliche of a nation of beer drinkers is based on real facts. With a consumption of more than 110 liters per head Germany holds the second position in Europe. Only Czech people drink more.
    But not only the consumption of beer in Germany is high, but also is the assortment of different kinds. Estimations say there are more than 5000 different beers.


    Of course you won’t find all of them on the shelves in the supermarkets. Many beers come from small breweries which sell their products regional or direct to the customers. Nevertheless there is an impressive assortment in a German drinks cash-and-carry. In addition to regional and national kinds of beer you will find many international ones. Popular brands are for example Miller and Heineken. With this huge number of beers it is not easy to keep track of all of them.


    The most important national kinds are pilsner, wheat beer, lager, dark beer and bock beer. In addition there are regional beers like “Alt” from the Niederrhein, “Kölsch” from Cologne and “Berliner Weiße” from Berlin. Some regional kinds of beer have loyal devotees. In the region between the big cities Düsseldorf and Cologne people are friendly arguing on the topic who enjoys the more tastefull beer. People from Düsseldorf swear by their “Alt”, people from Cologne defend their “Kölsch” emphatically. A special position on the beer market is held by the federal state of Bavaria. More than 50 percent of all German breweries are located here. Nearly every hamlet has its own small brewery.

    Ratingen

     Ratingen is located in immediate proximity to Düsseldorf. With more than 90,000 inhabitants the town is middle-sized. People who like being outside in nature, can explore the woods which surround Ratingen. There are many paths for walkers, bikers and people on horseback. Furthermore the recreation parc “Green Lake” and the open air theatre at the “Blue Lake” are popular destinations.The centre of Ratingen is the townplace with its fountain and the surrounding old houses. Three times a week it is market day. 


    Then it is possible to buy meat, cheese and flowers here. Extremely favored are fresh vegetables and fruits, which are mainly grown on farms in the Ratingen’s environment. In combination with “St. Peter and Paul”, the old church, the marketplace is a nice setting for many city festivals. A special experience is a summer evenig at the market place. If the weather is fine, it is barely possible to get a seat in one of the beer gardens. Nearly every chair is occupied, normally until 11 p.m. No wonder – the atmosphere ist fantastic. 
    It is best, when the sinking sun baths the historical buildings at the market place in a golden light. Ratingen is an old town. A settlement of that name was first mentioned in the 9th century. In 1276 the settlement gained its town charter. Shortly after that the construction of the city wall begun. Until today three towers and some other parts of the fortification survive. 


    On a trip to Ratingen you should not miss it. You will get an extremly good impression of the fortification and its construction at the “Big Tower”. In addition to the city wall you can see parts of the city moat there. Ratingen is located between three freeways. There is no place in the city from where one needs more than 15 minutes to reach a freeway entrance ramp. Furthermore the train connections to Essen and Düsseldorf are good and the airport in Düsseldorf can be reached in just a few minutes. Because of its good travel connections and the proximity to Düsseldorf Ratingen’s economically growth is good. Since local business taxes are less high than in other areas many companys from sunrise industries are moving to Ratingen.

    To Live and Work in Germany, You Have to Start Here!

    Every country and culture has their own unique way of defining what is proper behavior when meeting someone new. In Germany, you may have seen that people sometimes hug of exchange kisses on the cheek, like the French do. However, it is a recent trend, as  only young people will get as close as that. As a rule of thumb, most Germans will shake hands while bowing their heads a little, kind of like a nod.

    Another thing to be taken into consideration when greeting someone, is also the rank of the person. The older or higher-ranking person should offer his hand first. If you offer your hand to somebody ranking higher than you, a few will even snub it, but fortunately they are the minority. Of course, a general cultural rule is sometime not followed even by the natives in some cases, and being a foreigner might give you a bit of leeway, but in the case of , especially, a professional work environment, we recommend that you keep in mind the general customs, as first impressions are very important.
    Germans are known to observe the rules (in particular the uneducated may not), please try to observe etiquette when in Germany, as that will definitely help your career in Germany. We are sure that people will take into account your manners and you will be much more appreciated for your courtesy.

    Also, it is quite important you don’t forget to bow your head a little when shaking hands. If If you keeping looking straight ahead,
    people will instinctively perceive you as arrogant. And we sure don’t want you to give the wrong impression!

    Is Your Coffee as Strong as Your German Apologies?

    Is Your Coffee as Strong as Your German Apologies?

    One of the most important things to learn about a language, aside from introductions, is how to apologize in case you find yourself in the unfortunate situation that you need to do so.
    In the case of German, the most general word of apology is “Entschuldigung“. This literally means “apology“, and
    it’s used in most situations:

    • when you’ve accidentally done something bad
    • when you want somebody’s attention
    • when you want people to make room

    Keep in mind though, that you should not use it when somebody tells some sad news about themselves, because that is not something you
    should apologize for – unless you had any stake in it.

    If you need something stronger than “Entschuldigung”, use “Es tut mir leid“ (literally translates to ‘ it does me
    harm’ ).
    And you can make it even stronger by adding an adverb before the “ - leid”.
    For example,

    Es tut mir wirklich leid. - I’m really sorry.
    Es tut mir sehr leid. - I’m very sorry.

    And what to do in case that a friend is the one that is apologizing to you? In this case, the words used to accept an apology informally are:
    Es ist (schon) okay. - It’s okay (now).
    Kein Problem. - No problem.

    Will Kamp-Linfort be saved?

    Kamp-Linfort is a small town between Duisburg and the Netherlands, about 40 minutes from Düsseldorf, with an interesting past dating to more than 800 years ago. Nowadays, about 60,000 people live here, and they sure love their small town, offering both nature and the benefits of the big cities.

    The name‘Kamp-Lintfort’ indicates the names of the two original settlements that formed it: ‘Kamp’ and ‘Lintfort’.

    ‘Kamp’ was a settlement that succesfully evolved around a French monastery, encouraging the founding of more monasteries, as these ended up extending up to the Baltic states. However, In 1802, Napoleon occupied Kamp and dissolved the monateries.
    Today, however a few monks are living there again, and the monastery has become a tourist attraction, with its beautiful abbey and terrace garden; which is said to have been the inspiration for Sanssouci, the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia.

    Quite differently, ‘Lintfort’ evolved around the mine Friedrich-Heinrich, which built most of the houses there (and to this day it can be confusing as they are all similar!) and continues to be one of the main employers in Kamp-Lintfort. The second big employer in Kamp-Lintfort was Siemens, which produced cell phones here. However, in 2005 Siemens sold their factory, which then declared bankruptcy and closed down the factory.

    As a result, many people are unemployed here. To make matters worse, German coal is too expensive and the mines will be shut down, causing more jobs to be lost. Even though people love their Kamp-Lintfort, this might be a story with a sad ending. What will happen to this beautiful town? After all these years, will new companies come here, or will people leave Kamp-Lintfort?