No social life after 9 years in Germany

55 posts in this topic

You are correct. My German teacher would not speak English or anything else in the class. Language teachers are trained how to do that and have a lot of patience. (That is why Himself was unwilling to teach me.)

 

I'm not sure if every elementary school teacher has such training. 

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My social life in Germany started when my son joined the international school. Lots of open minded people without local attachments. Very easy to make friends, although many leave after 3-5 years...

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16 hours ago, St0rMl0rD said:


I'm into music, but the only Vereins around here are for brass orchestras and crap 

Start a Verein for what you’re into. Put a free ad on EBay Kleinanzeigen suggesting meet-ups with like minded people. 

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4 hours ago, scook17 said:

Quite sad, but entirely understandable if it's a case of dumping non native language speakers on teachers without any special support. If they spend most of the time teaching the language, the foreign kids are effectively holding back the native speakers. When there are a lot of such children, I can imagine a lot more time being spent on basic German which the other kids have already mastered.

 

I am surprised also they blamed the head mistress. It should not be up to the school how this is handled. Otherwise you end up with ghetto schools and schools for natives. That's doesn't lead to a good social outcome later on. Surely every school should have an allocation of children based on distance etc.

 

Does Germany not have an special program for foreign kids? A Ukrainian family I know, who were evacuated to a rural city in France, had special additional classes for learning French. With the huge influx of mothers and children recently, what happens when kids go to school? Surely there is a special program here to help them learn German? Even in the UK I remember we occasionally had families who moved and the kids were given extra English classes after school.

All teachers refused to support my daughter. There was another British student at the school and we arranged for her to help teach German. For the first 2 years, she was allowed to fetch my daughter out of any class for private tuition. As well as that tuition, we had a Nachhilfe private tutor. By around the 9th class, German tuition was no longer necessary. She managed a decent 2 in her German Abitur. 

 

I helped a Canadian family relocating to our area a few years ago with several relocation issues. They faced the same dilemma. As this was after 2015, they were led to believe that all/most schools have inclusion programs for non German speakers. On their behalf, I contacted local school authorities/Schulämter. The responses at that time were quite alarming. One particular advisor was very frank about the reality of such teaching programs. If a child has previously had a high level of education in their home country, they are unsuited for the  programs available here. She explained that each group of children come from many different countries with no common language. Many have never been educated in their home country. The chance of going onto higher education is very limited. 
 

As luck would have it, my daughter’s school accepted the Canadian student as her French was of a very high standard. My daughter then tutored her in German in the same manner as she was tutored by another student a few years earlier. 

The last Nachhilfe lady my daughter had for maths was at university studying to be a teacher. In 2020, her teacher training experiences at a local Realschule were quite shocking. The German tuition for foreign children was just as awful, if not worse, than that that was described to me a few years earlier by the Schulamt advisor. I can only hope that things have improved greatly. 

 

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My wife is a new teacher and has her own year 5 class. She has a Ukranian girl and 2 Arabic boys who barely speak German. Also a Bulgarian boy who speaks absolutely zero German. We had a Bulgarian friend create some DE-BG cards for him and my wife so they could at least communicate some basic phrases. There is a language teacher in the school who speaks Arabic, French, Russian etc. She brought the Bulgarian boy back to my wife after 30 minutes and said she has no way to communicate with him. If I remember correctly, the children receive 12 hours of German lessons per week. Ideally they should be learning German full time. But apparently there is a lack of teachers (despite teachers getting paid too much. How odd).

 

Regarding joining a Verein, the existing members already have friends and families. They probably don't have time to be your friend. You'll get a few acquaintances at best. However this isn't necessarily bad. The latest episode of Hidden Brain features a psychologist who studies the benefits of minimal social interactions with weak ties (people you see and interact with on a surface level regularly) and strangers, and the barriers that prevent people from connecting. Despite being an introvert, she forces herself to attempt connections with strangers e.g. chatting with someone on the bus/underground (a grave sin in England).

https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/relationships-2-0-the-power-of-tiny-interactions/

 

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1 hour ago, jamiegw said:

My wife is a new teacher and has her own year 5 class. She has a Ukranian girl and 2 Arabic boys who barely speak German. Also a Bulgarian boy who speaks absolutely zero German. We had a Bulgarian friend create some DE-BG cards for him and my wife so they could at least communicate some basic phrases. There is a language teacher in the school who speaks Arabic, French, Russian etc. She brought the Bulgarian boy back to my wife after 30 minutes and said she has no way to communicate with him. If I remember correctly, the children receive 12 hours of German lessons per week. Ideally they should be learning German full time. But apparently there is a lack of teachers (despite teachers getting paid too much. How odd).

