Guten Tag! My name is Julia and I’m part of the Coffee Break German team where I work as the Cultural Correspondent. While spending a year abroad in Scotland and working as a Foreign Language assistant I met Mark in 2005 and started working with Radio Lingua in 2006 when I recorded material for One Minute German as well as A Flavour of German. I graduated from Leipzig University (Germany) in 2010 where I had studied English, Art and Educational studies. Since 2010 I have been working as a teacher in a Berlin High School.
What is your role in Coffee Break?
As the Cultural Correspondent on Coffee Break German I try provide interesting and funny facts about the German-speaking world. I really love researching all the information and often find surprising things that were even new to me! I feel like it helps me getting to know my own country, and the neighbouring ones, so much better and I’m happy to share my findings with the Coffee Break German community.
What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?
Although I started learning English formally at the age of 11, my first contact with a foreign language came much earlier when I was lucky enough to meet a Scottish girl on holiday when I was only 8! She soon became my penpal and we stayed in touch for more than 13 years. Writing to her and visiting Scotland helped shape my English and always motivated me to improve my skills even more. Later I studied English at university, lived and worked in Scotland for a year as well as many summers and joined an English-spreaking drama group in Leipzig for more than 6 years. Even though my year abroad was a long time ago, I still have so many friends in the United Kingdom that I regularly visit. In addition to English I can also speak French and have spent several holidays in France. Recently I have started to learn Spanish, and I’m glad to have been able to use Coffee Break Spanish to help me!
What are your favourite memories of working with Coffee Break?
I’m looking back on many great memories with Mark, recording and filming in Berlin! The funniest must have been the time we interviewed several people in the streets for our forthcoming series Coffee Break German To Go. In the beginning I was quite nervous speaking to all those strangers but the reactions were great and we had a lot of fun together. Most of all I cherish the many times on Berlin’s Christmas markets as the Advent and Christmas period is one of my favourite times of year in the city and I absolutely loved showing Mark around and trying the different German Christmas food. You can enjoy our episode of Coffee Break Conversations from the Berlin Christmas Market below.
Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom?
My favorite coffee break would be in one of Berlin’s many parks on a warm summer day lying on the grass and enjoying the music of one of the many great street musicians together with my friends.
What’s your best language-learning tip?
Even though I’m a language teacher at school myself I never really learned languages by just studying grammar books at school. Instead I’ve always tried to get in contact with native speakers and travelled to other countries as much as I could. I think that language learning has to be fun which is why I always tell my students to start watching films or reading books in foreign languages. Also, learners shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes! I’ve always found that foreigners are very happy and thankful when I try speaking their language, even though the sentences may not be perfect. So don’t be shy and get talking ☺
- Favourite language: English
- Favourite word/phrase in that language: I love the words sweet tooth and no-brainer as there is no exact translation for these in German.
- Favourite film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Favourite TV show: Black Mirror
- Favourite band: Belle and Sebastian
- Favourite destination: Scottish Highlands / New York / Rügen (Germany’s biggest island in the Baltic Sea)
Any further thoughts
I’m glad to be part of such a modern and fun way of language learning and I hope that you – our and listeners and readers – enjoy improving your language skills and getting to know different aspects of culture so that you feel motivated to travel and try out everything you’ve learned “on site“.