How I Keep My German Sharp

I took German in highschool, and I instantly fell in love with it. The idea of communicating with people using a different language than my own was intriguing to me. I was one of the only students in my class to actually take it seriously.


I first started learning it in school 4 years ago, but I took my learning outside the classroom. Last year I finally completed Duolingo’s German course. I’ve watched German films and TV shows, listened to German rap, watched German Youtubers, and became close friends with a German exchange student at my school.

The foreign exchange student told me one of her best tips for learning English, switching her phone language to English. She convinced me to change my phone into German 2 years ago and I haven’t changed it since. I read German every single day because of it. And the best part is that anyone who picks up my phone can’t understand the notifications. In some ways, it’s good for security and privacy.

But there’s no doubt that it’s challenging. At first I felt very out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it’s pretty difficult to read instructions and some of the technical terms because German words are very long and complicated. But my grammar, vocabulary, and overall fluency has improved. It’s always fresh in my mind.

The key to learning a language is consistent practice. I always hear people say “I used to speak Spanish but I’ve lost it over the years.” or something similar. I hope that at least keeping my phone, the object I look at the most, in German will keep it fresh in my mind for the rest of my life.