 

That’s really sad, especially when already in the 5th class. These children may be very intelligent though the language barrier prevents their educational progress. 
 

From 2011, we were advised that the only way a child could learn German was with assistance from someone familiar with their native language. It doesn’t sound like this is practical these days. Kids learn so much German through social activities. The trainee teacher we know said that lessons didn’t help much though play activities did. The native German kids in her class were partnered with non German speakers….no other language allowed during group play. 

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On 13/11/2022, 1:27:28, St0rMl0rD said:

Hi everyone,

 

I'm just wondering how common it is for expats in Germany to have no social circle / life even after almost a decade of living here. First of all, I am an introvert so I spend most of the time by myself (outside of work hours), but would still like to have some genuine social circle around me.
...
How is everyone else that might have the same issue dealing with this?

 

The subject has been done to death (try the search function), so I don't have really anything new to add that might be helpful, other than to say...

 

...that I've found it very difficult too. I've kind of just gotten used to it and accepted that this is just the way it is, here, for me.

 

I travel and go on holiday as much as I can to escape.

I have the occasional rewarding interaction at work. You?

I do belong to a Verein! I play tennis there but to my own disappointment haven't made what I would call friends there. Naturally, a lot depends on one's expectations. Simply playing tennis with others might be enough for some people. (You might just have to bite the bullet and join any old club!)

 

I know only one or two people here who show any interest in me. The majority are happy to talk about themselves - I'm a good listener - but often fail to ask me how I'm going. Perhaps this is the same the world over, perhaps not.

 

And there is no solution to the problem of not being able to be with people who you grew up with or have known for many, many years, that's simply the sad, difficult truth. 

 

Good luck anyhows.

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58 minutes ago, Aussiedog said:

I know only one or two people here who show any interest in me. The majority are happy to talk about themselves - I'm a good listener - but often fail to ask me how I'm going. Perhaps this is the same the world over, perhaps not.

I’m always baffled when my in-laws phons us. They are literally silent until I ask how they are. They never ask how I am…only how their son is! Then all about them. My tolerance for such rudeness is running out.

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I put it down to social incompetence. Conversation is an art. Silence looms large in Germanic circles, I find. No one readily tells you their opinions, I think for fear of repercussion. They don t pass on other s news because this could be construed as talking behind their backs. Again, the fear is lurking. They don t tell you anything about themselves either unless it is a sanitised version of what they want to portray. Getting a handle on them or having a meaningful conversation is hard work and frankly I gave up. There are exceptions, but it s a question of luck as to whether you come across them.

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Well, I've had the same experience from visiting American/English colleagues of my OH. I have fed and watered them. Never a question about me, always fulltime employed, my interests, opinions. I hate it when Germans are compared to these so socially aware international paragons. 

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I am a member of three Vereine/Societies. 80€ a year, a good investment.

 

Someone said that German people were not so keen on joining after their experiences in ww2 and the DDR, could that be true too?

 

Instead of cycling clubs, running clubs etc there are big sports clubs with dozens of sections for different sports.

..

The freiwillige Feuerwehr is a phenomenon, but I would not join that, being on call (24/7?) and risking your life. I prefer to pay tax for employed firepersons.

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I believe social isolation in Scandanavia is generally worse, as they have a reputation for not being particularly out-going towards outsiders. Hamburgers also have a reputation for being 'distanziert' , but they seem to apply that to everyone, Germans included. It certainly seems to be different in other parts of Germany, Koln and the Rheinland being the obvious examples. No doubt Carnaval is pretty good for stimulating social interaction. 

 

Its generally harder for people who are not in a relationship. I think you have to work out where people in your situation generally go.  In larger towns and cities, that probably means Vereine, but a good tip is to learn to dance properly. Tanzschule are good places to learn new people and once you've become competent, new opportunities open up. Most Germans above a certain age seem to have a basic competence in partner dancing, (as opposed to general freestyle) that you don't find in countries like the UK  

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1 hour ago, alexunterwegs said:

...but a good tip is to learn to dance properly.

 

I managed to avoid that.  My wife & I even managed to avoid that at our wedding!

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Having previously been an aeromodeller whilst in the UK (radio-controlled models which I built & flew myself) I was introduced to the sport of gliding here by a German colleague.

The then club treasurer suggested "why not join for the Sommerlehrgang" which I did - & went solo (despite my German then being very limited).

That was 40+ years ago.

 

Members of gliding clubs are in general a pretty friendly bunch (there are exceptions) and its a rule to use "Du" within the entire German organisation.

