Fun Ways To Maintain Your German

Worried about taking a break from studying German? Here are lots of ways to keep your skills sharp! Viel Spaß!

German Links/Tips Fun ways to use your German outside of class

Follow Kalamazoo College German on Facebook and on Instagram (@kzoogerman) for more ideas!

Keeping up with your German should be fun! Find something you like to do, and do it in German! This might be reading comics, listening to soccer podcasts, cooking or baking, doing yoga, discovering new bands, watching dramatic shows…whatever you like! The list below includes a mix of authentic resources (created for German speakers) and materials created for German language learners.


  • Netflix and Amazon Prime have a growing collection of German-language films and series. (Check out “Kleo,” Im Westen nichts Neues or “Dark” on Netflix and “You are Wanted” on Amazon).  Even if you watch films with English subtitles, as long as you’re listening to the German while reading, you are helping your language skills and being exposed to new and familiar vocabulary and grammatical structures. These films are always changing, but you’re sure to find something you like! (Another tip: for many popular American shows on Netflix you can click on the bottom right to change the language to German!)
  • Kanopy – Our campus subscribes to this video streaming platform with many German films (log in through library website)
  • Web series like DRUCK on YouTube – “Liebe, Freundschaft und die eigene Identität – das ist DRUCK. Deine Serie – in Echtzeit, immer dann, wenn etwas passiert.” (multiple episodes available)
  • Stream German TV:  Want to put on German TV while you’re having breakfast? For a live stream of channels like ARD, ZDF, VOX, RBB, arte, and more, check out Schoener-Fernsehen.
  • Quiz shows like “Wer weiß denn sowas?” (ARD) – entertaining and easy to follow!
  • Met Opera On Demand – Another streaming service our Kalamazoo Library subscribes to!
  • Keep up on the news: The standard is the nightly Tagesschau at 20 Uhr. This 20 minute recap will get you caught up on world events (with German captions). If you feel like Deutschlandfunk (radio) or Tagesschau (nightly news) are just a bit too fast for you, check out the podcast Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten from Deutsche Welle, available (free!) on iTunes or nachrichtenleicht (easy news for adults).  If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can try some of the thematic Deutsche Welle podcasts (just search for Deutsche Welle on iTunes).  They are also free, and a great way to combine whatever you’re interested in (politics, science, music, literature, etc.) with German!  
  • One student’s inspiring story of learning German in a year:  The Lernen to Talk Show. Mickey Mangan made a video every week of his year in Germany, added subtitles, and you can watch how he progresses! There are some really amusing episodes that really show what it’s like to be learning a language abroad! 
  • EasyGerman videos on YouTube: Interviews with people in the streets. If you’re looking for a funny episode, check out the ones at Karneval in Köln. 
  • DW Film Nicos Weg – created for German learners.
  • Learn German with the “Bandtagebuch” from EINSHOCH6 (Deutsche Welle)
  • DW’s Telenovela “Jojo sucht das Glück” is relatively simple German, a short “soap opera” of sorts about a Brazilian woman who moves to Germany. “Sie hat sich verliebt: in jemanden, den sie noch nie gesehen hat. Wird sie ihn treffen?”
  • Extr@, also a telenovela of sorts about Sam, an American who moves to Germany, and his interactions with several roommates in a Berlin WG.  Has easy German and German subtitles! Start with Episode 1 on YouTube
  • The German Department at U of Michigan also has a huge list of ways to watch German online, check out this list here
  • Watch a telenovela like Rote Rosen – set in Lüneburg! Episodes are available to stream for free.
  • Queerblick – a Media project for LGBT* youth. This YouTube channel includes short films made by young people in Germany
  • German public television: Did you know you can watch German TV online for free?



