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Learning German to escape debt crisis

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 02:23

Apr.10 - Germany's cultural institution, the Goethe Institute, saw record numbers of students at its centres around the world in 2011, partly due to the euro zone debt crisis. Joanna Partridge reports

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UPSOUND Grappling with grammar and new vocabulary. These students are learning German at Berlin's Goethe Institute. And they're in good company. The Goethe Institute - Germany's cultural institution - saw record numbers of learners at its centres around the world in 2011. German's growing popularity is an unexpected side-effect of the euro zone debt crisis. The head of language courses at the Berlin centre, Guenther Neuhaus, says there's a lot more demand from southern Europe. SOUNDBITE: Guenther Neuhaus, The head of language courses at Goethe Institute Berlin, saying (German): "The numbers of students who are learning German in Goethe Institutes abroad rose by around 10 percent last year, and numbers rose even more in certain regions like Spain, Italy and Greece. Of course we are pleased that more people are learning German. I have to add that at the Institute we usually teach adults." Alejandra Segura is from Spain. She's learning German so she can study at a Berlin theatre school. Her fellow students are from as far afield as Greece, Palestine and the USA. PTC: In this German class alone there are students from eight different countries. And while they are all learning German for different reasons, the country's economic boom has undoubtedly attracted many of them to study or work here. Come break time, the students have a chance to chat - most already speak English but believe learning German will open new doors. . SOUNDBITE: Alejandra Segura, Spanish student learning German, saying (German): "I'm studying German because I want to study here in Berlin. I already did my training in Spain but I didn't think it was enough so I want to study more." SOUNDBITE: Malin Molin, Swedish student learning German, saying (English): "I'm studying business and it's a really good "Handlessprache", like a business language, to learn. Sweden has a lot of exchange with Germany so it's for professional use mostly." Vo Ha is from Vietnam and is working as an intern at the Goethe Institute. SOUNDBITE: Vo Thi Hai Ha, Vietnamese student working as an intern at the Goethe Institute, saying (German): "I definitely want to become a German teacher, as I think it would be great to teach the language to others." German has long had a reputation as difficult to learn. But unemployment is at a 20-year low, and as long as the country has jobs to offer - many more students are expected to get their tongues around Deutsch. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Learning German to escape debt crisis

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 02:23