By traveling - 09/07/2013 11:18

Today, I arrived in Germany for a summer-long stay. The family I'm supposed to stay with had said they spoke fluent English. They don't. I don't speak German. It's going to be a quiet two months. FML
I agree, your life sucks 47 973
You deserved it 6 412

Same thing different taste

Top comments

Well at least you should be pretty good at German by the end if your stay. You always learn faster when you're forced to!

CammyGal 26

Why would you choose to go to Germany if you didn't know the language? You couldn't have expected the family to do everything for you. If you were forced to go, you still should have known beforehand and made an effort to learn.


Well at least you should be pretty good at German by the end if your stay. You always learn faster when you're forced to!

I'm going to Germany this summer as a foreign exchange student too, except ill be staying there for a full year! Honestly, my sister did the same thing but in Norway and they didn't speak English either. But she gave a HUGE effort learning and was fluent within 1.5 months. That method is called immersion.!

i think he would be better in german if he stayed nein months there. :p

Being forced to learn a language really does help out a lot. Speaking it yourself is going to be very hard but German isn't too hard to interpret what they are saying. Don't sweat it, they will understand and just try your best. It's ok if you screw up

1PersonIsMyWorld 22

Why would the family say they spoke English fluently if they didn't?

kristabelli 19

#60 - Because they wanted an exchange student!

Because the application was in English ;)

ha ha ha ha (schadenfreude). Lesson number one.

Been there. Miming usually is the most efficient and most hilarious way of communication. Try to learn from them while you're there. :)

ShinedownLuv 14

Google translate to the rescue!

But he won't know how to spell what they say :O Although, German isn't too hard to sound out.

avapaige1234 19

I've had some embarrassing experiences with people who spoke foreign languages because of Google Translate, but then it can still be useful for word per word translation.

juturnaamo 29

The inaccuracies are frequently because of differences in grammar rules, and for the most part, German grammar is the same as English. The main issue with it is the same as the problem with the books and beginner's German classes, that is, you'll speak to everyone as if you work for them. I have a hard time picking up someone when I've been calling him Sir all night.

CallMeWindSock 24

101, as a fluent speaker of both English and German, I can tell you that the grammar isn't very similar at all.

Google translate isn't that great for full on translations but more just specific words. If you try to talk to people using that you'll refer to everyone as formal/plural "you". I'm learning German right now and learned over 200 words in 5 days. The app is called duolingo and it's free but you can also register online. It's really helped me a lot. I don't look at the words/sentences and think "oh 'auf wiedersehen' translates to 'until we see eachother again/good bye'", I just automatically understand it. Kind of like we all know gracias means thanks in Spanish, but with this program you'll understand sentences as well. OP I strongly suggest duolingo! :)

@109 I completely agree with you! Although I'm not fluent in in speaking and writing German, I'm good at listening and reading it haha. The grammar is so...frustrating! Definitely does not seem like its similar to English (my opinion, ofc).

CammyGal 26

Why would you choose to go to Germany if you didn't know the language? You couldn't have expected the family to do everything for you. If you were forced to go, you still should have known beforehand and made an effort to learn.

I agree. I'm not saying you need to know the language fluently, but take a few prep classes.

I totally agree, #6. Why is it that, as Americans, we expect everyone to cater to us? OP should've made the effort to at least learn a few basic phrases. The family probably speaks English quite well, being as it is taught in school, they just won't speak it to OP because he/she hasn't put forth the effort to use their language. Just saying.

You would be surprised how many people go places and do not know the language at all. I work in retail and I don't know how many times I try helping foreigners but they don't speak English at all. It's frustrating because they buy for other people and I have no idea what they want.

It's actually not mandatory to take English though it is offered. It wasn't offered many years back either many of my family and my father's friend (older generation) don't speak or know English. They very well may not know any. Op I suggest an English to Genan dictionary, might help a bit.

Anyone what to bet these are the same people who say we should learn other languages for those who are moving to the U.S.

monnanon 13

i have never had a problem with foriegners not knowing my language at my place of work and i do my best to learn the essentials for thr countries i travel to. English speaking countries are the worst when it comes to learning foreign languages. it makes me cringe when i see so many fellow brits using the "if i speak louder and slower you'll understand me" approach when abroad.

#11, I feel the same way! I just got back from a trip to Italy and France and felt really bad when I had to speak English because I feel like we Americans set up a double standard where we expect those visiting America to know English but don't always make an effort to learn the language of a country that we visit

TheDrifter 23

Canadians have their own version if that. Western Canadians will travel to Paris and speak broken French for two weeks, but we'll pretend we don't understand a word of Quebecois when we get home.

Octwo 16

Funny that people try to imply Americans are the sole perpetrators of this. Do you know how many Mexicans come to the California without learning English? While we may be the worst offender, stop pretending that we are the only offender.

Even when I go on cruises and am in port for less then a day I try to learn a little about the culture I'm visiting and a few phrases if they speak a different language. It has been helpful and made the visits that much more enjoyable.

The québécois don't seem to understand french either. I can boat down to SPM which is France and I am understood. No dice in Quebec Thou.

Thank you, #28. I've been to Germany twice. I've never taken German, but I made an attempt to speak German whenever I could. You'd be surprised how much more receptive people are when you at least make the effort to meet them halfway. For the rest of you, I'm not saying we Americans are the only perpetrators, but we definitely have the perception that English should be spoken world-wide.

Immersion is the best way to learn another language. Good luck!

All you need to know is "NEIN NEIN NEIN"

And, more importantly, that it really means "Yes"

No. It's the number 9. (obviously no sarcasm.)

10- I find "Willst mit meine gurke spielen?" a good one to know... It's a friendly greeting, I only use that with the ladies though ;)

HungerGames95 13

47, isn't that "want to play with my pickle?"

Cucumber. But the Germans only like cooked cucumbers, so you better be careful!

So did they tell you they were fluent english speakers in german or english ?

Weird. I don't suppose you can complain to someone about their "false advertising". Try and have fun anyways. Do you have a smart phone because there are some great translating apps out there.