English Club in a Pub

I spend quite a bit of time in my local bar, perhaps too much some might say. It’s owned and mainly staffed by Croatians and features a motley crew of locals, all of whom have been very friendly and welcoming to the weird Irish chick who showed up in their midst one day. In fact, it’s where I learned a lot of my German as the men there seem very keen to talk to me – probably because I lower the average age by about 20 years and wear a dress sometimes.

If you look very closely, you'll see me in the background (in a straw hat from the Euro Shop)
If you look very closely, you’ll see me in the background (in a straw hat from the Euro Shop – yeah, I’m all class)

Over the course of several months, I noticed that the “Club Room” adjacent to the main bar was empty most evenings and, over a few glasses of wine, I came up with the idea to start an “English Club”. As there are so many interesting ways for foreigners to learn German in Berlin, I thought it might be nice to give the Germans a chance to learn English in a slightly different way.

I spoke to the owner and ran the idea past him. He was all for it and, most importantly, using the room would be free of charge as I’d (hopefully) be bringing in new customers. I spent a little while mulling over the Club and how it would work and put together a poster to publicise it in the bar. I was pretty pleased with it but sent it to Manfredas anyway to get a German’s opinion.

Manfredas: NEIN! Das geht gar nicht! Germans want details. They want to know WHY they’re going somewhere and what to expect when they get there. 

Me: Sigh. 

Back to the drawing board. I added every possible detail I could think of and, this time, it got the Manfredas seal of approval. I stuck the posters up in the bar, and posted a couple of notices on local websites. Manfredas had stolen some flipchart paper for me (Germans can be quite wild…) and I set off to the bar on that first Tuesday evening at around 5.30.

The idea behind English Club is that people can come and practise and improve their English in a relaxed environment, over a couple of beers, once a week at 6pm. I’d pick a different topic every week and we would discuss it together. I stuck the flipchart paper to the back of the door, took out and lined up the 20 pens that I’d bought, prepared my materials and waited.

Two people came. Success! The topic that I’d prepared – ordering in a restaurant – proved to be woefully inadequate. Like a lot of Germans, these guys were waaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond that level. I had no idea that the people who showed up would already be so good at English. Still, we chatted away merrily for the hour and all was well with the English Club.

The next week, I had a rethink and picked some more advanced materials. A few more people showed up and we had a grand old time.

I’ve since bought a whiteboard which I use to write up new vocabulary and do corrections at the end of the hour. The next day, I email any new words and the corrections to participants, or post them on the Club Facebook page.

I’ve been doing it for a few months now and a little while ago, a journalist from Kiez Report (a video blog on the local area) said that he’d like to do an interview about the English Club with me. My desire to boost English Club’s popularity won out over the horror of seeing myself on camera and I decided to do it. After all, the journalist’s name was Patrick – what could possibly go wrong?

I wasn’t sure what I’d been expecting but whatever it was, it didn’t involve tripods or professional lighting. Patrick said that he’d like to ask me the first question in German and then we could continue in English. ARGH!

Squinting into the light, I mumbled something that sounded vaguely like German, albeit with a strong Irish accent, and then we switched to English. It was actually…fun! Patrick stayed for the whole hour and interviewed one of the participants at the end who, thankfully, was very complimentary about me and my little English Club.

If you want a chuckle, you can watch the video here.

Be kind…

 

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50 thoughts on “English Club in a Pub”

    1. Ha ha! Thank you! It was quite embarrassing putting my German out there like that but people seem to understand what I was trying to say – it made perfect sense to me anyway 😉

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  1. Absolutely love it! I remember reading about it on your FB page. Once again, well done girlfriend! Your German was pretty neat too. I’m sure Manfredas would be impressed. But yeah, I know all about the “details” thing. About 10 odd years ago, I wanted to take a bunch of Germans to spend a weekend in London, have a great time, and meet some of my English friends. I thought, we’d see the sights, have a few beers, and a bit of a laugh. Not so!

    My half German-half American (sigh!) boss insisted that I write out exactly what we would be seeing, doing, etaing, drinking, talking to, plus addresses and telephone numbers. I did so, but in the end I also wrote a disclaimer that I wasn’t a tourist guide, and that students couldn’t call me before 09:00 and after 22:00. As if that stopped anyone….!

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  2. Loved the video! I could understand … “Linda O’Grady” … “Linda” … “Linda” … 😉 My husband watched it too. Very impressed with how you spoke German, with such confidence and ease (how many glasses of wine had you had by then???). I hope you get more students. It looks like a lot of fun and (obviously) a great idea 🙂

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  3. Way to go, Linda- this is awesome! 😀

    The other day I was trying to sell a learn’n’drink idea to a friend who teaches on Skype. Her students are mainly from Japan and Ukraine: shots + speaking? I thought it would be fantastic, haha 😉

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  4. Hey, you are not only a blog celebrity, but now you are a video celebrity. Really nice clip. And a great idea, kudos to you for going through with that idea.
    BTW, I thought your German at the beginning of the clip was actually really good! Du stellst dein Licht immer unter den Scheffel…

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    1. Thank you! It’s been pretty slow going but I’m hoping it gains a little momentum after this! Having a regular group of 8-10 would be perfect 🙂 And thank you for the compliment on my German – I was pretty nervous about it! 🙂

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  5. It’s a great idea, had a wee chuckle and was picturing ‘Linda Language Clubs’ springing up like mushrooms all over… ‘cus naturally we all become more fluent in another language after a glass (or two or three) of beer/wine/whisky. 🙂

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    1. I stick to tea before it but hit the wine afterwards 😉 I’d be happy to get regular attendance at this one before starting a chain of them! A beginners’ group might be an idea for the future though!

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  6. brilliant. maybe over the years? there will evolve a kind of discussion stammtisch … similar to the DAI in tuebingen. i’d join anytime … though stuttgart is bit out of the way, isn’t it. congrats. uschi reber

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    1. Aw, thank you! I do believe in the idea – it’s just a matter of getting people to show up haha! It’s a really nice atmosphere though and people seem to enjoy it once they’re there 🙂

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  7. This is so great! I’d love to practice speaking a foreign language over some adult beverages (though that might end poorly after too many)! Got to be a great way to make some friends!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is! I’ve already met some lovely people! And got some other work out of it too 🙂 Yes, the adult beverages – that’s part of the reason I keep the sessions to one hour – only so much people can drink in that time haha!

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    1. Ha ha! Well, there was a lot of ummming in there – and it still wasn’t 100%! But people understand me – that’s the main thing! And if I’m willing to embarrass myself in German, maybe more people will come along and do it in English 😉

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    1. Ha, I’m not sure! I’ve had messages from several people who’ve seen the video and want to know more about it – should be at least another 4 or 5 people I guess! It’s great that people like the idea – and the video! First time I’ve done anything like that!

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Ha! We’ll see! I might start a beginners’ group another evening if I think there’s interest. The people who come to this one are already advanced – and very impressive! Great way to meet people as well 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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