If one joins in (not just sitting on the sidelines) then friendships open up.  If you turn up on another airfield you are "in".

 

I'm involved in my own club - chiefly with PR & the aquisition of new members.

For my pains I'm also involved as a "sports official" (the sort one likes to blame for failure of others) in that my ability

of being a native English speaker was found to be useful at the international level - hence I'm the deputy delegate

for the German Aero club to the IGC (International Gliding Commision) and get to attend the annual Plenary meetings

where one has made further friends from various countries.

 

A few days ago I received a request to speak at the Trainertagung in Bischofsgrün (Bayern) in January - will have to do that online.

 

I could go on but the sound of my own trumpet is getting too loud.

The result is that my wife complains that I spend more time in front  of the PC than I used to do whilst employed.

 

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You might just try being a friendly repeated customer at a coffee shop, bar or restaurant, etc.  After a while, the people there might get to recognize and know you.  Start slow and then gradually make your way towards "Did you have a nice weekend?" or "Can you recommend a good __________?"  Simple, short conversations.  You may find that if you have enough of these in your daily life, a close confidant is not needed or necessary.

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At school we learned about Siezen and Duzen. Might have been different back then, 1970s😉

 

How long does it take until you use Du? Apparently the older or more senior/powerful person should offer the Du.

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52 minutes ago, Fietsrad said:

At school we learned about Siezen and Duzen. Might have been different back then, 1970s😉

 

How long does it take until you use Du? Apparently the older or more senior/powerful person should offer the Du.

I arrived to work at a factory in Bonn at the age of 18 and had studied A Level German at school in England. I wanted to speak German- speak it! In those days ( final year at school 1970 ) , you did written translation stuff at school and grammar but no chatting! Yeah, and Goethe in the old Gothic script and Heinrich Boell - bla bla.

So at the reception or whatever, a young woman - maybe my age or roundabouts - addressed me as Herr Gunn and used the Siezen.

52 years later and I still remember being surprised!

 

And this morning? Team video meeting with a 55-ish German insurance consultant with whom I have a Du and first name relationship and his assistant who is taking over his job. She is about 28. We switched on the meeting: " Moin, Daniel."

" Moin, John."

And the young assistant: " Hallo. John. Ich bin die Laura."

 

And immediately the Du.

A generational change?

 

Or, methinks , Daniel had " schooled " her- " John is easy-going, uncomplicated in that way, English-speaker."

I tend to think that is likely the truth!

 

PS: Daniel told me the story ( which I remember ) of Helmut Kohl, not renowned for his English skills, addressing somebody in English: " you can say you to me."😂

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16 minutes ago, john g. said:

I arrived to work at a factory in Bonn at the age of 18 and had studied A Level German at school in England. I wanted to speak German- speak it! In those days ( final year at school 1970 ) , you did written translation stuff at school and grammar but no chatting! Yeah, and Goethe in the old Gothic script and Heinrich Boell - bla bla.

So at the reception or whatever, a young woman - maybe my age or roundabouts - addressed me as Herr Gunn and used the Siezen.

52 years later and I still remember being surprised!

I learned O Level German in England and later followed evening classes. Whilst that taught all the basic grammar and vocabulary, I found listening to Wolfgang Petry songs brought it along in leaps and bounds. I had a girl friend who was able to translate such phrases as "vermerzen" (von den Herzen), "ist mir scheissegal"  "hast mir die Liebe versaut", "beschissen war der Nacht"   and alot of stuff that you'd more likely learn in a Kneipe or on the street than in a class.  Yep, I have a lot to thank Wolfgang Petry for. 

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6 minutes ago, alexunterwegs said:

I learned O Level German in England and later followed evening classes. Whilst that taught all the basic grammar and vocabulary, I found listening to Wolfgang Petry songs brought it along in leaps and bounds. I had a girl friend who was able to translate such phrases as "vermerzen" (von den Herzen), "ist mir scheissegal"  "hast mir die Liebe versaut", "beschissen war der Nacht"   and alot of stuff that you'd more likely learn in a Kneipe or on the street than in a class.  Yep, I have a lot to thank Wolfgang Petry for. 

👍

I remember the BBC had a Sunday morning German class back in the 60s. A gorgeous girl presented it. I was about 15 or 16 and.. puberty stuff. I think I fell in love with her😂❤️.

I think I watched the programme also for THAT reason!😂

I think her name was Heidi.

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22 hours ago, Fietsrad said:

Apparently the older or more senior/powerful person should offer the Du.

Correct. And the junior persons should walk on the right-hand side of the more senior one.

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