Wie verhindert man dass man nach dem ATJ alles Englische wieder vergisst?

Hallo miteinander

In einem anderen Forum wurde in einem Englischsprachigen Teil von einigen Leuten die Befürchtung geäussert, sie würden nach der Rückkehr aus dem Ausland praktisch automatisch viel von Ihrem Englisch wieder vergessen. Ich habe ja schon an einigen Stellen im Forum bei entsprechender Thematik einmal angemerkt, dass ich eigentlich diesem geläufigen Klischee aufs Stärkste widerspreche. Ich wage einmal zu behaupten, ich sei das Wandelnde Gegensbeispiel dafür, dass man nach dem Austauschjahr einen Grossteil seines Englisch (gerade was Wortschatz und Grammatik angeht) praktisch „automatisch“ wieder vergisst. Mit einem gewissen Eigenaufwand von eigener Seite, glaube ich, dass man praktisch den ganzen Wortschaft im sogenannten „passiven Wortschatz“ erhalten, und manches davon auch in den aktiven Wortschatz übernehmen kann.

Da sicher ein paar der Austauschschüler hier ähnliche Befürchtungen haben, dachte ich, ich poste hier einen Ausschnitt aus meinem Posting in erwähntem anderen Austauschforum. Leider ist mein Posting dort auf Englisch, dafür entschuldige ich mich hier auch schon. Bei Bedarf - sollte jemandem ein Punkt oder so nicht ganz klar/verständlich sein - bin ich gerne bereit Teile davon zu übersetzen.

Bin gespannt auf eure Reaktionen!

Well, I know many exchange students say that they lost most of their English again after exchange and that this normally happens to every exchange student. I claim that this is simply not true.

Michael’s 10 tips to keep up your English once you are back in your home country:

I have been back from my exchange for over 4 years now and I reckon I retained a good deal of my exchange vocab and grammar until today. Therefore, I am thoroughly convinced, that „not forgetting your English once you have returned to Germany“ depends to 90% on the student. I am not saying that it will be easy. I don’t claim that it is going to work for everyone. But I do believe, that if you are prepared to put some (hard) work in, you’ll be able to retain most of your English and pretty much all over your vocabulary (even if some that you hardly ever use will slip into the „passive vocab“, e.g. when you hear it, you know what it means, but you couldn’t for example recall it to translate something).
Nearly two years after my return, I took the Cambridge Proficiency Exam and passed with a Grade A. Now I am taking „Legal English“ at university (which is slightly different from „normal English“) and haven’t had any problems. I am still able to take part in a conversation about more or less any subject in English. I have tried to think of what worked for me, and here’s my list of „Michaels 10 tips to keep up your English once you are back in your home country:“

during exchange
[] Start your work during exchange. Find a balance between the „fun subjects“ (like Graphic Arts, Design, PE, photography, etc.) and the ones that will substantly enhance your English. History, English, English literature, Geography are prime examples of subject that will help you with your English enormously.
] For those classes, actually do the homework, try to participate in class and also make it clear to the teacher that you would like your written hand-ins marked like everyone else’s and would like spelling mistakes or use of wrong registers, etc. corrected because you want to learn the language to your best ability. By the way: It’s possible to participate in class, do the (mostly tiny amount) of homework and still have lots of fun during your exchange! :wink:
[*] Try to have conversations with elderly people from time to time. They will use different registers than the teenagers and you can learn a lot from them. :wink:

after exchange

[] If there are any perparatory courses at your school to take a Cambridge language exams or anything like that - take them! The more you get to practice your English, the better is the chance to retain it at your „exchange level“
]Strive for excellence in English classes. If you write a test and make 3 mistakes without learning, try to learn a little bit, so as to pass the test without fault. Language study - even if it seems silly because you are the best student by far at your school anyway - does help a big deal to keep the language up!
[]Try to watch a movie in English without subtitles. Not only watch movies with American actors who all have American accents that you understand anyway (assuming you exchanged to the States), but also watch movies with Aussie, Kiwi or British actors. Again, hearing and learning to understand different accents enhances your overall grasp of the language
]Consequently start to read books by English authors. Start off with books you enjoy - the Harry Potter series for example - then gradually move on to more demanding books (concering the writing style of the author and the topic discussed). James Michener, James Clavell and Patrick O’Brian all write pretty well - if the topics they cover interest you a little bit.
[]Keep in touch with your exchange mates (wether they are exchange students themselves or locals from your host country). While chatting with them or writing e-mails, do take special care not to use „internet slang“ abbreviations, but proper English. When writing e-mails: Proofread what you wrote and correct any mistakes you may find. Regular phone contact, for example with your host family or your best friend from exchange helps to keep the speaking component up to speed.
]Find any other means that help you keep up your English.
You can for example: translate letters, etc. to people you know, like for example your local sports club (that’s organising an international tournament and wants to send out invitations in English) or maybe somebody who has a small business and needs to deal with English speaking Business partners.
Register and participate in an English speaking online community that deals with a topic you are interested in, wether it being student exchange, your favourite sport or anything else.
[*]When translating something or writing a text in English and you are not sure of the proper word: Look it up. There’s heaps of good translation machines out on the web (I often use http://leo.dict.org ). Using those machines is not „acknowledging that I don’t know the word or have forgotten it“. It may simply have slipped into your „passive vocabulary“. Once you read it as a translation suggestion on your computer screen, it will come back to you and you’ll recognise the word. By the way, this comparison of different suggestions or translation is also an excellent way of picking up new words „along the way“ :wink:

I know this sounds like a lot to do. But really, much of it happens similarly anyway, and another big part you do at school anyway. I mean you sit in English classes in Germany anyway, so why not getting of your bum and working a little bit if you can keep up your English in return? Remember, the benchmark for your English is not the level of your classemate’s English who have never been abroad anyway. The Benchmark for you is your personal goal, and if this is to keep your English as near to the level you had on exchange as possible, then this may require a little more work than letting it slip would do… :slight_smile: