“I don’t speak German! Can I study at MUL?”

As many other international students, I arrived in Austria without knowing how to speak German and I didn't know if I could adapt and do daily activities like going to the market, restaurants or even making friends. Do you speak German?


The German language can be considered by many to be one of the most difficult languages to speak, of course this can change from the point of view of your native language, so don't worry if like me, you also have been beating your brain out to learn it.

The opportunity to come to Austria for an exchange program came just a few months before the start of classes at Montanunivesität, so this time was not enough for me to become an active speaker in the German language and I’ve got here knowing only two words: “Hallo” (Hello) and “Tschüss” (Bye). Sad but true!

Despite my program (International Study Program in Petroleum Engineering), like approximately 10 other programs being taught in English, I thought that my “Abschied” would happen faster than I was imagining because I would not be able to adapt to daily life like going to the market, going to restaurants, solving paperwork or even making friends.

The truth is I was making a mountain out of a molehill and yes, it is possible live and communicate speaking only English, especially if you will stay for a short time. Montanuniversität receives more than 651 international students from more than 160 different universities, so they are competent to receive non-German speaking students and make them feel welcomed. For example, institutional emails are in German and English, and most employees and students are fluent in English too.

However, the further you get from the university, you can see that people understand less English so German becomes necessary. In the beginning it may be that you buy a wrong groceries or the waiter brings you something completely different from what you thought you had ordered (LOL). Don't worry, the university also offers German language courses for foreign students at Zentrum Sprachen Bildung Kultur (ZSBK) from basic to advanced, as well as French, Spanish, Russian courses and also courses to improve your English and soft skills.

So that is what I’ve been doing. Since my first semester I’ve been taking German classes and it has helped me a lot in life outside the university and I realize more and more that speaking the language of the country you live in goes far beyond being able to communicate in day-by-day, it helps you to understand and respect that place's culture.

Start with baby steps, make friends who have German as their native language, don't be ashamed of making mistakes, go places and listen to people talk, make an effort to read books and news in German and gradually you will be able to reach your goal.

Anyways, learn your first German saying: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen (:

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