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Old 06.03.2015, 18:37
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[Thread split] RAV German Course - My experience

Well brandishing my "A2" German certificate, I showed up this morning for my first time at the language course for total beginners. (I missed the full day on Wednesday when I was sick)....
These are my notes:

08.15 I'm at the wrong house #10, there is one at each end of the street, some 5km apart. Good of them to mention this. Especially Impuls doesn't appear to be the real #10...
08.20 Arrive late on first morning.
08.25 Uncle Bulgaria (Womble moonlighting as teacher) introduces Der/Die/Das....
08.30 I lose will to live
08.35 Have to move chair as fumes from neighbour too strong, clearly had vodka on his cornflakes this morning...
09.00 Breaktime (already!) we knock off for 15 mins each hour??
10.30 Class has mastered "My name is... I come from" after just 10 hours of study! So we introduce ourselves...
10.31 Serbian and Croatian have to be separated.
10.45 Another break!
11.00 Learn word for "widowed"
11.15 Case study buying rabbit food in supermarket
11.16 Lose will to live all over again
11.20 Learn word for "stuffed rabbit"
11.30 Start 30 min end of week (of which I missed 8 of the 12 hrs) test.
11.32 Finish test. Walk out secure in the knowledge I can now describe a toy rabbit that recently lost her husband.

It's going to be a LONG 8 weeks... even the language teacher apologised to me and asked what I'd done to deserve this kind of punishment. The course is aiming to take people to the A2 standard if they do very well, I got my A2 and nearly B1 2 years back, so even by the end of the course, the expected level is still significantly below what I currently speak.

How on earth I'll survive all day next Wednesday I don't know.

The group are very pleasant, but given no-one shares a language (we are 1 Serb/1 Croat/1 Slovak/1 Italian/1 Spaniard/ 1 Eritrean, myself and a couple of Portuguese), the breaktime chat is limited to me naming Premiership football sides and one or other of the lads jumping up and down.

Seems wrong that the place on the course is being wasted when people like the OP would be happy to have the opportunity and I'm simply sat there working out how bigger spark I'd need to make before the bloke sat next to me would burst into flames! ;-)
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Old 06.03.2015, 21:32
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Re: RAV German Course

Well, it sounds like you have developed a good relationship with the instructor. If nothing else, you might be able to get a good reference from this experience. I'm sorry to hear that this is all they can come up with at the RAV.
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Old 09.03.2015, 13:49
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Re: RAV German Course

I think the OP has a fair point: It's reasonable to expect the RAV to work with you to get a job, or at least not HINDER you. Although I do wonder if the OP might be better off taking a housekeeping job and doing some German lessons at night school just to get out from the RAV. (Appreciate not easy with a new baby...)
I've emailed my new advisor asking her to have mercy on me and not put me through another 8 hours of "Mein name Vladomir, Ich Komme Slovak, Ich love Vodka" so we'll see what she says:
If she doesn't see that it's a total waste of my time, then I know her mission is to drive me out/away rather than find me a job. And I will treat our meetings as such. Since I've yet to meet her, it will be an interesting insight into her approach... 100% certain she'll play the "sorry rules are rules and you'll complete the course or else" card... but hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
The class spent 2 hours on the concept of counting on Friday... at the end of 2 hours, 75% of them still couldn't grasp the idea of putting the digits before the 10's....
Help.

[mod edit - thread split. User's first sentence of this post is referring to the OP of this thread]

Last edited by 3Wishes; 17.03.2015 at 21:49. Reason: clarifying after thread split
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Old 12.03.2015, 09:47
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Re: RAV German Course

Well it's crunch time for me... firstly a quick comedy update from yesterdays class:

Day 2....

08:15 Class starts, but since this place is ridiculously hard to find, I'm still rallycrossing in the lumber yard outside... late again.
08:20 Head of school comes in. Asking who owns Audi... own up, get told off for being sideways on school premises. New respect from class.
08:21 Head of school presents me with my level A2 German certificate that I took in 2012, much confusion as everyone hoping to pass level A1 in 8 weeks time. Respect fades.
08:22 Send scan of certificate to Swiss authorities asking if NOW they'll stop sending me to this beginners course. Sure I'll be excused within minutes...
08:25 Results of Friday test, I got 29.5 out of 30, (technicality from the Womble), the Sloshed Serb got 6... but I bet he enjoyed the class more.
08:59 The stuffed rabbit is back, lose will to live.
09:00 38 mins without a break?? This is slave labour.
09:01 Break called. Phew. Check email, nothing from the Authorities.
09:45 Swiss breakfast of Red Bull followed by a Red Bull is not doing well on my stomach... feeling light headed.
10:15 Full hour since last break, class on brink of revolt. Break called, check email... nothing.
11:15 Class learn North is usually at top of a map.... however an hour is lost while concepts of East and West explained... will to live shredded.
12:00 No email still and since no-one warned me you had to pre-order lunch, no food either. No worries: vending machine sells Red Bull.
13.15 Class has to read simple phrases. Discover 2 of 7 can't read. At all.
13:50 Class all fail to spell "Deutsch". It's on the front of the text book for crying out loud. Lose will to live in totality. Tune out for rest of PM and surreptitiously check email every 5 minutes in hope of a lifeline.
16.00 Class finishes.
16.02 Email arrives from authorities: "Sorry we can't open PDF's" Aaaaarrrghhhh

So sent my certificate in JPG form with a note saying if they can't open it to let me know first thing and I'll hand deliver it to their offices... (my new RAV officer who I've yet to meet and my unemployment overlord in Schwyz who I've also never met or spoken to) so we'll see... they managed to waste another day of my life yesterday but I'm pretty determined I'm not going to let them do that again tomorrow.

