Sprichts du Englisch?
Been having a bit of writers block, but I figured I could write about this topic. It seems like many people are starting to travel abroad to Europe (Americans I mean). Most start with London. I do not blame them. It is easy. The native Language is English, and London is overall a great place to visit. People seem to be intimidated by Germany. This I can understand. I really did not know what to expect while visiting. Most media about Germany is very negative in the states. While, the history about the place is very bad, I will say it is not a bad place to visit (the big cities of course). The other pressing issue with visiting is the language. Many people ask me about learning the language. Germany can be intimidating if you do not know the language, and I think that is what can keep people from traveling to the country. I live in Berlin, and I have to say it really has not been a problem. If you are just visiting, not knowing any German is fine for a city like Berlin. Neighborhoods like Kreuzberg would be perfect. So many Americans and native English people live there, and the bars and clubs know this, so many of them have great English skills.
Mitte is another great area for English speaking. It’s really a tourist area mostly, and lots of hipsters go there to drink. It is in what used to be East Berlin. I would recommend visiting that area while in Berlin, if you want to get around with no German.
Living in Germany I feel is a different story. After a while (for me that was almost immediately) the Germans want you to try to learn to speak German. The attitudes about learning are very sharp. People often assume that since my boyfriend is a native Berliner, that he would be teaching me German all the time. However, we speak English together. He does not really have the patience to teach me. We try from time to time, but overall, English will probably be what we speak together for quite a while. I understand this though, it is hard to explain the rules of English as well. I could never be a teacher. I have been here for 7 months now, and yes, one does have to pick up some German if you plan on trying to really live a life here.
In the meantime, for those who want to visit Germany, I think Berlin would be a great start. Knowing German isn’t required, but I would always recommend you pick up some before you go. I feel it is just common courtesy to try. Some words to start could be:
Sprichst du Englisch? (Do you speak English?)
Danke dir (thank you)
Bitte (you are welcome) *in most cases. Could also mean, what?
Wo ist (insert what you looking for) = Where is … ???
die Toillete (the toilet)
These are really basic sentences. Usually just use the first one to figure out if you can even carry on a conversation. Most younger Germans learn English in school, so most times things will be fine. Just take a chance and go.. Berlin really is an awesome place to visit.