My academic qualifications, my work as a teacher and my own experiences living and working abroad led quite naturally to the creation of this language service, GermanHelp.

Having studied German and Slavic Studies at Freiburg University before completing an MA in Germanic Linguistics and Russian at the Free University, Berlin, I gained a professional qualification in German as a Foreign Language from Humboldt University, Berlin. As a member of the Faculty for Slavic Languages at Humboldt University I researched multilingualism and language behaviour of Russian Germans in Siberia, with a particular focus on functions of discourse markers and code-switching in bilingual communication (PhD).
During my studies and after completing my Master’s degree, I taught German as a Foreign Language in various institutions for refugees and emigrants from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. At Humboldt University I taught Linguistics. After completing my PhD, I became a lecturer for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Poland, where I taught German (Linguistics and Writing). I went on to teach on academic writing to Polish students at Viadrina Universitiy in Frankfurt (Oder). Since 2008 I have worked principally as a freelance German tutor in Berlin.
Before going to university, I spent 18 months in Israel as a volunteer with Action Reconciliation Services for Peace (ASF). Then, during my degree, I was awarded stipends that enabled me to spend time studying in Russia (Leningrad). This also gave rise to several opportunities to teach German in Leningrad/St Petersburg. Between 2003 and 2007 I lived in Poland, working as a teacher in the German Language Department of Opole University.

Over three decades of learning and teaching I have witnessed, analysed, reflected on and guided the process of language learning – understanding, speaking and writing – as undertaken by many different students, from a variety of backgrounds.
I have also proofread, corrected and edited thousands of pages of German text, written by people whose command of the language has varied significantly.

Language tutoring and coaching for professionals

For some years now, I have been offering German lessons, mainly one-to-one language tutoring for professionals living in Berlin. Through my work, I have gained a thorough understanding of the linguistic and institutional challenges people can face when moving to Berlin.

Studying German at a language school – for example, taking an intensive course – is not always a practical option for professionals, and not necessarily the best solution: Some challenges are not best approached in a group situation or within the constraints of a school timetable. In addition, each individual’s linguistic resources, preferences, interests and learning strategies are different, something that not everybody who wants to learn realises.

Learning a language is an individual as well as a social enterprise; it requires time, patience and courage. Learning the language of the country you live in is a necessity if you want to feel completely comfortable in your new environment. A certain command of the language will broaden your horizons and open up a world of possibilities to you, while gaps in your knowledge or understanding can become stumbling blocks between you and your goals – as I know only too well from my own experience!

Consultation and personalised strategy

It is possible to live in Berlin without knowing much, or any, German. But it is a limitation that might give you an uncomfortable feeling of precariousness or transience. A lack of German can be a hindrance in your everyday life, but it also means you are missing out on potentially valuable cultural insights and a wealth of experiences. On the other hand, if you put your mind to learning German, overcoming the hurdles will be an incredibly rewarding and gratifying experience.

A “language check-up”, i.e. an analysis of your level and a consultation about your aims and preferred teaching methods, will help us to develop together a personalised strategy and plan the next steps in your German learning. My professional coaching service can be a valuable support to you as you take these steps.

My experience as a teacher, lecturer, linguist and tutor in Germany and abroad all comes into my GermanHelp language services: Support, Tutoring and Text – language support for anyone in Berlin who wants or needs competent language advice.