Living overseas can be intimidating, but knowing basic words and phrases in your host nation’s language can help you feel more confident about exploring your new home. When we moved to Germany, I wasn’t sure where I could take German lessons, and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a home learning program. Now that we’ve been here for more than two years, I’ve learned that there are several ways you can learn German without breaking the bank.
In this post, you’ll learn about five free ways to learn German while stationed in Germany
ACS, or Army Community Service is a great resource for overseas families. They offer a wide range of resources, one of which is a free basic German language course. We’ve lived on two german duty stations, and ACS has offered a free German language class at both of them. These classes usually cover introductory German words and phrases, so they’re a great jumping-off point for newbies!
My Tip: If you want to take an ACS class, sign up immediately when you see that it’s being offered. They book up fast!
2) Your On-Post Library
When you get settled in your host nation, familiarize yourself with the language learning resources at your on-post library. No all USAEUR libraries have the same resources, but almost all of them will have at least a small section of books, CDs, and other language learning tools that you can check out. Some even have programs like Rosetta Stone that you can use — absolutley free.
3) The Army Digital Library’s Mango Languages Subscription
Mango Languages is an online language-learning resource that’s designed for libraries and schools to use to help their patrons and students learn 71 different languages. Families, businesses, and even home-schoolers can also sign up for Mango.
Mango’s motto is “Useful stuff. Zero fluff.” and it prides itself on rapidly building your language proficiency and cultural understanding using real-world communication skills that you’ll actually need. To purchase Mango will cost you $20/month, but with an Army Digital Library Europe account, you can use the program for free!
4) German Conversation Groups at Your Library
Your on-post library employs German nationals as well as American librarians, making them a perfect meetup spot for conversation German get-togethers. The frequency of these gatherings varies, but on many posts, the library hosts a weekly German conversation social hour.
5) DuoLingo App
Oh my gosh, I love DuoLingo. It’s a free app for your smart phone or tablet that teaches foreign languages, including German. It was Apple’s 2013 App of the Year, and I can understand why. Duolingo has gamified language learning. You earn “lingots” that help you unlock the next level of words and grammar, you can see your score in the game as you go, and the app reacts to you! If you struggle with a certain aspect of the language, it’ll keep quizzing you on that aspect until you improve.
One of my favorite things about Duolingo is that it’s a social app. You can connect with friends who are studying any language (not just German) on Duolingo. Once you’re connected, you can see how your studies compare to your friends’ studies. If you’re a competitive type, you’ll love this feature.
Have you studied German while living in Germany? How did you learn? Leave a comment on the blog!