How to learn German: My 11 secret fun ways

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German is not an easy language to learn. But learning German doesn’t have to be suffering. In fact, having fun while learning German is the best way to go. This article shows you how you can learn German while having fun at the same time.

Moving to Germany or new in Germany? Check out our Resources Page for all the help you need!

Do you really need to learn German?

If you live in Germany for the long term, learning German is a must. Even if you study in a university in Germany with a 100% English program, you will feel frustrated because you cannot figure out things alone and may not know what is going on all the time due to the language barrier. I wrote about this here: What is it like living in Germany without speaking German?

If you plan to find a job in Germany, then you will definitely need to learn German. I have tried countless methods to learn German after I moved to Germany. My post about 5 ways to learn a new language faster summarizes the five best ways which worked best for me in learning German. 

Read also: 

How to learn German as fast as possible?

If you need to learn German real quick, the best will be to join an intensive German class. I did most of my German classes in Volkshochschule (VHS). This is the most economic option. However, the quality of the classes depends greatly on the teachers. I have had very good and very bad teachers before.

An alternative would be joining the Lingoda German classes. You can take online classes with qualified native German teachers at any time from anywhere in the world. You can book classes 24/7. The only thing you need is your computer and a stable internet connection. I write about it here: Lingoda Review – My Honest German Learning Experience

You can try Lingoda out for free with a 7-day trial with no risks. Don’t forget to use my code “lifeingermany” to get a 30% off if you decide to join the classes!

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Remember, the German class only helps if you are disciplined and do all the homework! If you are just going to the class without doing anything afterward, it won’t help you much. Make sure you prepare before each class and study the learning material afterward.

Besides joining classes, I liked to practice with this grammar exercise book at home. This book contains both easy and difficult exercises. And it is suitable for A2 to B2 German level. I set a goal to complete 10 pages per day. I suggest that you set a goal for yourself too and stick with it. I can guarantee that you will see the result very fast if you are hardworking and persistent.

11 Fun ways to learn Germany

As mentioned before, learning German doesn’t have to be all about classes and exercises. Now, let’s talk about some fun ways to learn German.

(1) Learning German by watching fun videos

I always believe that it is better to find a fun way to learn German. For example, reading or watching something you enjoy. If you are only learning German by memorizing, you will be fed up with it very soon because you cannot enjoy the process.

Watch fun videos with Yabla

Yabla is a learning platform with more than 2500 videos and learning tools. For each video, you have the option to turn on both English and German subtitles. There is an online dictionary directly next to the playing video. If you see a German word in the subtitle that you do not understand, you can simply click on it. The video will be paused and you can see the full explanation in the online dictionary.

You can also slow down or repeat the video as you want. After you finish watching each video, you can even play games like dictation, vocabulary, comprehension, etc. I find the games really fun! There are not just multiple-choice kind of questions, but you actually need to write. You need to listen super carefully to what the people in the video are saying. Then, write down either the missing words or even the whole sentences. I think this is a great way to reinforce the learning after watching a video.

Besides, the videos are fun and entertaining, with a huge variety of content. You can see in each video the difficulty level so that you can choose those that are suitable for you. You can watch Yabla videos with your computer or mobile phone,  whenever and wherever you want.

I have now tried with quite some Yabla videos and can confirm that it is really fun to learn German with them. Hard to imagine how it works? The best is that you try it out yourself! There are some free sample videos that you can try. Or get 15 days free to access all kinds of videos to see if it is something for you.

yabla banner_fun way to learn German
 

Watch movies or shows on Amazon Prime

If your German level is sufficient, try watching movies and shows in German. I did this when I was at B2 German level and it helped to improve my German significantly. I love watching Amazon Prime Videos. It allows me to choose different language audio and subtitle. Even when I watch a Hollywood movie, I change the audio to German and put on German subtitles. You can find other good streaming platforms to use in Germany here.

I can highly recommend watching “How I met your mother” on Amazon. The series was originally in English. But I watched it in German with German subtitles. That was the first series I have ever watched in German. I was so surprised that I understood almost everything. I recommend this series because the topic is about daily life. So, it makes it very easy to understand, even for German beginners. Besides, it was funny as hell. I was learning German automatically while having fun watching and laughing. 