At the end of the day I've proved to them now that I have a qualification above that which they are forcing me to study for (hat tip to Impuls who managed to generate me a duplicate certificate for an exam I sat in 2012 in less than an hour!) and I won't give into the "if you don't go, we'll take away your money" blackmail.

Will keep you posted as I think it's an interesting insight into whether the RAV are really here to help or humiliate you into taking the first job available...

Wish there was someway I could simply substitute the OP into my place!
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Old 12.03.2015, 16:15
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Re: RAV German Course

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..."Mein name Vladomir, Ich Komme Slovak, Ich love Vodka"...
Back to class for you with those mistakes. Honestly, I would lose the will to live too. In my Migrosschule class we often were paired up and told to review the Worterbuch - the one with a list of words and phrases in German and you write the equivalent in your native language on the line next to it. Yup, the Russian guy and I just looked at each others' books and shrugged. I have no idea if what he wrote was correct, and he didn't speak a word of English.
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Old 12.03.2015, 16:16
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Re: RAV German Course

I'm hoping for a live update of tomorrow's events as they unfold. Having to wait until the end of the day for an update is killing me.
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Old 12.03.2015, 16:25
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Re: RAV German Course

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I'm hoping for a live update of tomorrow's events as they unfold. Having to wait until the end of the day for an update is killing me.
Me, too!
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Old 12.03.2015, 16:37
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Re: RAV German Course

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Wish there was someway I could simply substitute the OP into my place!
There's material here for a really entertaining comedy. Maybe you could spend your class time writing a screenplay?
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Old 12.03.2015, 16:41
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Re: RAV German Course

It's going to be really disappointing if they let him off the course and we don't get an update tomorrow.
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Old 12.03.2015, 16:44
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Re: RAV German Course

I'm starting a ORP/RAV French course on Monday so I may be able to continue the story?

Or I might find it useful. One can only hope
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Old 13.03.2015, 09:32
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Re: RAV German Course

Much to my delight and apparently to the disappointment of my friends on here and Facebook there will be no further updates from the Wilds of Ibach...

When you left us, I'd fired off the certificate and threatened to bang on peoples doors with copies if they failed once again to acknowledge my previous qualification...

Well I spent another long day yesterday checking the email every 30 secs as you can imagine... the fear not so much being that I'd have to go back and do a strenuous half day today (Friday) but that the class has a special week next week: All day Tuesday AND all day Wednesday!! Now I'm pretty certain that either this would kill me completely or (as suggested here) I would come out with a screenplay to rival "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest"... probably ending with me with 2 sharp pencils up my nostrils.

So the day ticked by.... and my email inbox remained bare....

And my level of desperation ticked up as time went on until 3pm when I lost the plot and fired off an email along the lines of: "
Please confirm that my certificate qualifies me to be excused any further beginners classes. UNLESS I HEAR FROM YOU TO THE CONTRARY I WILL NOT BE ATTENDING ANY FURTHER CLASSES."

2 mins later. Email comes back. No apology, no confirmation that we've ever communicated before, saying:

"Please apply to these people for an intensive German course", link to a website, form attached.

And with that, I'm a free man (for now).

Thanks for the support and laughing along with me so I can keep laughing myself rather than crying!

And good luck to anyone finding themselves in a similar circumstance... next time I'm stuck in a boring meeting, I'll remember that course and know I could be in a worse place!

Cheers
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Old 17.03.2015, 21:35
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Re: RAV German Course

Aaaaarrgghhh WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Was told to report with my new form to the new language school for an assessment this morning...
All went well, my German was judged to be "pretty good, a little rusty but not bad at all. Strong A2" so I was told I would need to do a B1 course...

I said "thanks very much, I'll keep that in mind and will send this form back to the RAV at some point..."

However, the best laid plans etc... I was told the form has to go back today. And I will be recommended for the intensive B1-1.... which means that I have to show up EVERYDAY from 8.45 to 12.15! 5 days a week. Starting 30th March for a month.

I asked if at the end of the course, I would then be able to pass a B1 test and improve my CV (and hopefully get the RAV off my back) and the response was

"hahaha, no, you'll need to do the B1-2 and B1-3 courses before you reach that standard... you'll be here until the end of June"?? !!??!??

