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English is my first language. I have taken four semesters of university German in preparation to go abroad in 2015 to work and study.

My question is this: how can I practice and improve my German in the coming months before heading over? Is there something I can listen to in my car, a good website to practice with, etc.?

I'm most concerned with improving my speaking and listening abilities. Let me know what I can do!

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marked as duplicate by RegDwight Jun 29 at 21:00

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6 Answers 6

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I was learning Swedish two years ago and it helped me listening Swedish internet radio and reading Swedish news sites. I think you've to be patient. Not every radio station is appropriate to listen to because of the quality or because the moderators have accent or the content is only music and fool-around.

The news site http://dw.de is multi lingual (good for switching the languages if you've touble in understanding).

Good German news websites are

Since you're also active on Stackoverflow, you might be interested in technical/science websites, like

Further it's helpful to lookup things on en.wikipedia and switch over to the German version on the left menu: http://de.wikipedia.org

(It's interesting that many detetailed articles in EN or DE are quite poor in e.g. SE ;)

Here's a list of radio stations: Liste deutscher Hörfunksender

You'll be interested in "Öffentlich-rechtliche Sender" only (they have no or only little fool-around).

Finally, for me it was helpful to speak daily things in the foreign language (Swedish) to my self. Every little thing like "Today it's warmer then last week." counts. ;)

Then I recognized I don't know how to expess myself and looked up the phrases, grammer and vocabulary.

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All of the answers were REALLY GOOD, this one just had the most in it. Thank you all for your help I'm very grateful! –  tannman357 Jun 30 at 11:37

For reading I'd suggest the newspapers websites, e.g. http://www.spiegel.de or http://www.sueddeutsche.de.

For listening you can watch the news on http://www.tagesschau.de or other TV shows on http://mediathek.zdf.de and http://www.ardmediathek.de/tv

You'll have to talk to other students or German speakers to improve your speaking, obviously.

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The German channel Deutsche Welle has a special program for people learning German (with online lessons, news reports spoken slowly etc.).

You can find it at their website at http://www.dw.de

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As @marstato already mentioned german tv News Tagesschau and heute are very useful (standard German without dialect). If this is too difficult or exhausting there are a free mp3 lessons with very easy stuff called Book2 (zip). And yes, talking with other people is the best but I think you wouldn't have asked if you have that possibility. Good luck for you!

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I really improved my English and pronunciation by watching a lot of series and movies in English. Also, I used to have some English speaking pals and we were chatting a lot via Skype which was fun and thaught me a lot.

Additionally, I can recommend http://www.interpals.net/. It is a really great source to learn a language.

Viel Spaß! :)

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If you don't have the opportunity to speak German with somebody else, try talking with yourself when you're alone. "Ich muss heute noch einkaufen und eine Wäsche waschen."

On the bus/train or even in the car you can improve your listening skills with a German audiobook - preferably one you already know in English, so you'll have an easier time following the story even if you can't make sense of a sentence or you need to concentrate on traffic for a moment or you are interrupted by other passengers. If this is too easy, try a book which you don't know yet. LibriVox has free German audio books, but the speakers might have a slight accent.

And of course I second the suggestion to try watching tagesschau and reading news sites.

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