What if I told you that you could learn German in 2017 with just one podcast?
That for every €500 German course, €100 exercise book and €25 lesson there is just one app that teaches you everything right from your phone, for a third of the cost.
You’d probably think I was lying or that I’d drunk too much Kolsch last weekend.
But the truth is that the app does exists. And, it’s my most recommended German learning tool.
It’s called GermanPod101 and it may just be the best German language podcast you’ll ever use.
In this article I’m going to talk you through the product and give you my honest review of what it’s like and why you should start using it.
What Are The Benefits Of Learning With A Podcast?
Podcasts are like having a real teacher sat in front of you, only better.
You can take lessons on your schedule. Choose the topics that you want to learn. Improve the important skill of listening, and learn about a culture. All from one app on your phone.
So whether you’re sat in a car, in the bath (I did a lot of lessons here) or sat on a plane you’re able to dive right into some German language lessons.
I personally love the fact that I’m able to drop in and out and choose my lessons around my busy schedule. Between moving to Germany, running this site, being a freelance writer and playing Rugby, I don’t have a lot of time to sit down with a tutor or attend a six week class.
Plus GermanPod101 costs less for 12 months and 858 total lessons than a six week course at two hours per week costs.
I’m able to take lessons when I find the time, and review important information that I struggle with, like those that cropped up in my Month Without English.
Plus, as I’ll explain in the next section, listening is key for learning German. And the exposure you get in this podcast is as close as you’ll get to real life interactions.
So to recap the main benefits you can:
- Learn on your schedule from anywhere
- Focus on the topics you want (or need) to learn
- Save €100’s of Euros on language courses
- Improve one of the key aspects of
Can You Become Fluent Using GermanPod101?
Yes. How do I know?
Because I did it.
I used a lot of tools to help me get to B2 level fluency – you can read about them in this eBook – but I didn’t use any of them anywhere near as much as I used GermanPod101.
Listening is one of the hardest parts of German learning.
You can read by picking out the key words; you can speak just a handful of words and bad grammar. But hearing is something you’re unable to control. And once you’re able to understand what people are saying to you, everything else clicks into place.
With the lessons here you’re exposed to German Grammar and vocabulary in a way that’s easy to digest and understand. And with the accompanying PDFs, review tracks and line-by-line audio, you’re set up for success.
Partly because the lessons guide you along the European Language Framework and give you specific lessons for each step between beginner German and the C1 level.
What Are The Lessons Like?
Your teachers are Judith, a German native, and Chuck, an American expat. They’ll take you across the main bulk of the 575+ plus lessons that come with your membership.
In fact, after finishing with Benny Lewis’s, Language Hacking German, this has been my most valuable tool. More so than any lessons I ever paid for.
Each Podcast follows a set structure of:
- Introduction: The usual
- German Conversation: Anywhere from 30 seconds to 6 minutes of conversation for you to follow along with. Its played once normally, then read slowly and then with an English translation
- Conversation Breakdown and Vocabulary: What you’ve heard and why you’ve heard it
- Cultural Points: You learn about Germany and some of the weird German cultural differences.
- Grammar Lesson: Talking you through the main grammar point of the lesson, such as how to use ‘Damit’ or understand verb conjugations.
- Repeat of the Conversation: Which always sounds a lot clearer the second time round, because you now understand what’s being said.
The lessons aren’t too heavy and are great at staying on one subject, instead of jumping around and trying to get you to learn too much at once.
Sometimes it gets a little cheesy; Chuck talks a lot about beer and is a bit cliche at times. But it makes for a nice break in the midst of all the grammatical knowledge.
You can also finish each lesson with a review track, where they’ll give you an engaging piece of audio for you to practice and cement what you’ve learned.
Finally, every lesson comes with a complete PDF transcription and lesson notes that go to an even deeper level of what you’ve just learned. You can print them off, follow along and treat them as ‘homework’ that you’d get from a real teacher.
I have spent time with tutors, and in classrooms, that couldn’t offer this level of depth for anywhere near the same price.
Listening To German Becomes So Much Easier
When people speak German it can all sound like one big clump of noise. It’s hard to make out where one word ends, another one begins and what the different sounds are like.
But by learning through listening you’re able to pick out words in a more realistic environment to how you’d find in a conversation. Making the crossover to every day life much smoother than just reading it in a text book.
They also included a really simple, but clever, tool called Line-by-Line audio. Lets say you can understand most of a conversation, but there’s one section that sounds really garbled or that you can’t quite make out. This tool allows you to isolate that sentence and repeat it over and over until it becomes clear.
When I first started learning this was really helpful in letting find that much needed gap in words, or learn what the important information to pick out is, and applying that skill to a conversation.
Learn German…In Your Pocket
The best part about GermanPod101 is that you’re able to use their app on your phone. Meaning no matter where you are in the world, or what you’re doing, you can take a quick German lesson.
You can either stream lessons using WiFi and phone data, or you can download them to your phone and listen to them without using the internet. When I was flying to an from Germany before moving here, I’d regularly listen to an hours worth of them podcasts and take notes (and steal pens from the flight attendants).
Even now I walk around with 20 to 25 podcasts (120 minutes) of lessons on my phone so I can listen on the bus or if I go for a walk in the Stadtwald.
This level of flexibility means that you never have an excuse not to learn. If you have just 10 minutes a day where you’re on the bus, sat in the car or doing nothing, you can flick your phone on and do it.
I really never use the desktop app, my whole German learning runs through this app.
But, What Are The Drawbacks?
There are an awful lot of pros here. So, I feel I should mention some of the cons, too.
The first major con is that they send an awful lot of emails. They’re constantly sending you a lot of emails about the word of the day or the latest update, even if you’re a subscriber.
They also use English a lot to explain concepts, so the total amount of time you hear German is limited to the sample conversations, so it’s not a complete immersion. However I’m yet to find a German language podcast that is all in German.
Also the jump from Premium to Premium+ Membership just doesn’t justify the extra price for me. You pay a lot more to obtain a few extra benefits you could get by asking questions on Quora or picking up one lesson over on iTalki.
What Does It Cost?
GermanPod101 comes in at $10 per month for the Premium package, which is all you’ll really need to get the most from this tool.
For that price you’ll get access to all the learning materials, 850+ total lessons and materials. Meaning for every aspect of your German learning you’ve got a resource right at the touch of a button.
That’s the package that I’m using right now:
You won’t need to jump up to the plus account unless you really want the extras the come with it. But I found in the process of learning I never really needed them.
You also get a 60 day, no risk, money back guarantee. Meaning you’re able to try the product out for two months, take everything you need from it, and return it without losing a penny.
Meaning you really don’t have a reason not to try the product out!
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
If you’re looking to learn German in 2017, this is the most forward thinking way of doing it.
You’ll have the flexibility of learning on your own time, at your own pace, without investing lots of money into courses or grammar materials. All without losing any of the quality that you’d get from having a teacher sat in front of you.
You’d honestly be lucky if you could find a teacher for $10 hours an hour, never mind $10 a month!
So if you want to learn German quickly, effectively and cheaply, then I don’t see any reason to not take them up on their 60 day money back guarantee today!
Click below to get access:
Of course, you are free to not sign up and keep spending lots of money on course materials that don’t offer a refund if theyre not what you expected. The choice is yours!