To complete the B1 level (the halfway point in the language levels), we had a party with a veritable international food buffet from everyone’s contributions. While I’m happy to finally be wrapping up my intensive classes, and I’ve struggled with them from time to time, I felt a bit sad yesterday. We all had to say good-bye to each other, including to our instructor who has worked so hard for the duration of these classes. My routine is changing again. It seems strange to not be returning to class on Monday. And now the big question for me is…what next?
This morning I took the B1 Zertifikat Deutsch exam. I was really on the fence about this for all of October, not sure if I really wanted to do it, and I’m still not clear if it’s really needed, but in the end I decided to just do it. Our instructor did an excellent job to prepare us for the exam, and I consistently tested in at the B1 level, which boosted my confidence.
After taking the test, though, I’m not sure either way whether I passed or not. The reading comprehension portion, which is usually my strongest, was extremely difficult with a level of vocabulary that was way above anything we had learned in classes or even on our practice tests. I found that a bit unfair. Everyone that I talked to after the test was feeling really discouraged about it. For the speaking portion of the test, I was happy to have a really excellent speaking partner. We were already comfortable with each other from class, we understand each other well, and we speak at the same level.
With the test serving as excellent motivation this month, I worked very hard and pushed through on some important concepts. I believe I made some great strides this past month. I’m at the level where I can now watch KiKa’s Logo news show for middle-school-aged kids and clearly understand most of it. With regular adult TV, I can understand some things clearly, but mostly I can get the gist of what is being said, but not the details. I’m able to watch some German films and really understand most of it. A few weeks ago we were in a restaurant when I realized I could understand the background conversation between the owner and the wait staff without really having to think about it or concentrate on what they were saying.
Now I’m going to take a much-needed break from classes. I do of course want to keep studying and moving up, but for now I feel I need to just sit on what I have and let it digest. There are still several things I’m not really clear about. However, at this level, I believe I have most of the basic grammar concepts. Last year before I moved to Germany, I bought the Neue Horizonte college textbook/workbook, CDs, etc. I’ve used this book as a supplement to my regular course materials, but now I want to go through it more thoroughly as a review. It’s very helpful to have language concepts explained in English.
All in all, I’m glad I took the intensive courses to get to this point. I’m so looking forward to future classes that are much slower, however! Say, a few hours a week. The six months for these classes have gone so fast. I remember when I first started. Wow, I’ve come so very far.