Category: German

The Cactus Guide to the Kölner Karneval Cologne

kolnrt karneval

 

Our Guide to the Kölner Karneval Cologne

by Kathrin Schmitz

Kölle Alaaf! That is how you might be greeted in Cologne where today, on the 11th November at 11.11 am, the official Karneval season begins. Karneval, also known as the fifth season, is a tradition that goes back to the middle ages. Although it has changed a lot over the years, the Kölner Karneval as we know it nowadays is one of the biggest celebrations worldwide.

What Happens?

On the 11.11. at 11.11 am the celebrations begin on the Old Market in Cologne with concerts of the most popular carnival bands like Brings, Bläck Fööss and De Höhner. From November onwards there are many Sitzungen (stage shows) with music, dancing and stand-up comedy. It is an unspoken obligation to dress up when you attend a stage show or go to one of the parades which start on Weiberfastnacht (Fat Thursday). The highlight of Karneval is the big street parade on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) which is the biggest and one of the oldest parades in Germany. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come to see the 8km long parade consisting of colourful floats and street groups.

What to Say

These are some important expressions you might want to know when celebrating with all the Jecke (fools) in Cologne:
Kölle Alaaf: certainly the most important one; this is how you greet everyone that comes along your way
Bützchen: if you’re not a fan of kisses on the cheek, you’d better hide during the parade
Kamelle: this is what you need to shout at the street parade so people from the floats throw you candy
Fastelovend: meaning carnival in Cologne dialect

If Karneval inspires you to visit Germany and pick up some useful German, Cactus Language has German language courses in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and a number of other German cities. To find out more information simply call us on 01273 830 960 or email us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:

Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 15 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: for teacher training, English and French

The Cactus Guide to Oktoberfest

oktoberfest

 

Top 10 Tips for Oktoberfest Fun

With Oktoberfest in full swing (17th September to 3rd October) Cactus has some top tips on what to do, wear, eat and what German expressions you cannot do without!

1. Entrance is free. Beer is not free.

To enter the festival and beer tents is free of charge – a couple of beers and chicken will cost you around 35 euros – remember to take cash.

2. Choose your friends carefully

The tents get very busy, the smaller the group you are in, the quicker and easier it is to get a seat.

3. Impress them with your German

How to ask for a table in a tent: Entschuldigung, ist hier wohl noch ein Platz frei für mich und meine Freunde? (Excuse me, but is there room for me and my friends here?)

4. Leave the car at home

Definitely travel there by public transport. You can go by train (S-bahn) or by underground (U-Bahn) Entschuldigung, wie komme ich zur Festwiese? (Excuse me, how do I get to the Oktoberfest?)

5. Stay away from the schnapps

The festival also offers wine, cider, soft drinks and schnapps. However, if you’re drinking schnapps and trying to keep up with the beer drinkers you are likely to end up on the floor with very little memory of the festival.

6. How to get thrown out

You are not allowed to dance on the tables. So don’t try it, unless you want security to remove you from the tent.

7. How to look like a tourist

Do go in traditional costume such as Lederhos’n (for the men) and Dirndl (for the women). Don’t wear silly Oktoberfest hats – you will look like a tourist.

8. What to eat

Do try the classic Wiesn-Hendl (grilled chicken) or the Ochsenbraterei (Ox Burger).

9. Impress them some more with your German

Ordering food and drink: (Ein, zwei, drei, vier, fünf) Bier, bitte! (One, two, three, four, five) beers, please! (Ein, zwei, drei, vier, fünf) Wiesn-Hendl, bitte! (One, two, three, four, five) chicken, please!

10. Prost!

The most useful expression at Oktoberfest: Prost! (Cheers!)

Contact Us

If Oktoberfest inspires you to visit Germany and pick up some useful German, Cactus Language has German language courses in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and a number of other German cities. To find out more information simply call us on 01273 830 960 or email us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Banner FLUK Level Test

Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:

Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 15 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: for teacher training, English and French

Best Choice for Undergraduate Tuition

studying in germany

 

Why you Should Consider Studying in Germany

With the average cost of studying an undergraduate 3 year degree in the UK, including living costs, at an all-time high of £72,000/86,000 EUROS it is not surprising that UK nationals and EU/international students are looking for more economical alternatives. The quality of education is one of the main factors drawing students to study in the UK but leaving university with such an enormous debt is far from ideal.

What is the solution?

Many pre-university students, who are looking for high-quality internationally respected tuition at a more reasonable price are deciding to study for their undergraduate degree in Germany. Based on official figures from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), the average cost of studying in Germany is just £7,650/9,180 EUROS per year – less than a third the cost of studying in the UK. This breaks down to £390/540 EUROS per year for school fees and £7,260/8,700 EUROS to cover food, transport, accommodation, and other living costs.

Why so cheap?

University education in Germany is primarily funded by the state and is therefore virtually free – and this very low, minimum contribution applies for both domestic and international students. Anyone who decides to study in Germany, providing they meet the entry requirements, can take advantage of this almost-free education.

Low fees, high quality

Germany’s higher education system is world-class and has excelled in both the areas of infrastructure and curricula. Highly qualified and experienced staff, cutting edge facilities, international cooperation, and a focus on innovation are all characteristics that have long been associated with higher education in Germany. In addition, all universities in Germany now operate under the ‘Bologna reform’ which ensures that all the qualifications they award are internationally recognised.

