My arrival in Cologne was slightly less frightening than my Freiburg arrival. I knew someone in Köln already and we had planned to meet that evening. I also had two semi friends, who were friends of my ex boyfriend’s that I had spent quite a bit of time with in Auckland.

I was greeted at my new homestay by a friendly middle aged woman and her cute daughter. My room was less lovely than the Freiburg room had been and my laptop wasn’t able to find the internet network for some reason! So again I didn’t have internet at my finger tips and felt cut off.

Meeting Sebastien that night was great. We had met one year earlier in Athens when we stayed in the same hostel. He took me to one of his favourite Tapas restaurants and we walked around Köln for a while.

The next day was my first day of school (again). I got up nice and early and followed the directions I’d been given. I took two trams to get there. I was put straight into a class instead of doing the introductory test as I already had a basic level of German. My first lesson was very slow. The teacher seemed to take a very laid back approach to the lesson and didn’t appear to have a lesson plan at all.
We spent the first half hour going through what everyone had done the previous day which was long winded and boring.
During the break I became acquainted with my class mates. It was so nice to have more than one other class mate like I'd had in Freiburg. After class I went out for lunch with Ingrid a Brazilian student, and Mariana also Brazilian and Christian from Chile. During the next four weeks I spent a lot of time with a Ingrid.
Our classes didn’t improve a lot from that first day. They were often very slow to begin and there was no variation in the learning or teaching style. I felt frustrated a lot of the time especially as I had experience in language teaching and know that you cannot teach a language without context. The way the school worked, we had the same teacher for classes two times a day Monday till Thursday then on Friday we had another teacher. The teacher on Friday was so much better and really took the time to explain things properly and gave us more opportunities to practice speaking.

At the end of the month I had definitely learned some things but I felt like I hadn’t come close to the progress I had made in Freiburg at the little school I attended there with just four teachers in the tiny little building. It goes to show you aren’t always safer to go with a big franchise.

Posted in: Work abroadLanguage