Michael is a student I could easily award the ‘German student of the year trophy’ – if there was an accolade of achievement of this kind at Language Hub. I can hear some of my students sighing right now, thinking ‘Hey, what about me?’ and I can assure you, it is a pleasure to teach you, too. You rock! Seriously, I have and have had some very good students in my classes and my fellow German teacher Angela would certainly say the same thing about her students.
However, we are dealing with an extraordinary species of student here who puts an enormous amount of work not only in his language learning. Michael is currently studying to obtain his Cisco Network Professional Certificate, he also works as a web developer from home and says that – on average – he studies about three to four hours of German a day if his other commitments don’t get in his way.
Michael started taking foundation classes in July this year – mainly to impress his German girlfriend who lives in Germany. From the very beginning, he has been very inquisitive, completed his homework reliably and with a high standard and participated actively in class. A model student!
At home, he says, he usually starts by reading through a Grammar section of ‘lingolia’, an online tool he’s a big fan of. He also considers conjugating verbs as being an important part of his studies. Aside from this rather austere matter, he’s trying to keep it fun through YouTube videos, Duolingo, audio books on Spotify, watching German TV series online and challenging himself by doing lots of reading and listening comprehension tests.
It is now common knowledge that students who know two languages have an easier time gaining command of a third language than students who are fluent in only one language. Michael is South-African and his native language is Afrikaans. Afrikaans is a Germanic language closely related to Dutch, English and to a lesser extent German, enough to give him a head start not only with regard to pronunciation.
Granted, it looks like he doesn’t have a life. ‘I don’t have any friends!’ Michael, who is a really nice guy says with a twinkle in his eye. And it looks like he doesn’t get much sleep either and way too much coffee. But then again, it is just a phase in his life and we all look forward to a happy ending with the two being united in one country and chatting in German happily ever after.