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My experience with German

I finished the tree a while ago, but I need to tell you my experience with the German language.

It started around the year of 2010. In school we were forced to learn German. At first I hated this language. You know in the US, most of you studied Spanish and you hated it because it was not fun with all the pressure ? Well, in Switzerland it is the same, but with German. Plus, the language has a bad reputation here (it sounds horrible, it is impossible to learn etc,) So I had bad grades, and had the amazing idea to cheat in all my exams and vocabulary tests. But if I hated the language so much, it was because of the way we were taught. The teacher spoke to us in French/English and we answered in those languages, not in German. The students were making noise and didn’t concentrate in class. So I did the same. The homework’s we had to do were boring. No interaction, no immersion just read the question and answer it or do an exercice that you don’t want to do. I wasn’t learning at all.

After 3 years of studying German, I decided to change school. At first I wanted to do Spanish but the level of the course was too high. So I switched for Italian Bad Idea. After 6 months of struggles, I changed for German again. The teacher was bad and the class was boring. I thought I was going to quit German when I would enter in high school, but then I went in Vienna with my dad. I realized that I could say stuff, like ordering a beer for my dad, and the language wasn’t that ugly. I liked Austria it was a beautiful country and I decided to continue German in school.

The teacher was great, the class perfect; no noise, all the students were serious. I could finally concentrate and we had to speak in German. At first it was scary for me. I thought everybody was going to judge me. And here comes Duolingo. My level improved SO fast. Learning simple words like „Ducks“ and „Spoon“ that I don’t really care boosted my confidence. I started to listen some German musics (Alligatoah, Cro and more) I decided to watch my TV shows in German and do what I like to do : playing video games in German.

Now, I love the language and I think it was thanks of Duolingo. It’s been a year with this website and I recommend it to all my friends and family, because this website is a miracle. I am also one of the best of my German class and I am ready to pass my C1 exam for my International Baccalaureat. And I am quite surprised to see myself learning Dutch, a language that I would have never consider in the past.

My plans for the futur ? Continue with German and try to pass the Goethe B2 Test before next summer. Maybe go to Berlin or the German part of Switzerland and read more books when I will have time.

Thanks for reading my story and you guys should continue to learn a language ! No matter what are the obstacles, never give up !

November 22, 2015



I felt the same when I was younger and had to take German in school. I never learnt anything and looking back I can't recall anything because it was just all messing about and never taking everything seriously and also there was always the stigma that came with German "it's an ugly, harsh language, etc" but one day I sat down and decided to listen to some actual German and it was just magic to my ears, I fell in love with the language, the real German as it was my first time hearing it outside of terrible non-speakers attempting it and the even worse "hollywood Scheissdeutsch" ( as I like to call it)

I find Duolingo very helpful and I hope one day to surprise my German friends by speaking fluent German =D


"Hollywood Scheissdeutsch" is my new favorite word.


:D it's true though


So you understand my struggle. I hope one day I will be able to live in Germany or foo an exchange program there. And I like the "Hollywood Scheissdeutsch" haha great word !


Yea I get it

I would like to travel Europe, I've never been there so deciding to live there or not is something I wont decide on until I've actually been there.

I've met and kept in contact with a lot of people who live in Europe so visiting them should be fun.


This is very encouraging. I had the same problem with english, but here I am! I learnt a lot since I started the course here. I've already tried Busuu, Livemocha, Babbel, but they aren't as good as Duolingo. I hope we speak german fluently soon :D (I'd be glad if you guys report any mistake)

Viel Glück


Learned and learnt both work but I would put a "have" in front of whichever you choose to use, personally :)


Native English speaker here (from the USA).

No mistakes in your comment =). Most people here would say "I learned a lot..." instead, but you will be understood regardless. Saying "I learnt" is still much more common than saying "I have learned/learnt", which is unheard of in spoken and written English (at least in America).

Dein Englisch ist sehr gut =D


You should say, "since I started the course here". I'm a native speaker, and the 'had' sounds awkward where you wrote it. But the rest of your writing is great!!! :D Good luck with German :)


Das ist gut! Ich lerne Deutsch mit Duolingo, und es ist gut!


I had a similar experience in high school, we had to learn German and most people just messed about. I remember the teacher would often give up and we would end up watching Faulty Towers, a British comedy programme, because he just couldn't control the class! I actually quite liked my German class but I hated school, so it was never really that enjoyable. Some years later I developed a fascination with languages. I was interested in more distant languages, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Arabic, I didn't learn any of these but had a habit of collecting dictionaries and getting random foreign language books out of the library. I purposefully avoided European languages, French and German. How boring, who would want to learn those anyway? (I thought at the time!) On one of my random library foreign language book binges however, I grabbed a German book. Perhaps I wanted to explore European languages at the time or maybe I had just got bored with trying to decipher foreign scripts. Anyway I remember sitting in my kitchen looking at this German book and thinking I can actually understand bits of this! I didn't understand it all but I understood some words. Then I realised, I can't throw away the progress I have already made on this language! So I kept at my German. This year my husband visited Germany for the first time, we went to the Rhine valley. It was such a beautiful place and I shocked myself because I could speak and understand people. It did get a bit too complicated when people said a lot to me in one go, but I understood enough to ask for food, directions and museum tickets! When I returned to England I felt able to say I can actually speak two languages now, German and English. I took an A1 Goethe test in German a couple of months after returning and passed. In February I hope to take the A2 and then, in the future, onto B1, B2 etc. and Duolingo has helped so much.

