German Language Course
No matter where you live in the world, it's essential to have a grasp of the local language
That's even the case if you already speak English fluently. In Germany, this rule certainly applies, and very few people can settle there properly without learning at least intermediate German, even though the level on English in the bigger cities is high.
There are a number of reasons for this. Partly, it's simply because Germans don't automatically learn English, and many everyday activities require the local language. Germans also take pride in their language, and tend to look down on people who arrive and work, but don't take the trouble to learn it.
Then there are technical motivations to learn German. Many jobs and university courses rely on German terms to handle complex tasks or ideas, and sometimes there isn't an easy English equivalent. For instance, doctors and scientific researchers often need to learn both English and German to master their fields.
That's also why many universities make German language skills a condition for admission. So there are plenty of reasons to learn.
It is possible to acquire German language course visa in order to move to Germany for a short while for the sole purpose of learning German. Read more on our Visa page.
The level of an individual’s language skills in a foreign language is determined according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR levels). This framework, which is well-recognized in Germany, provides a standardized way of grading German proficiency, starting at A1 up to C2. Courses will start at one of these levels, depending on the learner’s previous experience which will often be judged by an onboarding or enrollment test.
How long does it take to speak fluent German?
How quickly you learn German depends on many factors. Some people simply pick up languages naturally, while others struggle. Some have more time outside of work to memorize words or practice conversations. And some can afford private tutors alongside language college courses.
In terms of reaching basic German standards, the process can be quite fast. For example, reaching B1 (intermediate) level is reckoned to take 8 weeks. But fluent German will take many months, or even years.
How much does it cost to learn German in Germany?
An average group class for learning German in Germany (at a private school) costs around €10 per hour. Fees for paid courses range from €790 per CEFR level.
How can I learn German in Germany for free?
Finding a language tandem/exchange partner can mean learning the language from a native speaker is free, and enrolling for a class at a nearby Volkshochschule (community college) can give learners access to very low-cost classes (but often in big groups!). A few of the best free apps for learning German can be found below.
Is the German language required to study in Germany?
Yes - for courses in Germany, definitely. Being accepted for a university course in Germany will often require students to prove their level of German as a prerequisite, and student visa applications can also depend on this.
The best-recognized certificate to prove that you have good enough language skills to study in German is the Test of German as a Foreign Language (TestDaF). Institutions such as the Goethe Institut offer preparatory courses for this exam, although exam guidelines and example papers can also be found online.
Can you move to Germany without knowing German?
Yes, however, our Learn German page provides some good reasons why learning German is highly beneficial. In short, although many German natives in the main cities will likely have a good level of English, many people in the smaller towns and those of the older generation will not. Navigating the German paperwork and setting yourself up in the country will be made much easier if you have a good grasp of the language – as will making friends and integrating.
What are the levels of German language?
When you come to choose a language course in Germany, you'll find that the options are divided into different levels. Here are the main levels that you'll probably want to attain:
- A1: What is taught in German A1 level? The lowest of the 6 levels, A1 provides a basic grounding in grammar and vocabulary, and is a prerequisite to work in occupations like childcare. Courses generally take 4-6 weeks.
- A2: Moving up the scale, A2 enables students to begin to express themselves with more complex sentences and vocabulary. Again, it's usually obtained over 4-6 week courses.
- B1: Much more grammar is included here, as well as extended discussions, often about current events. Generally divided into B1.1 and B1.2, which add up to 8 weeks of tuition.
- B2: How long does it take to learn German B2? At B2, students take 8 further weeks to learn the fundamentals of good written and spoken German. Concepts relating to politics, education, and work are introduced, and sentence structure becomes much more important. So in total, most students reach B2 within 14-16 weeks of starting a 1 year course.
- C1: Students study C1 over 8 more weeks, and receive a deeper understanding of how to read complex German sentences. With this certificate, reading Goethe should be within your grasp, so why not start to explore the wonders of German literature?
- C2: The highest certificate, C2 take longer to achieve, and is usually taught via one-on-one classes. It provides almost flawless German skills, and is the course of choice for professionals.