If you do not live in Germany, try to use a VPN to access German content. For more details, check this out: VPN in Germany – Comparison of the 5 best VPNs

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(2) Putting memo sticker on every object

I did this to learn German at the beginning when I came to Germany. I put vocabulary stickers on many different objects at home. For example, I put a sticker with the text “der Tisch” on my table. And I put another sticker “der Kühlschrank” on my fridge.

Since I saw these stickers every day, it really helped me to remember the German words. These words are useful as they described the objects I used in my daily life. After I learned the words, I removed the stickers and put some new stickers on other objects. This way I could keep learning new words at home.

You can use these vocabulary stickers. There are more than 100 most important German vocabulary stickers and you can simply apply them at home or in your office. Alternatively, normal Post-it notes also work if you like to write the vocabulary by yourself.

Simply label every item in your home. In German, every noun has an article that dictates gender. You should always learn a noun together with its article. So, make sure that you always put the article in front of a noun as well on your stickers.

vocabulary sticker amazon_learn german fun_German easy

(3) Read something interesting in German

An interesting paper book

Have you watched the movie “The Hunger Games”? I watched this in the cinema (in English) and liked it very much. A friend of mine was learning German. She lent me her paper book “The Hunger Games” in German (Die Tribute von Panem) and encouraged me to read it.

At that time, I thought there was no way I would understand the book. But I wanted to be polite. So, I tried to read it. It was really tough at the first 10 pages because I had to check my dictionary so often. I read extremely slowly at the beginning. But then, after the first 10 pages, I read faster and faster. I realized that I did not need to check every single word. I could still follow the story without knowing every word because I had already watched the movie.

I was so proud that I ended up finishing the whole book after some months. And I enjoyed the process, as it was an interesting story for me.

An E-book

Afterward, I bought a Kindleand started reading the second part of “The Hunger Games” there. The great thing about using a Kindle is that I could just tab on a word and see an English translation immediately. This saved me a lot of time and I didn’t need an additional dictionary.

Keep in mind that you need to achieve a certain level of German before you can start with this method. I think B1 to B2 will be a good starting point. And watching the movie beforehand will help a lot. 

A magazine

Besides books, reading magazines is also a fun way to learn German. I can highly recommend the magazine “Deutsch Perfekt“. This magazine is specifically designed for people who want to learn German. It is suitable for people who have a German level between A2 to C2. 

I have collected so many “Deutsch Perfekt” magazines at home. The magazine includes vocabulary lists and also grammatic explanations. The difficult vocabulary was explained in simple German.

The best part is that it includes many articles about the current issues in Germany, e.g. German news or popular topics in Germany. So, you don’t only learn the German language, but also learn what is happening in Germany. The German news is written in a simple way that you can understand. I had a lot of fun reading these magazines.

(4) Listening to German folk music (Volksmusik)

Have you been to Octoberfest? Every year during the September time frame, there will be folk festivals in many different cities in Bavaria. A big tent is set up. People drink a lot of beer and dance in the tent with folk music.

When I moved to Munich, I immediately fell in love with folk music. The songs are mostly slow, so I can hear each German word in the lyrics more clearly. I loved it so much that I let my computer play folk music at home all the time.

By the way, the young German people do not like to listen to folk music so much (unless they are drunk and in a tent). For them, this is very old-fashioned. Back then I lived in a shared flat with a German guy. He really didn’t like that I played folk music all the time. He told me that not even his parents would listen to this, maybe his grandparents would. So, you can imagine how old-fashioned these songs are. Nevertheless, I like them. And it is a fun way to learn German when listening to them.

Of course, you don’t have to listen to folk music. You can choose any music you want, as long as it is in German!

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(5) Playing the same German story again and again

Okay, this one is a little bit crazy. I read a kid storybook. (Still, it was not that easy for me at that time). And I had audio of it with around 10 chapters. So, every night, when I went to bed, I played the audio. Sometimes, I fell into sleep immediately without listening to anything from the audio. Sometimes, when I didn’t sleep immediately, I heard the story for the first few chapters until I fell into sleep.

I played the same audio again, and again every night to learn German. At some point in time, I could even memorize the whole story. (For sure I memorized the first chapter the best!) Since I read that book before, I knew already the background of the story. Even after many years now, I can still remember the tone of the people talking in the audio and what they have said…

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(6) Find a German partner

Some people said that dating a German person can help them to learn German, some said the opposite. I guess it depends a lot on the person you are dating and if they are supportive or not. A drawback would be that if you are dating someone, you need to spend time with them as well. That means you may not be able to put all your time and energy to study and learn German.