Thanks for your lovely story :)!


Thank you for your lovely story. If you like foreign languages like Arabic, Russian etc you should start learning them after German don't you think ? I hope that one day I will be able to visit Germany (like a road trip around the country) I really want to use my German skills with locals from Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Leipzig ! I liked your story. I think school is really bad at teaching languages, they should include more interaction and immersion, like forcing the students to speak the language in class.


The beginning part of your story sounds just like my school. Pretty much everyone at my school hated languages because the way it is taught is terrible. However, a lot of kids like me are now using Duolingo and so many of us like languages. I don't understand how something so amazing can be taught so terribly.


I'm originally from New York City, I just got a new job and I'm moving to Germany for a few years and I leave in February. I have no prior German experience outside of a quick trip to Munich a few years ago (other than das Bier!) Your story of using Duolingo and learning German is really really inspiring. I've been trying to immerse myself in German language/culture as much as possible so I'm a step ahead when I start my full time language classes.

Thanks for the inspiration....good luck on your language journey!


How lucky you are to go live in Germany ! Try to use Duolingo as much as possible and finish the tree before February. It will really help you to boost your confidence ! Don't be afraid to speak German with the locals, try to avoid the bad habit of speaking English in a foreign country


Well done mate! Keep it up for goodness sake.


I'm learning german in school right now and its really boring and annoying but from here im actually learning more than i have learned my past year in school and it's kinda helping me for now so overall german isn't so bad after all


You are lucky ! I wish I could have met this website back in 2010 !


this website was founded in 2012 though..?


This is such a great and encouraging story. I'm from the US and I know exactly what you mean about hating a language when you are forced to study it. As you said, I had the exact same experience with Spanish. I agree with you 100%. Thanks so much for sharing!


Learnt German for years at school. Feel that I've learnt so much more with Duolingo in less than 2 months.

I guess it says something about our educational systems, right?


Thanks for sharing your amazing story with us =)


Feeling encouraged. Thank you so much for your post. As I'm struggling with French right now. Hope someday I will be able to write a post like this. :")


German is the only language i think is the most interesting.


Great work! Time to read Schiller's "Wilhelm Tell" in German if you haven't already ;)


Brilliant story! Just wondering... Would it be possible to solely rely on Duolingo (Till level 25), to pass the C1 exam?


No, maybe B2 but not C1.


when my teacher told us to pick a language to start learning i said that i have been learning a language all my life and its called English. :)


Nice story, bro! Keep it going! GL!


That's is very interesting. I am in 7th grade and I've been learning German since 5th grade. I am a native Spanish speaker and I'm also learning Italian. I recognize that words in all of these languages sound and look the same, while they have the same meaning. You said you didn't like the language because of the atmosphere and the way you were taught. After Duolingo did the language stick with you? And how is your journey with Dutch? I feel like learning it once I'm done with German, Italian, and ASL.


Yes, Duolingo helped a lot but the teacher and the class is also great. I am learning Dutch really fast and I enjoy it, I just hope I will have more time to do the course and practice more around Christmas.


I can relate to all you guys. I had some really nice teachers but they just couldn't control the class when teaching.

Found this site and can't wait to start learning some German so I can talk to my German friends :D


Hey, it's great to hear your story and I have started learning German so can you please advise me how to be proficient speaker like how did you improve the pronunciation and also the words.


I live in Germany and if you want to lern good german then go to Hannover ! it's the purest German that you will find ! If you lern German there, then you can really say " I can speak German ! "


Deutsch ist nicht schwer ! nur die Gramatik macht probleme ! and I am British !


Thanks you for your share. :)


This is so cool i love how you have a story i would give a lingot but i have none☹


Funny I had the same relationship progress with german (hated it because of school and then came to appreciate it by learning it on my own) and I also come from Switzerland. Good continuation with honing your language(s) skills!


I wish there is german in my school we have to take 2 years of a language to graduate and french and spanish are the only one's


My friend actually introduced me to German and duolingo. At the time, I knew just about nothing about Germany and the German language. Now, after finishing the tree and a year of learning, I can actually somewhat speak it and its amazing! A language and culture that I knew basically of nothing before, was introduced to me through my friend and duolingo. My life wouldn't be the same, now I'm going on to learn other languages!


Thank you for sharing. I took German for a semester in college and gave up because it was too hard. Then I watched "Eine Frau in Berlin", then "Unsere Müter, Unsere Väter" on Netflix. I decided to resume my learning. I dug out my old German text books, started working on Dou and listening to coffee break German. I am loving it....


I think that in England languages are not a priority at schools. I can see that many of my learners in Primary School cannot understand the importance of knowing a foreign language. I believe these are the attitudes that the parents pass on to their children. When you travel around Europe, especially in the Eastern Europe, the attitudes are very different. Many young people see how important knowing a language is. I can also observe English being less favoured these days. I love to learn languages, without knowing them I would not be able to work where I work today.


My dad's from Austria and I know German almost fluently. In my opinion it's quite an easy language once you get the hang of it!

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