I am now (finally!) in C1. Yes, the Deutsch C1 Niveau.
At first it really was a struggle, sometimes it still feels like it is, but eventually you reach that “C-level”, and it feels awesome. Sure, sometimes you still think about the mistakes you make when you’re speaking or writing, but you can surely understand German now. Well, most of it, anyway.
Compared to the earlier levels, where the focus is on grammar, C1 is more about reenforcing what you’ve learned in B1 and B2, so it kinda feels like you’re just reviewing all that you’ve picked up, only this time, the vocabulary is more difficult and the texts tend to lean toward the scientific.
In my C1 class, most of the students have been in Germany for more than a year. Some of them have, in fact, lived here for five or six years, so I felt like the baby there, even though I’ve already been here for a year. Some of the other friends I got to make did just arrive in Germany, but they’ve learned the language when they were younger, or they’ve already even finished B2 before they arrived.
Still, what I find astounding, is the diversity of people in my class. While most of us are students planning to go to university to continue our studies, some of them have fascinating backgrounds. For example, one of them previously worked for Google, but now owns his own restaurant. Another was an entrepreneur who sold his company and is now retired at 45. Two of them are doctors from different countries and want to work here in Germany.The rest are sculptors, software engineers, designers and nurses. Isn’t that amazing?
That’s what I find so cool here in Berlin. People of all colors, shapes and sizes come here, do their own thing, and it’s okay. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter what you work as or what you look like, as long as you’re helping the society, integrating into it, and not hurting anybody, you’re welcome. Just the other day, I was passing by a Sri Lankan restaurant when I noticed that on the following block was a Sudanese restaurant. Along the same street, were Japanese restaurants, German bakeries and a pizza place. As I glanced at all the brightly-colored signs and hanging decorations while trudging through the muddy snow on the sidewalk, I couldn’t help but smile and say to myself, “Welcome to Berlin.”