Helping Ukrainians learn German

Hello, I live in Germany, where many Ukrainians have arrived after fleeing the war in their home country. Many of them have asked me to help them learn German. I have some experience with language learning and have started writing a guide specifically targeted at the current wave of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Germany, but I need a person with whom I can exchange ideas and edit/modify the text I have written. If you are willing to work with me on this project, please let me know and I will give you access to the Google Doc I’ve been using. I’m writing the text in English first and my wife is going to translate it into Russian. I also have Ukrainian speaking friends who could then even create a Ukrainian version.

The main purpose of this guide is to motivate people who have fled war and left their loved ones behind to muster the mental energy to start learning a new language. I am aware of the fact that there are a variety of resources, materials, Youtube, Telegram and Tiktok channels, Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram groups, apps and online courses for learners of German. However, none of these are aimed at this particular type of person. To fill this gap, I would like to focus on helping these Ukrainians get into the right mental state to open up to the German language.

This is what I have so far:

“Every Adversity, Every Failure, Every Heartbreak, Carries With It The Seed Of An Equal Or Greater Benefit”Napoleon Hill.

Welcome to Germany, we are glad you are here and we can help you get your life back on track. This program will help you learn German while navigating you through the German bureaucratic jungle. Our goal is to help you cope with the enormous psychological stress of war and being separated from your loved ones without knowing if you will ever see them again. We want you to know that you are not alone, that we are suffering with you, and that we are doing everything we can to ease your pain.

When done right, learning German can be a powerful form of therapy, a way to balance your emotions and focus your energy on something you can control: Your own thoughts.

Let me tell you that the German public sees refugees from Ukraine as an enrichment for our society and not as a burden, so you have absolutely no reason to feel bad about the help from Germany. Ukraine has paid a high price for the freedom of all European citizens. The least we can do for you is to try to make your stay in Germany as pleasant as possible.

  • Motivation is everything

  • Language is central to everything you do and are

  • The why is more important and then the ‘how’ follows

  • Try different methods because there is no single method

  • Enjoy the very process

  • To make your learning successful you need 3 things: 1) fun 2) learning materials and resources 3) a system

  • The power of the subconscious mind

  • How to start thinking in German right from the start

  • Learning means changing your habits

  • Your advantage: You have grown up in a bilingual society

  • Incorporate language (especially listening) activities into your daily routine

  • Involve your kids while allowing them to learn at their own pace

  • Use digital media and tools in combination with face-to-face communication

  • Start practicing your speaking skills in real life as soon as possible to conquer any type of fear

  • Boost your self-confidence by approaching Germans whenever and wherever you can

  • Differences between German and Russian/Ukrainian

  • Many Ukrainian words are similar to German because Ukrainian is closer to German than Russian to German (смак, дах, роль, Цукер, etc.

  • Difference between accent and mistake (‘staat’ vs ‘statt’)

  • Learn the language through your ears rather than your eyes

  • Germans support you and want to help you

  • Coaching vs. teaching

  • Learning a language is a bit like learning to swim or how to ride a bike

  • Ultimate goal: Meet with Germans, build and extend your social and professional network

  • Learning German works both ways (tandem principle): You can learn German by making German speaking friends while the Germans can pick up some Ukrainian phrases from you