Why a German tutor?
Imagine you would like to learn German at your own pace with the guidance from a real person to help you understand the German language.
Chances are you choose to learn with a German tutor. With only the two of you involved, you can keep times and locations flexible. But where do you go with your private German tutor in Melbourne?
Quiet or busy, library or café?
If you don’t want to have the lessons at your own or your tutors place, I recommend using the infrastructure of a library or a quiet café.
Busy cafés are not too bad either. Depending on your skill level, the busy environment should even be your first choice when it’s all about just having a chat. No big grammar explanations, no exercises that you need to work your way through. Just for having a chat in German. You can involve your surroundings easily to keep the conversation going as long as it is quiet enough.
Sometimes less busy is better
When you get distracted quickly, you and your tutor should pick a location that is less active or at least gives you a bit of room to work in. You don’t want to sit at your neighbours table and be part of their conversation when concentrating on the right adjective endings. In this instance you probably want to choose a less distracting atmosphere that helps you concentrate.
My favourite places in Melbourne to learn German
I have tried out various locations in and around Melbourne and I would love to share the places with you that I like the most. I am sure there are more around. I have listed the locations that I have been to myself and find suitable for tutoring. Let us know in the comments, if you feel another café should be mentioned here too.
1. State Library of Victoria on Swanston Street
The good old State Library of Victoria, located in the middle of the CBD on Swanston Street, is for sure a very impressive location. It was opened in 1856 with a collection of 3,500 books. It has several huge and impressive reading rooms, a stylish café on the north side named after the first librarian Mr. Tulk, a grassy front yard and two very big chess boards in front of the main entrance.
Just sitting outside in the front of the State Library gives you the feeling of being part of something big and meaningful. That is how Goethe must have felt, writing all those fancy stories. Ah, hang on, maybe it is more what Beethoven experienced, knowing there will be no other genius like him around ever again.
Going inside you will find yourself in a big and spacious foyer where you can sit at desks with your tutor. There you don’t need to worry about speaking or being too noisy, because the study rooms are in a different section of the building.
It is always very busy in that foyer and sometimes it can be a bit tricky to find a table. If you don’t like too many people around, it might not be the best location for you. There are no private rooms available either (at least that is what I was told). If it is raining outside everyone that usually chills out outside is likely to go seek shelter inside. Usually there will still be enough spots available to speak German.
Pros and Cons of the State Library
Pros: easily accessible, lots of desks available, stunning building
Cons: can be very noisy and busy, sometimes it’s not easy to get a free table, no private rooms available
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 10am-9pm, Friday to Sunday 10am-6pm
Address: 328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
2. City Library on Flinders Lane, CBD
There is another library in the Melbourne CBD that is a very nice spot for German lessons. It is the City Library on Flinders lane. Right in the middle of the CBD, next to the famous Degraves Street and Centre place, the public lending library was established in 2004 by the City of Melbourne. You will find more of its branches in East Melbourne, North Melbourne, Southbank and Docklands.
The library on Flinders Lane has tables available spread across the library. You can chat along everywhere within the library, but not in the designated quiet rooms. I love the tables upstairs on the balcony, where they also display art of local artists and where you will find a piano that is played sometimes.
The City Library has become my favourite location when I need it quiet but also want to include surroundings to speak and to practice certain topics and vocabulary. They have air conditioning in summer and it’s always the right temperature in winter. There is also private rooms available that you can book for a small fee.
Pros and Cons of the City Library
Pros: easily accessible via public transport, desks available, not too busy
Cons: avoid events, mostly held on the balcony on the first floor inside
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 12am to 5pm
Address: 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
3. 1000 Pound bend
A little bit of a walk up on Elizabeth Street, you can learn German in a former motorbike repair garage. The 1000 Pound Bend was founded in 2009 and is a comfy and stylish location. The prices are affordable and most of the time it is not too noisy during the day.
The 1000 Pound Bend café/bar is the right size, you won’t feel claustrophobic at all and there is still something going on around you that can easily be included into the lesson if you like. As it is so spacious, it is easy to block out everything else completely too. They provide couches as well as tables where you can spread your books out.
Pros and Cons of 1000 Pound Bend
Pros: Couches as well as tables, spacious, most of the time not too busy
Cons: a little bit of a walk from the other places, can sometimes be a bit noisy
Opening Hours: Monday to Wednesday 8am – 11pm, Thursday and Friday 8am – 1am, Saturday 10am – 1am, Sunday 10am – 11pm
Address: 361 Lt Londsdale Street, Melbourne, Vic, 3000
4. Journal Canteen on Flinders Lane
The Journal Canteen is also a perfect and quiet location in the middle of the city. It is in the same building as the City Library. I am not talking about the Journal Café which is that busy café downstairs opposite the library. I am talking about the restaurant upstairs. Some might know it under the name of “Rosa’s kitchen” from back in the day.
To get there, you just walk up those few stairs in that area between the Journal café on one side and the library and the elevators on the other side. They do delicious cooked breakfast and you can just order coffees too. During the week the restaurant (unlike the café) is open in the mornings and on Thursdays and Fridays for dinner as well. It is usually very busy at lunch time.
Pros and Cons of the Journal Canteen
Pros: big tables, usually quiet in the mornings, air con, nice atmosphere
Cons: can be tricky to find, busy at lunch time
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 2pm, Thursday and Friday also 6pm-10pm
Online: www.journalcafe.com.au (website of the Journal Café downstairs, same owner)
Let me know what you think about the venues described in the post. What are your favourite spots to go to when learning another language? Let us know in the comments.