Now given I have to I miss anything from 4 days to 6+ out of the 20 for interviews in the first month, it's pretty pointless I reckon but looks like I've cunningly swapped 8 weeks of 1.5 days/m on "German for Numpties" with 5 * 0.5 Intensive German days for up to 3 months!

Guess I deserve it for taking on the system, and at least I'm going to learn something... have to smile!
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Old 17.03.2015, 21:40
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Re: RAV German Course

You're getting a free intensive B1 course….. I'd love to be given that!
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Old 25.03.2015, 09:06
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Re: RAV German Course

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You're getting a free intensive B1 course….. I'd love to be given that!

Agreed, a free intensive course for a month in the local language, not only is it extremely useful but also free (would several hundred chf normally). Seriously some people and their complaining...
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Old 25.03.2015, 11:14
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Re: [Thread split] RAV German Course - My experience

Whilst I would normally love a free course to learn a language, and I take on board the comments about "some people and their moaning", my sole mission here is to get a new job.
And in my field, German is totally and utterly useless to me unless I can make the step from "conversational" to "fluent" which simply isn't going to happen on a language course.
A free course in Cantonese or Mandarin? That might open a few doors, but German, sadly not.

So anyway, since I've been darkening the doors of the RAV Lachen for 7 months, I've been moved to a new advisor... who I was lucky enough to meet yesterday.

She's very pleasant but recalling it's RAV Lachen that fired me off on the beginners German course as they were of the opinion I spoke no German whatsoever: she speaks no languages other than her own. So obviously I've been moved from the guy with the fluent English to someone who is unable to understand even the occasional word of English or French when my German vocab fails me.

She was very complimentary about my standard of German though! (Don't think she was being ironic.... but I found it funny).

I explained that the new German course was a disaster for my job hunt: In the next 4 weeks I need to go to Paris for an interview, I have 2 full day interviews in Zurich, I need to go to London for at least 2 days once if not twice for meetings and I need to do at least 2 conference calls with the Middle East/Far East which obviously have to be done in the mornings. (Sounds more important than it all is... but there are no jobs for me in CH at the moment, so I'm having to tap contacts all around the World to find opportunities).

Her responses "Can't you move the all-day interviews to the afternoon only?" and "why did you choose the morning course and not the afternoon one if you knew you'd have to phone the Middle East" (obvious response was that I speak to the US on a more regular basis so was lessor of the 2 evils)

Her response? "You need to write bigger and neater when you fill in your job hunt form, my eyes are old and I can't read what you have written"

???!?

In fact this was the sum total of her advice in the hour I was with her.

I explained that I had understood her role was not to help me, but to give me problems. She replied she was simply a "supervisor" and she was there only to help me not upset the people above her in particular the "auditors" in Bern who were NOT going to like my job hunt form. (About which of course no-one has had a single complaint in the last 7 months...)

Her parting shot, was particularly comforting "If you don't find a job in the next few weeks, you'll be on the next course in May and the one after that in June as well".

So I guess the only thing we can hope for is that my fellow students on the course which I start on Monday are vaguely interesting and I can at least give you all some entertainment on here with the updates!

Good luck out there fellow RAVers.
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Old 25.03.2015, 11:39
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Re: [Thread split] RAV German Course - My experience

Sounds like they are just trying to stop you having a lie-in.
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Old 25.03.2015, 12:28
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Re: [Thread split] RAV German Course - My experience

Use the PDF for your work search list and print it.
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Old 30.03.2015, 16:09
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Re: [Thread split] RAV German Course - My experience

Tried the PDF trick... she has her own special form she gives me each month, with much bigger boxes than the PDF they issue... so no joy there! For her eyes I'd imagine...


Anyway, started at AlphaSprach this morning, and have to admit it was a pleasant experience with the course actually at a reasonably tough level today... going to have to work hard to stay the pace but I'll take a challenge as opposed to mind-numbing tedium.

The other students are pleasant (and pretty smart: downright Einsteins compared to the last mob) although I'm old enough to have fathered at least 3 of the 5.... and the teacher is quite funny (and quite cute!) so the step from Impuls to here is quite a large one. There are worst places to spend my mornings than in a class with 6 nice young ladies, even if one of them does insist on trying to teach me German...

Bizarre moment of the day was when I checked in at the school office this morning, they handed me my course texts and told me "Hold on, we need your signature"... I wasn't expecting them to pull out posters of me they wanted autographed!!!! (I am very very faintly famous in another time and place). First time that's happened to me in CH, but clearly someone somewhere has done some homework on the students before they arrive.

Kinda set a pleasant tone!

Right better do my homework... and then of course if there is an hour left in the day, I'll try and find a job.

Hmmmm
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Old 30.03.2015, 18:51
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Re: [Thread split] RAV German Course - My experience

DO you not get the job search form every month along with your IPA form you give to UNIA?
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Old 30.03.2015, 22:40
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Re: [Thread split] RAV German Course - My experience

I did until recently, but suddenly I'm getting only the single form in the post...

She has issued me with April and May herself... and I got March with her initial invitation.

Not only are the RAV's all different but apparently the advisers themselves too....
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