I was expecting refugees. What I got was the United Nations.
After trying German courses online for the past few months, I have now started a daily class to learn the language in a more traditional setting.
Given all the publicity surrounding the influx of refugees into Germany in recent years, I was expecting to be in a room full of people from Syria, with a sprinkling of Afghanis, Iranians and maybe some people from Eritrea or Somalia. Expectations, as you well know, don’t always match reality.
Some of my classmates may indeed be refugees. There’s a young Syrian male, or at least he looks young to me. Pretty much everyone in the class looks young to me; I guess I have reached that age.
Being married to a language teacher (and the father of another language teacher) I have absorbed some information about language learning. I knew therefore that the first class would be variations on “my name is Lorne. I come from Canada.” What I didn’t expect was the variety of countries. There were 16 people at that first lesson. A Syrian, four Romanians, a lone Canadian (me if you didn’t guess), someone from France, two from Spain, a Russian, a Croatian, a Greek with (I think) an Albanian wife. I’m sure she’s Albanian – I’m not sure about the wife part. There was someone from Ukraine, a Russian and I think someone from Turkey rounds things out. The Frenchman is learning German so he can find a job here – he had an exchange with the teacher in French about it that I could follow. I don’t know about the others. There’s probably a spouse or two. My guess would be the Romanians want to learn for work – I know there are a lot of Romanian migrant workers in the agricultural sector here.
It’s tough to tell after just one lesson, but I think I might have the least German of any of us as the classes start. I’m not used to feeling this stupid, so it’s probably a good experience. Every time my mouth opens to try German it seems French comes out. That never happened when I was studying French all those decades ago.
The adventure is underway. If anything interesting happens in class, I’ll let you know.