image: esch/uelzecht

I’m happy to say I passed my Luxembourg Civics Exam yesterday. This is the first formal step towards my goal of acquiring Luxembourg citizenship.

I attended a civics course at the end of last year. It was in Luxembourgish—at the time, I wasn’t as good at that as I’d hoped. Indeed, I’d deliberately chosen the course to improve my comprehension (which worked). But I’d been shocked to be told I wasn’t allowed to take notes: “no electronic devices allowed”. There were no course handouts, except for some tourist brochures. I had nothing to fall back on for revision for the exam. I depended on my memory of what I’d been unable to understand.

Fortunately, the exam required, not detailed knowledge of the country’s history, but a general understanding of how democratic societies work, some awareness of local names and places, and general knowledge of current events. I’m not allowed to repeat the questions, for obvious reasons, but they cover the kind of things that people would know if they’d taken an interest in the country—which I guess is the idea.

I was very surprised to get 20 out of 20. I aced a test I winged: I’m happy with that!

My next challenge is a much bigger: the Luxembourgish language exam. It has two parts, conversation and comprehension. Judging from the mock test, I should pass conversation. I will, though, have problems with comprehension. First of all, my vocabulary needs a lot of work. Secondly, though, is something beyond my control: the recording is dire—the narrator ate the microphone. I can’t tell whether the rumbles are words or reflux. It’s a typical dismal quality recording produced for language education. Come on, INL, this is easy to fix: basic mastering tools have been available on home computers since 1994, for free since 2000—use them.

It’s clear I have a lot of work to do for this next exam, but, really, so do the examiners.