From learning English from his brother at home in the Dominican Republic to learning German from our Fluent City teachers in the classroom, Bryan Medina has been multilingual basically his whole life. Currently, he’s taking German with us to prep him for a Master’s Program in Deutschland itself. So — does having one language under your belt make it easier to learn another? Does German ever come in handy living in NYC? Read on to find out.
Setting The Stage
Where are you from?
I was born in New York, but I was raised in the Dominican Republic. I moved back to New York about a year ago.
Well welcome back! So did you speak Spanish as a kid?
Yes, Spanish is my first language. I learned English afterwards.
How did you start learning English?
My brother, who’s older, started learning, so then I started learning from him. Since we didn’t have anyone to practice English with, we practiced with each other. Of course, people wouldn’t understand us, so we could make fun of people.
Definitely a great reason to learn a new language if I’ve ever heard one. Do you find that learning a new language is easier, now that you’ve done it before?
It’s easier, yes. When you know more than one language you start connecting the dots.
Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
So, tell me about how you ended up at Fluent City.
Well, I wanted to learn a new language. But also, I am going to apply to a Master’s program in Germany. Since I’m applying to the program, why not learn the language?
Sounds very reasonable.
I either had to learn it here or in Germany, and I figured better to know it before I go. You cannot get to a new country and not speak any of the language, life will be impossible!
Yeah, it would be really hard! What are you most looking forward to about using your German in Germany?
Well, this way you don’t feel lost. And I’ll be able to understand more people.
Why did you decide to take group lessons?
When you’re learning something new it’s easier to rely on someone else. It’s easier when everyone is making the same mistakes. When you have a group that’s making progress with you, you feel safe. Like you’re on the right track
What have you found the easiest part about learning German?
Easiest? [Laughs.] That’s hard… German is not easy.
OK, what about the hardest part?
The words are so much longer than in English and Spanish. And the pronunciation, a “w” sounds like a “v,” a “v” sounds like an “f…”
Very true. What’s been the – if not the easiest – the best part of learning German?
Being able to understand it. I can go around the city and I can hear someone speaking German and recognize it. I met this German couple who was here for vacation on the subway, and I heard them talking about how maybe they were lost in German. And I asked if they needed directions.
That’s so cool that you’ve been able to connect with other German right at home. And now you’re almost tri-lingual! Spanish, English, halfway to German!
I know a little bit of French, too! Half French, half German…
Well two halves make a whole, so it looks like you’ve hit trilingual already!
As a part of his Master’s Degree, Bryan will be studying Water Resources and Environmental Engineering — “basically,” he puts it, “trying to save the environment by using renewable energy, looking for smart ways to use [that] energy, and so on.” Gute Reise, Bryan!