Meet John, a Coffee Break French and German learner

Tell us who you are, where you live, your nationality and how long you’ve been learning a language with us. 

I’m John. I’m British and I live in Ashford in Kent, in easy reach of Channel crossings to France. I started on Coffee Break German some five years ago.

Which language or languages are you learning with Coffee Break? 

French and German

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages? 

I’m an avid history buff and also a motorcyclist. Combining both interests, I’ve undertaken solo tours of Germany and Austria, visiting museums, battlefields and castles. It was Coffee Break German that gave me the confidence to travel in the former East Germany, where I found few English-speakers in some of the out-of-the-way places I visited.

What are your favourite memories of learning a language? 

Being able to compliment a chef in a remote German hotel on his excellent mustard soup! Making small talk with an Austrian hotel owner and finding out a little about her home village. I recently embarked on Coffee Break French. This is particularly useful in my role as a battlefield tour guide. I’ve just returned home from a trip to France and Belgium guiding Australian school kids around sites of the First World War. One of our coach drivers had no English at all but I was able to successfully get the group from place to place using the French that I’ve learnt so far.

Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom? 

I would love to travel back in time to meet Napoleon Bonaparte in Paris to speak in French about his rise from obscurity.

What’s the best language-learning tip you have found works for you? 

Take the opportunity to watch and listen to foreign-language TV and radio broadcasts. When abroad, ‘tune in’ to the locals by listening (without obviously eavesdropping!) to conversations around you.

Quick Fire Round

  • Your favourite language: German
  • Your favourite word or phrase in the language: Das Reinheitsgebot
  •  Do you have a favourite film, TV show, book or singer in the language? Das Boot
  • Your favourite destination to practise your language: Berlin

Any final comments?

Thanks to the Coffee Break team for a really inventive and practical way of getting to grips with everyday language in realistic situations. It builds confidence which will soon be rewarded when you put your learning into practice.


1 thought on “Meet John, a Coffee Break French and German learner”

  1. I have just started watching the new series of Das Boot (John’s favourite German language film) on Sky Atlantic I’m pleased to find that I can understand quite a bit of the German – it’s in German with English subtitles.


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