Work and Study

While tuition costs are virtually free students still need to finance their living expenses and support themselves. In Germany there are plenty of job opportunities and for EU students there are no limitations to finding work. Students from non-EU countries are allowed to apply for a work permit and can work for 190 days full time or 240 days part-time. In both cases it is extremely easy for undergraduate students in Germany, who have a good level of German, to support themselves throughout their degree.

Post-study opportunities

Once you have finished your degree you have the opportunity to stay in Germany and find full time employment. International graduates are permitted to stay for an additional 18 months to look for work – and are allowed to stay for longer should work be found.

How do I apply?

Undergraduate degree courses in Germany are generally conducted in the German language, therefore a good command of German is a pre-requisite. The other usual entry requirements apply and will vary according to your choice of subject and choice of institution. German universities will require you to demonstrate your language skills through one of two proficiency tests: DSH and TestDaF. You can take the TestDaf exam anywhere in the world, but you can only sit DSH in Germany. You can get started by checking your German language skills here.

How can I improve my German?

If your level of German is low then your best route into Germany and a Germany university is to take a German language programme which will fully prepare you for the TestDaf. A 9 month, 36 week course of 20 hours per week will allow you to start with General German and then progress to exam preparation, giving you the necessary skills to obtain a B2 CEFR (upper-intermediate) level of German. We offer these courses in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Regensburg and Munster and 9 month courses start from just £3,500.

Your settling in phase

Taking an academic year German course in Germany is the best way to settle into your new country without the pressure of handing in university papers and assignments. It also gives you the opportunity to: find somewhere to live, get a job, make friends, understand the culture and customs, feel at home – all before starting university, which in itself can be a challenging adjustment. This is a great alternative to having a gap year as you will not only experience living in a different country you will also gain fluency in a new language.

Contact Us

To find out more information about any of our courses simply call us on 01273 830 960 or email us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:

Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 15 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: for teacher training, English and French

Essential German Expressions

essential German expressions

 

Essential German Expressions

If you’re off on holiday to Germany or a German speaking country this summer, or are just taking a short weekend break, you will want to have these useful expressions in your pocket.

Hello Hallo (hah-loh)
Goodbye Auf Wiedersehen / Tschüss (owf vee-dair-zayn / tchews)
Please Bitte (bih-tuh)
Thank you Danke (dahn-kuh) 

Yes Ja (yah)
No Nein (nine)
Excuse me/sorry Entschuldigung (ehnt-shool-dih-gun)
My name is…
 Ich heiße (ikh hie-ssuh)
What is your name? Wie heißen Sie? (vee hie-ssen zee)
Nice to meet you
 Schön Sie kennenzulernen
Where do you come from?
 Woher kommen Sie? (vo-hair koh-men zee)

I come from Great Britain Ich komme aus Grossbritannien
How are you? Wie geht es Ihnen? (vee gayt es ee-nen)
Where is…?
 Wo ist…? (voh ist…) 

I would like (2 bottles of water) Ich möchte (zwei Flaschen Wasser) (ikh merkh-tuh)
How much is that?
 Wieviel kostet das?
How do I get to…? Wie komme ich zum (m/n) / zur (f)…?
I don’t understand
 Ich verstehe nicht (ikh fehr-shtay-eh nikht)
I’m sorry, I don’t speak German Es tut mir leid, ich spreche kein Deutsch
Do you speak English? Sprechen Sie Englisch? (shprikhst doo eng-lish)

 

Cactus offers German Language Holidays all over Germany, and German Evening Language Courses across the UK.

Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:

Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 15 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: for teacher training, English and French

To book any of our courses please call us on 00441273 830 960 or email us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Free Berlin: Top 6 Things to See and Do for Free in Berlin

free berlin

The Cactus Team pick their top free things to do during a visit to Berlin: Cactus offers German language courses throughout the UK and in Berlin. To book any of our courses please call us on 01273 830 960 or email us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

1. Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie is a tangible reminder of the historic divide between East and West. Although the Berlin wall came down in November 1989, Checkpoint Charlie remained an official crossing until German reunification in 1990, when the guard house was removed. Now, in its place, there stands a copy of the guard house and serves as a reminder of this divide and much celebrated unification.

2. Free Admission Sundays

On the first Sunday of every month anyone, including tourists, can enter free of charge all the state museums and attractions including: the Pergamon, Alte Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum, Agyptisches Museum, GemAldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, Sammlung Berggruen, and the Museum for Gegenwart.

3. Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate

A trip to Berlin is incomplete without a visit to Germany’s Parliament building, the Reichstag. There are some great views of the city at the top of the glass dome and entry is free. The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s most photographed and iconic structure is nearby.

4. Holocaust Memorial

Opening in May 2005 and designed by architect Peter Eisemann the Holocaust Memorial is just south of the Brandenburg Gate and is made of more than 2,700 giant concrete slabs. It is a unique structure and is intended to produce a sense of confusion and uneasy, representing a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason.

5. Volkswagen showroom

Even if you are not a car lover this is a great place to visit. Located on Friedrichstrasse at the corner of Unter den Linden the VW showroom has every type of VW known to man. With 3 floors of automobiles and technology the basement also showcases the space travel developments that VW has been involved in.

6. East Side Gallery

The East side Gallery shows more than 100 pieces of art, all painted onto the Berlin Wall. With many famous images this gallery is open-air so try and view on a sunny day.

Banner FLUK Level Test

Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:

Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 15 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: for teacher training, English and French

Cactus offers language courses to all levels. To book any of our courses please call us on 01273 830 960 or email us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can visit our language course questions page.

 

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