The best is to talk to your partner in German!

This is the very best way that I can recommend. This way you will be learning German ALL THE TIME, even though you are not really studying German. When I first met my husband, we talked only in English for the first few years. During those years, I tried many different methods to learn German. When I made up my mind to switch our talking language from English to German, it was very hard and strange at the beginning. I had to really insist on this. But the magical thing was that, since we talked in German, my German improved like crazy. That was better than any German classes that I had!

Besides speaking, try also to write with your partner in German when you text each other. This should not be limited to your romantic partner only, but any German friends you have. Grab your opportunity every time you can!

Surely you should not be just dating someone for the sake of learning German. However, if you do meet someone interesting, who happens to be a German, then try not to waste your chance to learn German!

Read also: 25 Best Dating Apps & Sites in Germany That Really Work – Free and Paid

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(7) Using a fun app to learn German

Using an app to learn German can be fun. There are apps that you can save your own vocabulary; use a vocabulary trainer; play a quiz game… I have tried a few and they are pretty cool. If you like using apps, here is a list of the best apps to learn German (free or paid).

Besides, I like dict.cc and the google translation app. I used them most of the time. They are basically my online dictionary. I like the google translation app because I can take a picture with it and translate the picture instantly. If I want to only look up a single word, I prefer to use dict.cc. I think the translation in dict.cc is better in the sense that it provides more different English meanings for each German word.

Another popular app is German Translator & Dictionary + by Vidalingua. I especially like its verb conjugator as it can show a verb in all major tenses clearly. You can also practice your German with vocabulary quizzes and flashcards if you like.

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(8) Making my own quiz cards

As I mentioned before, I am more of a person who learns with paper and pen. In the past, I made my own vocabulary quiz cards. I used some small paper cards. On the front side of the card, I wrote the German word. And at the back, I wrote the English translation. I did that with German sentences too.

I had a goal to make 10 cards per day. After some days, I already had quite many cards and I always carried them around with me. I read them when I was in the metro, or when I was waiting for someone.

Learning German with this method was fun. And I also learned during the process when I created my cards.

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(9) Changing your devices to the German version

When I first came to Germany, I used Google Chrome a lot to translate every website into English. After a while, when I had a bit more German knowledge, I didn’t use the translation function anymore. Instead, I changed many of my websites into the German version: Facebook, Gmail, Amazon…

It can be quite annoying at the beginning. But I got used to it pretty fast. And I learned much more vocabulary since I used these websites all the time. If you plan to have an office job in the future, this vocabulary will be very useful to you. For example, you will learn all the German vocabulary relating to sending emails if you change your Gmail to German.

Similarly, you can also change your phone language to German. I know that it is annoying. But imagine how much time you spend on your phone every day. It really helps you to get familiar with different German words.

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(10) Join German Facebook group

If you like to use Facebook, this one is for you. There are many Facebook groups specifically for people who want to learn German. Members in those groups sharing tips and German learning resources. You can also practice your German writing in these groups by posting in German.

Alternatively, you can also search and join any German Facebook groups of your interest. Let say you are interested in cooking. Search “Rezepte” and you will find plenty of German Facebook groups on this topic. When you join more groups, your Facebook feeds will be slowly occupied with German content that you are interested in. Try to read what other people posts in German and only use the translation function when you really need it.

(11) Join a sport class

Do you have a gym membership in Germany? It is common that you can join many different sport classes in a gym. I love going to these classes. Not only because I can do sport, but also that I can learn some German.

Usually, the instructors speak only in German in these classes. Don’t worry that you may not understand the instruction. In the beginning, I was also nervous to join these classes. I thought I couldn’t follow and I could not understand the instructions.

But let me tell you. If you miss an instruction, simply look around and do the same thing as the other people! I used to go to Yoga class 3 times a week and I learned a whole lot of German words relating to body parts and Yoga posts. The instructors used similar vocabulary every time. So, I picked up and understood pretty fast. That was how I learned German while having fun doing sport.

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This article includes some fun ways I have tried to learn German. It may not work for everyone. I just want to give you some suggestions. You should try different ways and find out what works best for you.

What fun methods have you tried to learn German? Is learning German difficult for you? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Moving to Germany or new in Germany? Check out our Resources Page for all the help you need!

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