Y12 Practise their German in Dortmund Christmas Market
Year 12 German AS level students got a chance to travel to Dortmund to visit a Christmas Market and practise their German in December. Cultural experiences make a huge difference when learning a foreign language. Here is an account of their experience by two pupils:
I love Christmas – everything about it, and the perfect place for a Christmas-lover to go to is, of course, a German Christmas Market! As soon as we arrived in Dortmund and at the markets, after a long and bumpy plane journey, the feeling of festivities surrounded me, and the freezing cold air punched us in the face. It was a brisk -3° when we arrived, and whilst wandering around the markets in the evening, the temperature felt like -10°. However, the beautiful stalls, ornaments and decorations distracted us from the cold, and I was immediately engrossed in what each stall was selling. Many of them sold little Christmas gifts, such as tree decorations, Currywurst, gingerbread, chestnuts and traditional German foods. After browsing the markets, we were treated to some German Glühwein (Mulled Wine) – don’t worry, it was the non-alcoholic version (basically warm juice…). We were challenged to ask for all our meals and purchases in German, so after applying what we had learnt recently with the stall owners, we thought we had successfully asked for a German Bratwurst (sausage). We ended up with a Currywurst (sausage with curry sauce)! I don’t know if it was difficult to decipher the difference between a Bratwurst and a Currywurst because of our accents, but personally, I think our German was pretty accurate and well-spoken. Dr Venz and Mrs Johns agreed too! The currywurst was ‘different’ but tasted good, and it was exciting to be trying new German foods. We then visited a German Supermarket in an attempt to source our breakfast for the next morning, and I was very excited over the mass of new brands and new foods. I treated myself to some muffins and mango for breakfast, and kept in mind some traditional German sweets and desserts to buy later. We eventually returned back to our warm and festively-decorated hotel with full stomachs, having bought our breakfast and lots of water. We went to sleep after watching the German version of The Golden Compass, and woke up to the warm embrace of our heater as we had managed to translate the instructions! All in all, a great opportunity to practise what we had learnt at school.
When we arrived in Dortmund, I was taken aback by the wondrous setting of the Christmas market. The twinkling Christmas lights, the delightful aroma of traditional German food, Churros, roasting chestnuts, Bratwurst and Currywurst. Enticed by the smell of German cuisine, we took the plunge. Currywurst it was with a generous helping of chips. Wunderbar!
We quickly finished our food and started to explore the market. Ignoring the cold, with the help of some mulled ‘wine’, we finished the evening by going to a supermarket to get some supplies for breakfast in the morning.
We woke up the following day excited and anxious to get back to the market and with one task in mind: buy gifts! Luckily, the temperature was slightly milder . Before returning to the stalls we had spotted the evening before, we decided to visit the Reinoldi Church Dortmund and partake in a Mass. After that we went to the market where we interacted in German with the sellers. I was very pleased that some locals thought we were German! The work we had done in school had obviously paid off.