Summer courses. Everybody seems do be doing at least one nowadays. Well, guess what! I hopped on the bandwagon too: I went to Frankfurt for two weeks to refresh my German and now have a couple of hints, tips and stories to share with you: Feel free to comment, laugh, facepalm… or do just about anything else.
1. Intensive courses are not worth the extra money. If a “standard” language course means 20h/week and the “super-intensive” 28h/week, the difference is negligible. (If it is a good course, you will work your a.. off anyway; if it is bad, those extra lessons won´t save it. Besides, nothing beats real-life conversations with native speakers who are – hopefully – around.)
2. DO experiment. Both with the language and the food. While I do agree that exotic food might not always count as “fun” (think of the next morning´s consequences), language concoctions mostly do. Anyway, I can heartily recommend coconut soup (!) and black bubble tea with milk.
3. Make new friends. Sure, you might never see each other again, but that´s no reason to stay at the hotel all the time! As Penny from The Big Bang Theory might put it: “Go out and talk to people!”
4. Go wild. At least for once. Do something other would never expect from you: Go whiskey tasting, join the belly dancing club, sign up for scuba diving lesson. But hey, be safe. (For those of you who ever come to Frankfurt – go and check out where apple wine is made – amazing experience!)
5. Take pictures. Go on excursions, do all that crazy stuff you have always dreamt of doing – and capture those moments! And no, not having a fancy camera is not an excuse (because you probably have a smartphone anyway). Then again, think carefully about the appropriate time of taking pictures – security check at the airport is not the best place (true story).
But most importantly – enjoy the time! Remember that learning a language is not an isolated action consisting of doing your homework and reading the textbook: Rather, it is real-life practice that makes perfect.