18 January 2007

Spreckle Ze What?

This morning I checked out three different language schools.
  • Sprachen Schule Schneider at Bahnhof Wollishofen
  • Berlitz in Bellevue
  • Migros Klubschule at Bahnhof Oerlikon

I had to rule out Migros Klubschule because they only have German classes that start at 8:30 am or in the evening. The morning classes will not work because my annual transit pass is only good for after 9 am on week days, therefore I would end up paying quite a lot in additional transit costs. And I would hate to have an evening class. During the winter time I like to be tucked up at home in the evenings, preferably with GLH by my side, a cat or two in my lap and a book in hand.

At the Sprachen Schule I spoke with the people and liked the program. They gave me a test to determine my level of knowledge. I got a 38 out of 80, which I thought not too shabby after 15 years of not speaking the language. But I was told I would likely be in the Beginning German class. I need to go back on Monday morning for the Verbal Skills Test. In terms of location, this would be the most convenient for me.

At Berlitz the Language Counselor was not available, so I have an appointment to meet with her on Tuesday afternoon. Centrally located and an acceptable transit location. We'll see what I think after I meet with the woman.

I will also need to decide whether I do an intensive class (meets 5 times per week for a month) or a regular class (meets 2 times per week for a few months). And before I sign up for anything I'd like to sit through a class to witness the teaching style.

So, any thoughts or suggestions from those who have gone before me? Any experience with these schools or others? Thoughts on intensive versus regular lessons?

I await to receive your wisdom.


Ted said...

Dear GLH

Try some of the threads on www.englishforum.ch

Have been comments about language schools there.


NZ Librarian

Expat Traveler said...

interesting. I can't report on schools since I took my French classes in Montreux and St. Louis/Basel France but I can comment on the frequency..

We only had class 1 or 2 times a week and I thought it wasn't enough because my mind went back to English always and I felt like I had to restart each day.

I like the more concept because you go into it right away and well it's only a month, so if you like it you could do more. ;-)

Great forum link!

swissmiss said...

I have always been very happy with my Migros classes (in Bern) - if you can ever find one that works in your transit time I think they're good. I also like the motley crew of fellow students you're likely to get in a Migros course.

Berlitz is expensive (again, in Bern) - they were too expensive for me - and I think the students tend to be a more homogenous bunch. But the classes will almost always be smaller, which means you get to talk more and ask more questions.

Courtney said...

I just found your blog and though I don't know you, I have to answer. I used to teach at Berlitz. It's not a very effective and extremely expensive school. I wouldn't go there, though maybe the school in Zurich is better.

I also wanted to ask about where you got your cat flying info from. ramblincat isn't loading on my computer and I'm hoping to bring my cats to Germany with me in three weeks but the paperwork is overwhelming and contradicts itself. Was it really as easy as pie to get through customs?

Ashley Risse said...

I've taken 8 weeks of intensive courses (5 days a week for 3 hours a day) with Benedict School in Zurich. It starts to feel like a full time job with the lab work and homework, but worth the time. I have learned enough in 8 weeks to feel comfortable getting around Zurich and to keep up with my German in-laws.

Hope this helps. See you Tuesday!

Global Librarian said...

Thanks for all of the tips! Looks like I've got a couple more schools to check out.

And to Courtney, yes bringing the cats over was really that easy. I found all of the information I needed on the Swiss government website. Very clear, detailed and in English plus specific to each country. (Rules vary, mostly depending upon whether rabies is controlled or not in the country of origin.)

I would have no idea how to go about importing a cat to Germany. I suggest you first check with the German customs officials. If they do not know, they should be able to at least tell you who does.

However, 3 weeks might not be enough time. We booked the flight for the cats 2 months in advance. The closer to departue date, the less likely the airline will allow it. The airline was definitely the most difficult part.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

SwissTwist said...

Hi, I recommend checking out Bellingua in Loewenstrasse (www.bellingua.ch). I did my course there, the classes are small and intensive and the teachers are great.
Viel Glueck!