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Fun Ways to Maintain Your German

Worried about taking a break from studying German? Here are lots of ways to keep your skills sharp!

Follow Kalamazoo College German on Facebook and on Instagram (@kzoogerman) for more ideas!

Watch

  • Netflix and Amazon Prime have a decent collection of German-language films and series. (Check out "Babylon Berlin" or "Dark" on Netflix and "You are Wanted" on Amazon). Our library also subscribes to a streaming service called "Kanopy" - here you can find classic German films, films from DEFA (East German films), and also contemporary films.  Even if you watch films with English subtitles, as long as you're listening to the German while reading, you are helping your language skills and being exposed to new and familiar vocabulary and grammatical structures. These films are always changing, but you're sure to find something you like! (Another tip: for many popular American shows on Netflix you can click on the bottom right to change the language to German!)
  • Stream German TV:  Want to put on German TV while you're having breakfast? Check out this site for a live stream of channels like ARD, ZDF, VOX, RBB, arte, and more!
  • Keep up on the news: If you feel like Deutschlandfunk (radio) or Tagesschau (nightly news) are just a bit too fast for you, check out the podcast Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten from Deutsche Welle, available (free!) on iTunes or nachrichtenleicht (easy news for adults).  If you're feeling more ambitious, you can try some of the thematic Deutsche Welle podcasts (just search for Deutsche Welle on iTunes).  They are also free, and a great way to combine whatever you're interested in (politics, science, music, literature, etc.) with German!  
  • One student's inspiring story of learning German in a year:  The Lernen to Talk Show. He made a video every week of his year in Germany, added subtitles, and you can watch how he progresses! There are some really amusing episodes that really show what it's like to be learning a language abroad! 
  • EasyGerman videos on YouTube: Interviews with people in the streets. Find here. If you're looking for a funny episode, check out the ones at Karneval in Köln. 
  • DW's Telenovela "Jojo sucht das Glück"is relatively simple German, a short "soap opera" of sorts about a Brazilian woman who moves to Germany. "Sie hat sich verliebt: in jemanden, den sie noch nie gesehen hat. Wird sie ihn treffen?" Find the first episode here

  • Extr@, also a telenovela of sorts about Sam, an American who moves to Germany, and his interactions with several roommates in a Berlin WG.  Has easy German and German subtitles! Start with Episode 1 on YouTube

  • The German Department at U of Michigan also has a huge list of ways to watch German online, check out this list here
  • German public television: Did you know you can watch German TV online for free?

Listen 

Read

  • Try reading part (or all) of a German translation of something you've already read in English. Doing so helps with vocabulary acquisition, since you already know the story. You can order German copies of various books from Amazon.de or BookDepository and can find most anything, from Twilight (auf Deutsch: Bis(s) zum Morgengrauen) to Harry Potter (auf Deutsch: Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen) to more canonized literature.  Just do an author search and see what you can find!
  • Find a (free) German e-Book! Just search for "German" on Amazon kindle. Many classics are free, or you can get books like Harry Potter as well.  Free books: Check out the children's book "Ich esse gern Obst und Gemüse", Grimms Deutsche Sagen
  • Want simpler texts?  Some students enjoy this series about Dino, an Italian learning German in Berlin: Café in Berlin. Check out book 1 of 8 here.  (Available as Kindle Book!)
  • Read children's literature:  Check out this list of "Zehn deutsche Kinderbuch-Klassiker" and order one online. Some favorites are the author Janosch, and his Oh wie schön ist Panama
  • There are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of free e-books available on amazon.com, amazon.de, and amazon.co.uk. Click here for more info
  • Find more e-books here
  • Deutsche Welle  DW is a radio station, but like NPR, they post a lot of stories online.  They have excellent resources for learners of German.  If you like their facebook page, called Learn German with DW.de, you can get all sorts of interesting things on your newsfeed, like question prompts, news stories, etc.  DW's German XXL page also offers news articles with words you might not know highlighted and glossed in German, as well as lots of videos.
  • Other newspapers: Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Die ZEIT
  • Deutschland-Nachrichten is a German language e-newsletter that delivers news from Germany to your in-box each Monday. Sign up here
  • Check out other periodicals for college-age students in Germany, botn on their websites and on Facebook:
    • STERN - A German magazine, usually read by folks in their 20s and 30s.  Not really great if you're looking for news, but it does contain some interesting cultural commentary.
    • NEON - Stern's sister publication for college kids.  Lots of stuff about German youth culture in here
    • UniSpiegel - The Spiegel’s college-related online publication

 Speak

  • Check out language learning communities in or near your town. Meetup.com is a great place to start!
  • Talk to yourself or to your pets! (No one is listening but you!)
  • Online language learning communities like lang-8 hook you up with a language buddy. You teach them English, they teach you German (or whatever language you want to learn) via Skype, e-mail, or another mode of communication.  

 Write

  • Keep a journal for 15 minutes each day and write as best you can about what’s on your mind – what you did today, what you might do if you won a million dollars, a description of your best friend, a description of your room, a creative story or poem – the more you write, the more comfortable writing will feel!
  • Find a pen pal from your class and promise to exchange handwritten letters or e-mails every couple of weeks or every month.
  • For grammar inquiries & practice: Grimm Grammar
  • Get a penpal! Find someone in your class and promise to exchange letters every so often, or check out some websites such as http://www.penpalworld.com/ or https://www.interpals.net/. Writing with someone in Germany can be so much fun, and really improve your writing and reading. There is also a Google Hangout for German language practice

Follow

  • Instagram accounts to follow to learn German:
    • tagesschau
    • zitate_auf_deutsch
    • deutsch_fuer_euch
  • Facebook pages to like for German learning
    • DW – Learn German – posts TONS of interesting articles, videos, exercises, and games on their page each day. If you only like one German page, like this one!
    • Ich liebe Deutsch
    • German World
    • Goethe-Institut – Learn German
  • Facebook pages to like for traveling to Germany
    • DAAD North America
    • German Consulate General New York
  • Facebook pages to like for news (German and international)
    • DW (Deutsch) – Deutsche Welle, German radio service; news and cultural commentary
    • Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin (German and international news)
    • ZEIT ONLINE and ZeitMagazin (German and international news, cultural commentary)
    • tagesschau (German and international news)
    • Der Postillion (satirical news, very much like the Onion)
    • Buzzfeed Deutschland
    • Deutschlandfunk (like NPR)

 Viel Spaß!