  • Sign up for the Goethe Institut OnLeihe App and you can check out audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, and e-Books for free! (You have to make an account, but it’s free!)
  • Looking for book recommendations? [Try your local library or MelCat to get books for free, or order through Blackwells for good prices on German-langauge books.] Here are some tips for language learners:
    • Graphic novels: Olivia Vieweg’s Schwere See, mein Herz (a coming-of-age story set in northern Germany), or Mawil’s Kinderland (story of a young boy who plays ping pong in East Germany), read one version of how Berlin’s Currywurst may have been invented Die Entdeckung der Currywurst (Isabel Kreitz/Uwe Timm), or a historical novel set in 1930s Irmina by Barbara Yelin. Students have also enjoyed comics by Reinhard Kleist such as Der Boxer or Traum von Olympia.
    • Fantasy novels by Cornelia Funke (Tintenherz) or Michael Ende (Momo); or the fantasy book series Liebe geht durch alle Zeiten by Kerstin Gier; RAVNA – Tod in der Arktis by Elisabeth Hermann
    • Classic books of children’s literature: Janosch, Oh wie schön ist Panama, or Otfried Preußler’s Krabat.
    • 21st century youth literature classics: Wolfgang Herrendorf, Tschick , Klaus Kordon, Krokodil im Nacken (German-German history), Ursula Poznanski, Erebos (thriller) or Saeculum, books by Kirsten Boie
    • Plays: we recommend “Die Physiker” by Dürrenmatt, or Thomas Bernhard (Heldenplatz), or Ferdinand von Shirach (Terror, Gott, Er sagt, sie sagt)
    • Discover a new author by checking out these German authors who have won awards for their lifelong work in children’s/youth literature: Cornelia Funke, Gudrun Pausewang, Klaus Kordon, Andreas Steinhöfel, Mirjam Pressler
    • Discover an award-winning book by looking at the winners of the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (some books appear in translation)
    • Check out the books recommended with the “Kimi Siegel” – for diversity in German youth literature – such as Rafik Schami, Sami und der Wunsch nach Freiheit, Anne Freytag, Den Mund voll ungesagter Dinge
      Affordable books from Germany can often be purchased through book import services such as Blackwell’s, or try your local library or lending service such as MelCat!
  • Try reading part (or all) of a German translation of something you’ve already read in English. Doing so helps with vocabulary acquisition since you already know the story. You can order German copies of various books from Amazon or Blackwells and can find most anything, from Twilight (auf Deutsch: Bis(s) zum Morgengrauen) to Harry Potter (auf Deutsch: Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen) to more canonized literature.  Just do an author search and see what you can find!
  • Find a (free) German e-Book! Just search for “German” on Amazon kindle. Many classics are free, or you can get books like Harry Potter as well.  Check out the children’s book Grimms Deutsche Sagen. 
  • Want simpler texts?  Some students enjoy this series about Dino, an Italian learning German in Berlin: Café in BerlinCheck out book 1 of 8 here.  (Available as Kindle Book!)
  • Read children’s literature:  Check out this list of “Zehn deutsche Kinderbuch-Klassiker” and order one online. Some favorites are the author Janosch, and his Oh wie schön ist Panama
  • There are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of free e-books available on,, and “The German Professor” has a helpful list of how to download free e-books.
  • Deutsche Welle  –  DW is a radio station, but like NPR, they post a lot of stories online.  They have excellent resources for learners of German.  If you like their facebook page, called Learn German with, you can get all sorts of interesting things on your newsfeed, like question prompts, news stories, etc.  DW’s German XXL page also offers news articles with words you might not know highlighted and glossed in German, as well as lots of videos.
  • Logo! die Kindernachrichten – A news site for children with simplified language and images that help comprehension.
  • Other newspapers: Süddeutsche ZeitungFrankfurter AllgemeineDie ZEIT
  • Check out other periodicals for college-age students in Germany, both on their websites and on Facebook:
    • STERN – A German magazine, usually read by folks in their 20s and 30s.  Not really great if you’re looking for news, but it does contain some interesting cultural commentary.
    • NEON – Stern’s sister publication for college kids.  Lots of stuff about German youth culture in here
  • Rent German Children’s Books: – Do you have a child in your life? Or just want some easy, fun reading? Check out “KinderBooks” – a company based in NYC that rents German children’s books for a monthly fee.


  • Check out language learning communities in or near your town. Many cities have a German Stammtisch or conversation group. is a great place to start!
  • Talk to yourself or to your pets! (No one is listening but you!)
  • Online language learning communities like The Mixxer hook you up with a language buddy. You teach them English, they teach you German (or whatever language you want to learn) via Skype, e-mail, or another mode of communication.  
  • Start a Vlog and speak in German. Get inspired by the Lernen to Talk Show – a student who kept track of his own language process during his year abroad.
  • You can also play around with ChatGPT or other AI tools! Some of these social bots can chat with you via text or voice chat!


  • Keep a journal for 15 minutes each day and write as best you can about what’s on your mind – what you did today, what you might do if you won a million dollars, a description of your best friend, a description of your room, a creative story or poem – the more you write, the more comfortable writing will feel!
  • Find a pen pal from your class and promise to exchange texts, handwritten letters or e-mails every couple of weeks or every month.
  • For grammar inquiries & practice: Grimm Grammar
  • Get a penpal! Find someone in your class and promise to exchange letters every so often, or check out some websites such as Penpal World or Interpals. Writing with someone in Germany can be so much fun, and really improve your writing and reading.
  • Chat with a chatbot – in German! Check out Cleverbot


  • The Kalamazoo Library subscribes to Mango Languages
  • Duolingo is great for introductory students to learn new vocab and review past vocabulary.
  • Babbel is similar to Duolingo, but has more complex phrases and speech recognition to help with pronunciation 
  • Heiße Kartoffel from Goethe Institut – to review vocabulary
  • – Vocab game app
  • Deutschland.Kennen.Lernen. – App from Goethe Institut for learning about culture

Grammar Practice


 Viel Spaß!