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Meet Freya, Coffee Break German learner

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

My name is Freya, I am British and I live in the East of England. I have been learning with Coffee Break for two months.

Which language or languages are you learning with Coffee Break?

German

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

My earliest memory of having an interest in languages was my first day of Year 6 (eleven years old), being handed my timetable with ‘French’ scheduled on it. I was ridiculously excited, and genuinely puzzled as to why my peers weren’t sharing my enthusiasm. As a child, I used to go on holiday to France with my parents and they would always encourage me to say ‘bonjour’ and ‘merci’ to the locals. I used to love it when they responded to me in French, because it felt like a secret code. I continued to study French throughout my school years, albeit still not really being able to speak it. This changed when I enrolled myself in a language school in Montpellier for three months. I lived with a host family (who I ADORED), sat the DELF B2 (and passed!), and finally learnt how to communicate freely in French. Since then, I have kept the French up, spending a year working at a science research facility in France, watching the news every day in French, and discovering new French music to sing to in the car. Learning French opened my eyes to an international community of people I can relate to, and inspired me to learn more languages. This is one of the reasons I am now learning German.

What are your favourite memories of learning a language?

My best friend is German – we were thrown together as flatmates when we were working in France. In March 2019, I finally went to visit her and her family in Cologne, Germany. My friend has the most amazing English, and I never needed to speak to her in German, but I really wanted to impress her in Germany with a bit of dabbling in her mother tongue. I was lucky enough to discover Coffee Break German, and I started from the beginning as I pottered about in the lab at work. Over two months, I made my way through series one and half of series two, by which point it was time for my trip. I ordered things correctly in German (using the accusative!), I went to see a German play at the theatre in Düsseldorf (I understood one of the jokes – a win!), and I attended family dinners conducted entirely in German. I relied a lot on my friend, constantly asking her ’wie sagt man… auf Deutsch?’, but I also tried to get my point across by myself. The best part was having her family compliment me on my German, and being welcomed into a different culture.

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

I’m obsessed with the French band ‘L.E.J’ to the point where I almost cried seeing them live. I’d love to have coffee with this group on a Spring afternoon in Paris, probably somewhere outdoors with a view of the Arc de Triomphe.

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

Mix up your routine, and practise little and often. There are so many (free!) resources online, and variety keeps it interesting! Watch TV in your target language, listen to the radio, talk out loud to yourself in the car, find some new tunes, and find people to study with. Even if they’re not studying a language, having a productive environment will motivate you. Basically, make it fun.

Quick Fire Round

• Your favourite language: French
Your favourite word or phrase in the language: Insupportable (it’s so satisfying to say)
• Do you have a favourite film, TV show, book or singer in the language? L.E.J (short for Lucie, Élisa, Juliette) is my favourite French band. I saw them in Lille last year, and listen to them constantly!
• Your favourite destination to practise your language: My old hometown of Grenoble, in the lab with my French colleagues

Please finish off with a message to your fellow members of the Coffee Break community and the Coffee Break Team.

Coffee Break is a precious gem of a language resource. It succeeds at being enjoyable to listen to, thorough, and rewarding. It’s also incredibly moreish and I can listen and relisten to episodes without getting fed up. To the Coffee Break Team, I’d love to thank you for your efforts and time, and to the Coffee Break Community, I’d like to personally recommend CB German!

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