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I'm going to study in Germany (speaking English / money transfers)

Kaworu 2 | 3
23 Aug 2013  #1
Hi guys! I am new here. I will be soon studying in Germany. Could some Polonia members in Germany answer my questions, please?

1. How many people in Germany speak English? Will I be able to comunicate with people? (My studies course is taught fully in English, I do not know German yet).

2. How about money transfer between Germany and Poland? I know that if Poland would be in Eurozone, the transfers would be nice and smooth, but since we have PLN I am a little confused. Would somebody advice me the best kind of bank account to receiving money from Poland?
DominicB - | 2,662
23 Aug 2013  #2
How many people in Germany speak English? Will I be able to comunicate with people?

In the West, most people under 50 can at least carry on a basic conversation in English, and practically everybody under 30 can. By far most people in the academic community speak English well, many very well. They might be a bit behind in the East, but you won't have major problems communicating.

I visited Drezno a few years ago with a Polish student who didn't speak German. He had no problems communicating even on his own. Actually, I was a bit surprised how many people could speak English.

For orientation, I studied in West Germany thirty years ago, and now live in Poland. As far as knowledge of English is concerned, Germany thirty years ago was far ahead of where Poland is now.
Wulkan - | 3,251
24 Aug 2013  #3
In the West, most people under 50 can at least carry on a basic conversation in English, and practically everybody under 30 can.

this is not truth, even if you defined what the West is.
pierogi2000 4 | 229
24 Aug 2013  #4
My experience is Germans are the best Non-English speaking speakers. If you know what I mean.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
24 Aug 2013  #5
My simple advice??


Pierogi, if English isn't your native tongue, how then in G-d's name can you adequately judge the English-speaking abilities of most Germans?? If you are a native English speaker (and an educated one at that!), how can you sit/stand/lie there and state flat out that Germans are "the best non-English speaking speakers..."???

Either you're smokin' somethin' other than Salem Lights, or you're delusional, or you simply hear what you wish to hear:-)

My experience with the young German when I was studying briefly in Germany years ago, dispelled any illusions I might have entertained regarding the English abilities of Germans across the board. Had I not known German, how would I have know what the heck "My colleague means you're on the woodway." means?!

Luckily, I was able to "translate" his broken English into correct, understandable to a non-German speaker, and yes, communicative, EnglishLOL

Such "Germanlish" I heard multiplied by hundreds of times throughout my short, if nonetheless most pleasant, stay in Hannover, said, I might add, by dozens of Germans of all ages who often plain REFUSED to speak to me in German^^
OP Kaworu 2 | 3
25 Aug 2013  #6
Włodzimierz, I will learn German, of course (the uni has good facility of foreign languages) but I will not learn it during one month, right? Languages demands time and commitment - at least one year of hard work if not three.

Any advice on bank account & fast, cheap money transfer between PLN and EURO accounts?
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
25 Aug 2013  #7
Thank heaven you've come to your senses and decided to attempt learning the language! You'll never regret this decision, believe me:-) In the meantime though, you might also want to polish up your English (no pun intendedLOL) Be wary of well-meaning Germans willing to speak English with you instead of German as often their English is not much better than yours, no offense meant ^^

"Cheap" in the sense of online language courses I'd avoid like the plague, to be quite frank. Often, they bilk one for their money and don't deliver. The one exception might be bookbox on Youtube. I'm learning Italian and I can confirm that the immersion method with solely Italian native speakers seems to be working.

Should you like some language/cultural tips for free, my e-mail address is: marekzgerson at yahoo

Mówię po polsku też, tylko nie jak język ojczystowy.
Wulkan - | 3,251
26 Aug 2013  #8
My experience is Germans are the best Non-English speaking speakers. If you know what I mean.

Just because they speak better English than you doesn't mean they are any good, it doesn't seem to be very hard :-)

and the best non-native English speakers are Swedish
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
26 Aug 2013  #9
RIGHT ON, WULKAN! Just because the Germans speak English, doesn't necessarily mean that they're any good at it. You took the words out of my mouth.

Furthermore, to speak English at a pablum-like, dumbed-down, vulgarly simplified touristic level so that what comes out will sound like illiterate 'Hindlish" or some related Creole, then yes, you're absolutely correct that it doesn't seem to be very hard:-)

It's a lot tougher to sound like an illiterate in either German or Polish because as we know, the grammatic arsenal needed to make oneself understood even on the most primitive, accepted level is many times more demanding for foreigners than English, 100% true!

To sound like an educated, cultivated English native speaker with a textured and pleasing pronunciation is next to impossible, except maybe for the exceptionallly talented bilingual. Most foreigners don't even try. The lingua franca of the ancient Western World was Latin,perhaps Sanskrit, of the Eastern World, Chinese, of the present era English, for the new millenium and beyond??? It's anybody's guess. One thing for near certain is that it will be some multilated patois of Worldlish(:-

Apropos the Swedish, my experience as a fluent Swedish speaker is that far too many think their English is better than it actually is.
TheOther 5 | 3,643
27 Aug 2013  #10
What makes you think that foreigners have to be on the level of a native speaker when they communicate with you English? The Anglos are the ones who are too lazy and arrogant to learn a second language, not the others.

