Now that I have two weeks of language classes under my belt I am a complete expert when it comes to the German language…I wish! In reality I am slightly less lost than I was before I started, but not by much. I have noticed a few interesting things, though, that have almost nothing to do with German. [Disclaimer: I will be making generalizations. These are just my observations, best guesses, and opinions, and should not be taken as 100% fact.]
For starters, we tend to divide ourselves down gender lines. The guys sit with the guys and the women sit with the women. I don’t think it was a conscious choice, honestly, but I have no idea–I was an overachiever, and was the first one there so I just chose a seat; and then, everyone else showed up and sat down. Our placement is also rather interesting. The women all sit closest to our teacher while the men choose to sit as far away as possible. I have a theory, that sounds kind of harsh even though I don’t mean it to, on why the women sit close and the men sit so far away: I think it has something to do with the way we see the class. Or rather, the importance we place upon the class.
All of the students are around the same age. All but one of the men are 22 or 23. The women are between 22 and 29. And, for the most part, most of the women in class seem very serious about learning German. The men, however, act as if they’re the NFL football player that kept saying “I’m here so I won’t get fined”. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmABbHSOTqQ ) They chat through lessons, shout out answers when someone else is trying to work their way through an answer, and joke around. Most of us have to take the class in order to get our next residence permit so I don’t think they see the class as unimportant, per say, but I definitely think they see it as an inconvenience to be endured because they HAVE to.
I think, ultimately, that what I’m noticing is just two different levels in maturity. I’ll readily admit that during the first week and a half I got really annoyed by them, it’s still annoying, but I realized that they were acting like other 22 year-old guys I know. Most of the 22 year old guys I know tend to act like they know the secrets of life itself, and like nothing in the world bothers them–good or bad. [Gentlemen: if you do know life’s secrets be a pal and help a sister out, because I am lost in the sauce.] There are, of course, exceptions, but generally speaking it just seems like the men seem to take everything less seriously than the women. Or maybe, I am reading too much into the situation.
I’m genuinely curious if other language/integration courses are similar. Have you experienced something similar? Please let me know.