Matteo Zarantonello
Matteo Zarantonello

Matteo Zarantonello

“A language is not just a set of grammar rules… but rather something that must be experienced day by day.”

Like many others, becoming a teacher was not my primary aspiration, it happened by chance. As a non-native speaker myself, I had to learn German from scratch. At university I started helping my colleagues who were struggling with German and thus I discovered my passion for teaching. I’ve been teaching since 2011 and I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in interpreting because this is another field that fascinates me.

One experience in particular encouraged me to become a German teacher. A friend of mine at university had tried several times to pass her German exam. She didn’t have a good grammar foundation and wasn’t aware that a language is not just a set of grammar rules to be applied at the right time, but rather something that must be experienced day by day. I thought of an alternative method to help her and realized that I could turn this passion into a job. Needless to say, my friend passed the exam.

When teaching, I’m also learning from my students. Teaching a foreign language is never boring; it is an exchange between people from different cultural backgrounds. I want to make students feel confident; they must dare to speak German and make mistakes. We all make mistakes – even I! – but we learn from them. A language should not only be learned in books, but should be spoken with people, not only at university, but also with friends and in private life.

A special place in Vienna for me is the small Japanese garden in the 19th district (Setagaya Park). I discovered it by chance. I find it’s a place where I can relax. It is not a typical Austrian or Viennese spot, but then Vienna is an international city and every now and then it is nice to escape from everyday reality to a place that also reminds you of another country or culture.

A German phrase I like is: ‘es geht sich nicht aus’. It’s an expression that is applicable to many situations. It expresses the feasibility of something. Whether it’s a deadline at work or the third suitcase that no longer fits in the boot of the car – it just doesn’t quite work out.

If I could give German learners one piece of advice it would be this: be open-minded. Learning a language is not just doing your homework, but also looking for opportunities to speak and use the language outside the school. You never stop learning a language because it is constantly evolving. Is that a bad thing? No, not at all! It makes the adventure even more challenging. I also keep learning new things in German every day.

Are you ready to learn German in a way that you’ve never experienced before?

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