dozens of Germans of all ages who often plain REFUSED to speak to me in German

Maybe your German wasn't up to par... ;)
p3undone 8 | 1,135
27 Aug 2013  #11
TheOther,why does it have to be arrogance?If I were going to live in Germany,then I would learn the language.
TheOther 5 | 3,643
27 Aug 2013  #12
Many expats don't bother because they only hang out in their own little expat circles and expect the locals to speak English instead. That's what I call arrogance. Even more so if you think about the fact that most Europeans speak at least one foreign language; often times two or three. No Pole, French or German would automatically expect anyone to speak their language while traveling outside their own countries. Only Anglos do that. Yes, English is the lingua franca at the moment, but that doesn't mean that you can sit on your high horse and proclaim that a foreigner is not worth communicating with you in English because (s)he is not on a native level, like Wlodzimierz has done several times already.
4 eigner 2 | 831
27 Aug 2013  #13
That's what I call arrogance.

comfort rather than arrogance but I agree, it's smart to learn as many languages as possible (if only to show some respect to your host nation), .
TheOther 5 | 3,643
27 Aug 2013  #14
comfort rather than arrogance

Yeah, 'arrogance' might be the wrong word. Let's call it laziness instead.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
27 Aug 2013  #15
More likely than not, THEIR English wasn't up to par, TheOther!!

So by your logic, "on the woodway" (auf dem Holzweg), "my colleague means" (Mein Kollege meint..) rather than "on the wrong track" and "my buddy thinks" is acceptable English? Certainly my German is better than their English would ever be. Why, I tried to correct their English through gentle corrective "recast", but it didn't even phase their thick skulls.
TheOther 5 | 3,643
27 Aug 2013  #16
You've met a handful of Germans with a questionable command of English, that's all. My experience in Germany was completely different. Let's not make the mistake to generalize, that's all I'm saying, and don't look down on foreigners who are not 100% fluent in English. They are still much better than many (if not most) Anglos who are simply unwilling or too lazy to learn another language.
27 Aug 2013  #17
get yourself a prepaid mastercard upload from poland withdraw and spend in germant much cheaper than internation transfers or using a foreign card and also good exchange rates i use it to access money from uk banks in poland
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
27 Aug 2013  #18
What a silly way to do things.

The easiest, most sensible way - open up a EUR account in Poland, withdraw cash from the bank in PLN, change at a kantor into EUR, deposit cash in the account in EUR, transfer in EUR via SEPA to Germany. Voila.
27 Aug 2013  #19
works for me as i dont need to be in the uk to withdraw cash go to the exchange then pay it back in every time i need some money or get family to run around exchanging cash etc my way its all done online its instant easy and cheap I transfer money almost daily as my online trading is in the uk and its by far the easiest way to get the money over here

if your in poland to withdraw and exchange the cash why bother with the bank take it in cash
OP Kaworu 2 | 3
27 Aug 2013  #20
Sorry, I completely do not understand all this financial operations you adviced me, Delphian 0_o It seems really complicated. My mother told me that my account for young people is good & free also outside Poland, but tomorrow (or next week - I will get tomorrow an operation of my wisdom teeth :() I will go to my bank and ask them personally.

Włodzimierz: I believe that "my colleague means" is acceptable, even if my buddy thinks would be more straightforward ;-) And please, do not worry about my English, I scored 6.5 IELTS with 8 out of 9 in reading, it should suffice ;-)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
28 Aug 2013  #21
Who's worried, Kaworu?

As the hiring director at a language school for which I once applied as an ESL- instructor remarked to a foreign-born English teacher from Hungary: "Ahh, don't worry about your lousy grammar, lacking vocabulary and thick accent. The students won't even know the difference. And if they do, they won't care! They're in New York to experience English, not for serious training."

DeborahR - | 2
18 Oct 2013  #22

Most people do speak English, some fluently, some only capable of basic conversation. Some older people especially in East Germany might not be able to speak English, 'cause they learned Russian in school.

But generally, you won't need any German when travelling through Germany. It is always advisable to know some common phrases like hello, goodbye, thanks etc., when travelling to any foreign country, though. That's just polite.

If you are going to transfer moneys you can use services like: MoneyGram or WesternUnion, easy to send money with minutes.

And If you are going to start studying in Germany, I can give you assistance in whatever you want. I am currently international student here in Germany and I can easily help you out with all the question about studying here, at this time I would suggest you : very detailed guide about Germany, or you can check this one too :

Ask me whatever you want for Germany, I would happy to answer to you!
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
19 Oct 2013  #23

Although I've only been to the airport in Oslo, but spent considerable time in Denmark, I nonetheless found (as I suspected long before I'd left the States) that it was exceedingly important to know the local lingo in order to have any sort of half-way meaningful encounter with a local!

As a young man at the time travelling through Scandinavia and armed with fluent Danish, passible Swedish and a reading knowledge of Bokmaal, if nothing more, it made my encounters with native speakers, particularly female, ever so much more rewarding. They didn't assume "Oh, geez! Here's just another Homer-Simpson-type guy trying to pick me up!"

In Germany, I found a fluent knowledge of German a must! Germans, unlike Poles or Scandinavians I've found, presume that if someone says "they're fluent in German", then, they are FLUENT in the language and not merely exaggerating. Pity such thinking doesn't as often apply to EnglishLOL
Monitor 14 | 1,821
21 Oct 2013  #24
If you are going to transfer moneys you can use services like: MoneyGram or WesternUnion, easy to send money with minutes.

That's great idea :D This services are for people from third world countries. They're so expensive that one should use only when there is no other option. And there are many options: PayPal is free for transferring between 2 accounts. SEPA money transfer between German and Polish bank is free or costs 5zł depending on bank.

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