4 Years in Austria – some reflections

Koralpe hiking winter

It is with some surprise, and some trepidation, that I confront the fact I have now lived in Austria for 4 whole years.

4 whole years.

In many ways I feel like I’ve just arrived, in others I feel like I’ve been here an eternity.

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“Learn a language,” they said. “It’ll be fun, they said.” – Debunking the myth that there are ‘fun’ ways to learn a language

German English dictionary

When I first started learning German, naturally I did all kinds of Google searches on hints, tips and tricks to learning a language faster. There must be some kind of magic formula, I assumed, and if I could just unveil it, fluency would be mine!

Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there just isn’t. Sure, there’s plenty of ideas, but none of them take away from the fact that learning a language comes with hard work and practice.

One thing I came across a lot was so-called ‘fun’ and ‘easy’ ways to learn another language. I clung onto those with everything I had. Options like watching movies in a foreign language, reading local newspapers and listening to the local radio… sure these may sound like fun, but actually, they’re not.

Here’s why these methods are actually no fun at all, and up until now, have barely helped me.

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Feel like watching a movie in English tonight? Good luck finding it!

During my travels some friends and I found ourselves in Croatia, and on this particular day, unmotivated, we visited the cinema to watch ‘The Very Bad Trip – Part II’ – that is – The Hangover Part II. It puzzled me then and it puzzles me still, who decides on the sometimes very special movie titles when they’re translated into different languages. I’ve come across many more in Austria, so here are some of my favourites – and I’ll translate them literally so you can enjoy them the same way I do.

Back to the future translation
Here’s one where the movie title actually does translate well

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