Is it worth taking a high level language course abroad?

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WingSuet
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Is it worth taking a high level language course abroad?

Postby WingSuet » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:54 pm

Hi guys! Does anyone have any experience taking language classes abroad? Having recently moved to Berlin to look for a job, I am now considering taking a 4 week German intensive course while I'm searching. Now, I am already pretty advanced in German, I'd say C1, and have already studied it at University level. Do you think a 4 week intensive German course would be beneficial at a higher level or is it just a waste of money? I realize that I could/should get practise by talking as much German with the locals as possible, and I am already doing that, so you don't need to point that out. I'm just curious how much extra you could get out of taking an intensive course in comparison to just talking to people here in general and if it's worth the money. Any thoughts?
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Re: Is it worth taking a high level language course abroad?

Postby tomgosse » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:15 pm

Without knowing you, I would say that if you are already at a C1 level, I don't think spending money on another course would be worthwhile. If you can take, and function at university level courses, I don't know what you would gain. The only exception to this would be if were to take a course that specialized in the vocabulary of your profession. I'm not sure that such a thing exists. I know that other people will chime in.

Let me add, an accent reduction course might help, if you need it.

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Re: Is it worth taking a high level language course abroad?

Postby outcast » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:46 pm

I thought Tomgosse had not mentioned it but had not read his post entirely. He took the sails out of my answer haha.

I have said before I don't think basic entry level courses are useful. The two main reasons being I think most people even without much experience can teach themselves a new language in the most basic things (subject pronouns, basic verbs, direct/indirect object, major prepositions, basic cases and tenses), the second being entry courses have lots of "hopefuls" and Wanderlusters, who will keep those who really are there to learn held back, since a class tends to follow the speed of the slowest learner.

Conversely, top level class tends to not be detailed enough. At your C1 level you would need a very talented teacher with a very well-designed curriculum to really cover the ground you might be missing. Because the scope of the material at a C1 or C2 level is so spread out and vast, I don't think there are many classes that can really help you advance at any higher pace than if you just lived in the country and made an effort to read articles and books on a wide field of subjects, tackled less frequent vocabulary, and just kept plugging away at speech.

As Tomgosse said, if the course is about a certain field or major, then its a bit different. The focus is narrow so you won't get a comprehensive study, but you will get the material you need.

If money is not an issue then go for it. Otherwise, I am skeptical just a four week course at your level of German will be much useful. But I could be totally ignorant, just the math doesn't add up.
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Re: Is it worth taking a high level language course abroad?

Postby Montmorency » Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:23 am

WingSuet wrote:Hi guys! Does anyone have any experience taking language classes abroad? Having recently moved to Berlin to look for a job, I am now considering taking a 4 week German intensive course while I'm searching. Now, I am already pretty advanced in German, I'd say C1, and have already studied it at University level. Do you think a 4 week intensive German course would be beneficial at a higher level or is it just a waste of money? I realize that I could/should get practise by talking as much German with the locals as possible, and I am already doing that, so you don't need to point that out. I'm just curious how much extra you could get out of taking an intensive course in comparison to just talking to people here in general and if it's worth the money. Any thoughts?


As you are looking for a job, I suppose this means you will have free time during the day (at least when you are not going for interviews, etc). I suppose you want to make the best use of that free time, and this course might be one way. It occurred to me that it also might look good to potential employers that you were trying to improve your already high standard of German.

Unless you can think of better ways to occupy your time while not working, and/or think of better ways to improve your German skills, I'd say go for it, although you might want to choose your course carefully and perhaps discuss your particular needs with potential course providers.
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WingSuet
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Re: Is it worth taking a high level language course abroad?

Postby WingSuet » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:55 am

tomgosse wrote:Without knowing you, I would say that if you are already at a C1 level, I don't think spending money on another course would be worthwhile. If you can take, and function at university level courses, I don't know what you would gain. The only exception to this would be if were to take a course that specialized in the vocabulary of your profession. I'm not sure that such a thing exists. I know that other people will chime in.


outcast wrote:Conversely, top level class tends to not be detailed enough. At your C1 level you would need a very talented teacher with a very well-designed curriculum to really cover the ground you might be missing. Because the scope of the material at a C1 or C2 level is so spread out and vast, I don't think there are many classes that can really help you advance at any higher pace than if you just lived in the country and made an effort to read articles and books on a wide field of subjects, tackled less frequent vocabulary, and just kept plugging away at speech.


Thanks for your quick answers guys. What you two said really confirmed what I was suspecting about taking a language class at C1 level. But also, just like Montmorency said, right now I have nothing to do and if I can't find a job soon, I would have to go back home (which I was planning to do in two months anyway), so taking a language course would be a way to justify staying in Berlin for one more month at least, and as he said, it might look good on my CV. And it would also be fun ;) So I guess if you look at it from an occupational point of view, it would be a good thing to take a language class, but maybe I wouldn't improve my language skills very much from it.

What I really need from a language class is the possibility to improve my spoken skills and vocabulary, as I have already studied the grammar extensively, but these are also exactly the skills you develop by talking to people, so maybe it would just be an expensive way of conversing with more people...
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Re: Is it worth taking a high level language course abroad?

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:25 pm

Have you considered Italki? I haven't used it myself, but it could be an alternative to book a goal-specific lesson now and then. Decide beforehand what you want to work on, and pick a tutor who can help you solve the problem.
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WingSuet
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Re: Is it worth taking a high level language course abroad?

Postby WingSuet » Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:35 pm

jeff_lindqvist wrote:Have you considered Italki? I haven't used it myself, but it could be an alternative to book a goal-specific lesson now and then. Decide beforehand what you want to work on, and pick a tutor who can help you solve the problem.

I haven't really considered it, since I think I'd find it a bit stressful to have a private lesson on the internet. But thanks for the tip anyway!
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: 100 / 621 Die Zwerge (book)
: 50 / 708 Der Hobbit (audiobook)

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Re: Is it worth taking a high level language course abroad?

Postby tangleweeds » Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:51 pm

When visiting a target language country, some members have made appointments to work with native professional speech therapists, to help fine-tune their accents. Just my opinion, but this seems like a way to get more value for your money.
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