Bavarian State Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts

Learning German

Learning German is Worth the Effort!

Learning a new language like German takes time, money and dedication. However, whether you are planning to stay in Germany after your graduation or to return to your home country, improving your language skills has many benefits.

In order to follow lectures and take part in seminars, a good knowledge of German is essential for most full-time degree courses in Germany. This is why universities generally ask for a language certificate before you can enrol. Exceptions may apply if you are a doctoral student or if you want to study a course that is taught in a different language from German. Please contact your university’s International Office for more information on the specific language requirements for your chosen degree.

Even if you do not need German for your university course, a sufficient command of German can be very helpful in everyday situations, whether you are shopping in the supermarket or searching for a flat. You will also find that it is much easier to meet new people and make friends if you speak the local language.

Last but not least, learning German can really help to improve your career prospects. This is because many successful international companies and institutions are based in Germany or have important business links here. If you can demonstrate fluency both in German and your mother tongue, you will be at a distinct advantage when applying for jobs – both in Germany and abroad.

If your knowledge of German is limited to “Guten Tag” and “Auf Wiedersehen” so far, do not worry! There are plenty of opportunities to improve your language skills while you are still in your home country, and once you have arrived in Bavaria.

Learning German in Your Home Country

When searching for language courses in your home country, check if there is a Goethe-Institute near you. These are cultural centres administrated by the German government that offer excellent German language courses. If you can't find a Goethe-Institute nearby, there is always the possibility to register for one of the online courses of the Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern (VHB). All of their Open vhb courses are free and you can attend them whenever you want and wherever you are. Registration at a university is not required. 

German consulates and embassies may also be able to offer advice on German language courses in your home country.

List of Goethe-Institutes and their partner institutions worldwide

Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern – OPEN vhb

Learning German in Bavaria

Many people say the best and fastest way to learn a language is to spend time in the country where it is spoken. So why not sign up for a language course in Germany?

If you have some spare time over the summer, you could take one of the intensive summer language courses at Bavarian universities. These courses usually run for several weeks, giving you the opportunity to get fully immersed in the language.

Summer courses are not just work and no play! Many universities organise cultural and recreational events for their language students as well. You will be surprised how many new words and phrases in German you will pick up simply by attending that barbecue or sightseeing trip!

Most universities also offer special German courses, both as a preparation before as well as during the semester. Check your university’s website for further information.

If you already live in Germany, it is also worth checking out what is on at your local Volkshochschulen. These are adult education centres, which often offer German language classes at very reasonable prices.

There are also a number of Goethe-Institutes and private language schools in Germany that offer excellent language courses. These programmes can be expensive, but are ideal to prepare you for language tests and university entry requirements. There is a great variety of courses on offer, so check which one is best for you and compare prices!

Alternatively, if you can afford to spend a bit more, one-to-one tutorials with a German teacher can be an efficient way to improve your language skills.

Once you are enrolled at a state university in Bavaria, you may also access free online German courses offered by the Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern (vhb), via CLASSIC vhb. Upon successful completion of these courses you will earn ECTS credits. Check with your study coordinator whether these credits may count towards your degree.

Learning German with a Tandem Partner

Alongside language classes, teaming up with a German tandem partner is also a great idea. Tandem partners are language students from different nationalities who meet to exchange their language skills. And tandem programmes are not only excellent for your German – you may find that they help you to make new friends as well!

Finding a tandem partner is easy. Many German universities offer opportunities to find language partners on their websites or notice boards. Alternatively, you could try the message board at your local Goethe Institute or search for tandem partners online.