Improving your German
There are many reasons why you should learn German. And many easy and fun ways to improve your language skills.
When you're proficient in German, it's easier to organise your everyday life, make friends and find a part-time-job or work placement. And you also improve your chances of finding a job on the international job market in the future. Because after English, German is the most widely spoken language in Europe. So consider your stay in Germany as a unique opportunity, even if you're studying in an international programme and you get by well enough with English.
How can I improve my German?
Thanks to the internet, methods of learning a language have become increasingly diverse in the last few years. But learning German in the country is still the easiest way. We show you how.
Learning German "in passing"
When you're living in Germany, learning the language happens almost automatically. All you have to do is keep your eyes and ears open. It's best to live in student residences or shared accommodation with German flatmates. If you cook, eat and socialise together, you will learn colloquial German almost automatically. You can also practice what you hear when you watch television or go shopping. You soon learn new words and phrases.
German language exchange
Tandem language learning is a fun way of learning a language: this is when two partners who want to learn each other's native language get together. They meet regularly and take it in turns to practice each other's language. They decide which subjects to discuss. Or they go for walks, play cards or cycle together. Three language tandem partners describe their experiences.
How can I find a language tandem partner?
Ask at your university's language centre or the International Office if they can help you find you a tandem partner. International student organisations or students' councils also keep records of potential tandem partners. You can also check out university notice boards or advertise yourself: Seeking tandem partner! Under sprachtandem.net you can look for a language partner or place an ad yourself free of charge.
To find out how a language tandem works, watch the video "German for beginners"
German in a language course
If you'd prefer to learn German systematically in a group, a language course may be the right option for you.
The language centres at German universities offer language courses. These are often subject to a charge. Alongside courses during the semester, some universities offer classes in all levels during the lecture-free periods Summer and Winter Universities.
The database of the association "Fachverband für Deutsch als Fremdsprache" lists German courses at numerous institutions and language schools. Here, you can choose from a whole range of courses listed according to federal states and cities There are Goethe Institutes offering an extensive range of language courses in 13 German cities. The adult education centres "Volkshochschulen" based in most German towns also offer German courses.
If you want to be flexible, online services are an entertaining, helpful and alternative way of learning the language. Free online courses in all levels and many other services are offered by the foreign radio broadcasting service Deutsche Welle. In addition to traditional audio and reading texts as well as printable worksheets, numerous multimedia learning facilities are available: interactive exercises, videos, podcasts, but also news bulletins that are read out slowly. If you're a Facebook friend of Deutsche Welle, you will be sent daily bulletins introducing terms of speech and information about the country. You also have the opportunity to get in touch with other students of German or native speakers.
Learning the language is also fun with the online services of the Goethe Institute which include chats, forums, videos, learning adventures, interactive online assignments and lessons in the virtual world of Second Life.
It's easy to find partners who you can chat or skype with on the internet. This kind of eTandem learning partnership is offered by a service at the Ruhr-Uni Bochum.
Now you know how you can improve your German in Germany. If you want to prepare for your language exams to qualify for admission to higher education in your home country, read more under "Learning German".