German Orientation Course: the good, the bad & the ugly


Due to the fact that the sign up at the other government-approved school I went to for the integration course was full, and the waiting period was 4 months, I opted to go to the Volkshochschule or VHS, which had (astonishingly) spots available. While it was sad that no one was eager to go to the course, a happier truth was that because of this lack of interest, I can go for it. So go for it I did.

The Good

One of the things I liked at the VHS I went to was that it was well-equipped and well-maintained. The walls were still white and if I imagine it enough, I think I can still discern the faint smell of fresh paint. Even their equipment was new and they had a video room.

The other awesome thing was that the teacher assigned to our class was very, very nice and she really wanted everyone to pass the “Leben in Deutschland” test, that was to take place at the end of the course. She even treated us to coffee on the first day. Isn’t that amazing?

Speaking of treats, my other classmate also gave the whole class chocolate bars on the same day. My smile got wider after that, haha. There were supposed to be 15 or so people in my class, but only a handful of us went. Out of that small number, 80% were refugees, and all of them have been together since Day 1 of their Integration Course, so I felt very left out sometimes. What cheered me up was that there was another woman in the class. I usually sat next to her, and she was really sweet. It was the ninth month of her pregnancy though, and she was going to give birth really soon.

Aside from these, I have also learned a lot about the rights and responsibilites people have here in Germany. It was very eye-opening and informative, right from the country’s history up to its political and social system.

The Bad

While the classes went well, it was a bit disorganized. There was no concrete plan on what was going to be taught every day, and although we were supposed to visit the historical sites that we were going to learn about, the outing didn’t fall through, and I was disappointed by that. During the first week, because understandably, we only had the video room for that week, we watched videos on Youtube, which I can frankly just search for myself.

We also went through this book called, 60 Stunden Deutschland, which is cool, but we didn’t have enough time to actually finish the book which cost each of us €10. We were also only given the copies to the 300 questions on the 3rd week, and by that time it was pretty much too late to get any studying in.

Lastly, of the 5 or 6 people who ‘regularly’ attended the class, I was the only who did not speak Arabic, and after the other lady stopped going because she gave birth, I was the only female, and I didn’t feel very much ‘integrated’ after that.

The Ugly

During class one time, we were going through the book or the questions again, when suddenly, one of my classmates told the teacher, somewhat aggressively, that the class was really boring and that the teacher should teach better. They engaged in a shouting match and it was really awful. I didn’t know what to say or do because I was so shocked, even though these have occurred during the integration course too. I felt sorry for our teacher because she has repeatedly explained everything, and I believe, is always only thinking of what’s best for us.

And… the Better

The good news is, they eventually sorted it out before we left class that day. My classmate said he acually appreciates everything that the teacher has done, especially in preparing them for the DTZ B1 exam, and they came to an agreement of sorts, and there was peace again.

About a week later, the exam took place, and I was really glad to see the woman again. She had just given birth less than a week ago, and she was back on her feet and ready to take the exam. I really admired her for that.

Our teacher helped with supervising the exam, and she checked the papers of those who submitted them once they were finished. But I had to submit mine to the other examiner, soΒ  :|. Before we left, our teacher offered us some sweets, and that was absolutely precious. All in all, i’m glad I went to the course, and am proud to report a 100% attendance. Woohoo!

So that was how my orientation course went, andΒ  I am still waiting for the results. Did you do an orientation course? If yes, let me know how it went. Was it all smooth sailiing or was it like a gripping thriller like mine? πŸ˜€ Stay warm, everyone!Β  πŸ™‚


8 thoughts on “German Orientation Course: the good, the bad & the ugly

  1. Zyriacus

    Having had a look at the questions in this test I think even many Germans would miserably fail to answer all questions correctly. So chapeau to all those who made it.


  2. SpringToMyMind

    Very interesting, I heard about integration courses, but I thought they were meant for refugees only. Did you take it voluntarily?
    I took few standard courses between B2-C1 at the VHS, and I have to say it always depends on your luck how well the course goes.. They don’t have such a perfect reputation as Goethe-Institut.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theberlinbook Post author

      The integration course was madatory for me.. I’m glad I took it though. πŸ™‚ Yeah, the VHS I went to was good. Glad you still got a spot for the B2-C1! There’s a long waiting list for all courses now. Thank you for dropping by! πŸ™‚



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