https://www.duolingo.com/bastianbalthazar

Almost 2 years in Germany!

Hi all,

My 2 year anniversary of moving to Germany happens in 2 months. As my current Aufenthaltstitel was soon to be invalid, I paid a visit to the Bürgeramt for an interview with my immigration officer. Although I dread Amts of any kind, I figured I ought to take care of this rather pressing matter before one of those men-in-black guys showed up at my apartment's doorstep one day with a ticket back to the good ol' USA. After handing over the details of my bank account for the past 3 months, speaking German with her for 10 minutes, and showing proof that employers are hiring me for my freelance design work, I had my Aufenthaltstitel extended for another year! This means I can now also work legally full time here in Germany, which is great news.

She also told me that while my German was good, it still needs a bit of work. She gave me information to find Integration courses in Berlin. The cost is quite low compared to the more expensive language schools sprinkled generously throughout Berlin, and plus I get 50% of my money spent back once I pass the Prüfung at the B2 level.

Fast forward to a few days later and I visit an Integration center 2 minutes from my apartment in Neukölln. After I introduce myself and produce my official letter entitling me to attend an Integrations course of my choice from the Bürgeramt, a nice and attractive young woman at the front desk hands me a sizeable stack of stapled papers, leads me down a long hallway, and has me sit down in a somewhat intimidating and empty white room. Then she points up at the white clock on the wall with a slight smile, tells me I have half an hour to complete it, and briskly disappears to the reception again. She comes back, and I score just 1 point below the B2 level placement.

She was very impressed by my German and told me there is no need to take the class and that I could skip straight through to taking the B2 test at my earliest convienence. I politely declined and told her I think I'll go ahead and take the minimal 4 week course just to refresh some of the finer points of grammar, and who knows--it could also be interesting to learn in a group again? I think they will also give me a crash course on German law and history.

Anyway, just wanted to share a little about my life here in Germany. It feels good to have made it this far, though when I speak German I can tell there is still a very long way to go before I'm in my comfort zone. But then I remember back to the first few months of living here when I struggled enormously ordering food in a restaurant or talking to people in stores and have to smile with kindness at that perplexed, slightly younger version of myself. Now, I can have meaningful (if somewhat limited) exchanges with native German speakers about politics, books, and just everyday stuff like, "Darf ich hier ein bisschen länger bleiben bitte?".

September 23, 2016

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/buck72
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Congratulations on your progress in German as well as your approaching two-year anniversary living in Germany! It has been fun watching your improvement in German through your posts as well as your "The Art of German" posts! Ausgezeichnet!

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JAusserehl

haha even the locals dread going to any type of Amt! good luck and wishing you all the best. i am almost three years in germany in a few days actually and never thought about how far i have come until i read this!

September 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/christian
Mod
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Thanks for sharing. Viel Erfolg bei der Prüfung!

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bastianbalthazar

Gerne. Danke fürs Lesen und für deinen Glückwunsch auch!

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Lorel90
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Wonderful, I am so happy you are officially above B2, even if you take the B2 class. I think you took the right decision, it is better to make sure you know all the B2 grammar and vocabulary, before moving on. Congratulations. What will be your next class C1 or B2.2?

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Butterflower305

Congratulations! I love your story! I have friends in Frankfurt and Munchen and visit Germany 2-3 times a year. Each time I visit, I'm glad to test and see my language progress, but I can't wait until the day that I'm truly confident in my fluency. But, please keep posting as you learn and navigate through life there.

September 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/HeatingUp

Wow it's been that long.. I remember you from a while ago.. I need to step BV my game up lol

October 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Rucho94
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Congrats! :) Could you tell how was the process of leaving the USA? I'm in the same situation, only the country's different. :)))

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bastianbalthazar

Thanks! Well, I left the US to study in London. I was on a study visa for a little over a year. After that, I moved to Germany and obtained an Aufenthaltstitel for studying German in language school here. That was it really. I didn't actually have to do anything in terms of leaving the US except say bye to my family and friends, give a notice to my employer and the landlord of my apartment, then pack my bags (which was quite hard actually).

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Kajo76
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That's interesting for me, too :-) Although I live here in Germany and don't have intentions to move to another country.

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Kajo76
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Oh, your story is soo awesome! I wish you all the best for your life here in Germany :-)

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/rosademarzo

Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Weiter so! Und schau die Nachrichten auf Deutsch, das bringt dich sicher weiter!

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/germanwannabee

Great work on the test :) Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/NeonMoogle
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Congrats! Glad to hear that life in Germany is working out for you.

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Microeconomist

Great to hear that you're doing well man! you're living my dream of working in Berlin :)

Keep in touch :D

September 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Raxpeller

Gut gamacht!

September 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bastianbalthazar

Thanks for all the luv everyone!

September 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DollyMaree

Congrats!All the best in the future.You have really given me hope.

September 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/q-lark
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Thank you for your positive and inspiring news. I will learn much from people like you.

September 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SteveLizcano

You got a two year Aufenthaltstitel for studying the language?

September 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bastianbalthazar

1 year and a half to be precise. I started with a plain old passport with its 3 month allowance to stay abroad first, and when it was about to expire I visited the Bürgeramt. I had to show proof of my new German address first, proof of language school attendance, proof of German health insurance, and my bank statements from the past 3 months.

September 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/asjaajaja

Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Ich habe auch einen guten Freund in Berlin, der Amerikaner ist. Er lernt auch Deutsch, aber er traut sich nicht zu, selbst Deutsch zu sprechen, glaube ich. Aber das wird er bestimmt bald auch lernen. Auf jeden Fall glaube ich nicht an das Vorurteil, dass Amerikaner keine Fremdsprachen lernen können ;) (Ich glaube, mehr Amerikaner in den USA glauben es selbst...)

September 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bastianbalthazar

Schön zu hören, dass du nicht diese Vorurteil hast. Man braucht lange, um eine neue Sprache nicht nur zu lernen, sondern auch mit ein bisschen Selbstvertrauen zu sprechen. Ich mache viele Fehler aber habe auch viel Spaß dabei.

October 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/asjaajaja

Ja, da hast du Recht.

October 4, 2016
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