There’s never been a better time to immerse in the language of Goethe, engineering, and economic endeavor
The German language has a centuries-long tradition of pumping out the Western world’s best literature, philosophy, art, music, and design. Where would the world be without the symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Schubert, or the mind-bending ideas of the Frankfurt School? From then until now, German engineering and scientific advancement are at the world’s cutting edge. Germany is the European Union’s (EU’s) economic powerhouse, and its economy is comparable to that of all the world’s Spanish-speaking countries combined. Germany’s success has been attracting immigrants from around the world, particularly Southern European countries and Turkey.
For language students, German opens doors. German boasts the most native speakers in the EU, and students can choose their adventures among countless unique destinations in the German-speaking world: postmodern Berlin, historic Vienna, charming Alpine villages, the Black Forest, Bavaria. With so many options, Language Magazine has compiled a list of some of the finest language institutions in Germany and Austria.
ALPADIA Language Schools
ALPADIA offers the chance to learn German language and culture in Germany’s capital or in the heart of the Black Forest, with adult year-round courses in Berlin and Freiburg. With over 25 years’ experience in teaching German, ALPADIA knows that language learning and culture are invariably linked. Offering language immersion in a stimulating and multicultural environment, the schools are located close to cultural highlights that are easily accessible by public transportation or by foot. Berlin offers fans of architecture a chance to be bewitched by the surprising mix of modern buildings and historical monuments. History buffs will revel in visiting the city’s countless museums. As for art lovers, they will be spoiled for choice in this cultural hotspot. Then, students enjoy some peace and quiet in Berlin’s many parks and green spaces, ideal to chilling out and practicing sports. Freiburg’s historical center offers bustling marketplaces and welcoming cafés, with over 400 kilometers of cycle lanes. Programs offer the perfect combination between lessons and activities, using a communicative style of teaching, and giving students the opportunity to practice their language skills while truly experiencing the local culture.
The Humboldt-Institut offers intensive programs for many target groups: from summer camps for children for grades 8–12 to special courses for university students to highly specialized language training for executives, there is a course for every need. This nonprofit organization for German as a foreign language has grown from just one school in 1977 to 15 course centers, including two year-round schools exclusively for young learners (ten to 17-year-olds) in Lindenberg and Bad Schussenried, two year-round schools for adults in Constance and Berlin, ten summer centers all over Germany, and a summer center in Vienna. All schools are residential, as the Humboldt-Institut believes in total immersion: the learning process takes place not only in the classroom but also during meals, leisure activities after class, and weekend excursions. This concept proves to be very successful in preparing international students for standardized exams like the TestDaF: a total beginner with no previous German skills can successfully complete this very demanding exam (a prerequisite for university admission in Germany) in as little as seven and a half months.
Berlitz Deutschland GmbH
Out of the more than 50 Berlitz Centers in Germany, two especially popular destinations are Berlin and Munich. Life in Berlin is vibrant: cafés, hotels, shops, museums, theaters — it’s a cosmopolitan city with international flair. The school is situated on the famous Kurfürstendamm in the heart of the city. In Munich, Bavaria’s metropolis, it’s the mix that makes the difference. Old meets new, past meets present and future, the modern blends harmoniously with the traditional. The school is located right in the city center on the lovely Marienplatz.
Founded in 1987, Cultura Wien has gained a reputation as one of Austria’s leading German language schools and offers programs to suit both adults and young learners. Whether students want to improve their German for university, to further their careers, or simply for their own personal development, the school has the right course, with customized language training for basic-, intermediate-, or advanced-level learners. Native-speaking teachers guide their students to help them perfect both the written and spoken aspects of the language. The most popular summer courses combine learning German language with a relaxed atmosphere. The extensive cultural and activity programs ensure students use their German as they enjoy all that Vienna’s rich culture has to offer and make friends with students from all over the world.
As a leader in R&D, with a world-class higher-education system and a robust economy, Germany is not just a destination for skiing in the Alps, tasting wine in the Mosel Valley, or visiting museums in Berlin. Germany is a fantastic choice for study or research, whether it is for the short term, an academic semester or year, an entire degree, or even an academic or research career. With locations in New York, San Francisco, and Toronto, DAAD North America advises students, faculty, and current DAAD fellows in the U.S. and Canada. DAAD, or the German Academic Exchange Service, is a publicly funded independent organization of higher-education institutions in Germany. Each year, DAAD, its regional branch offices, its information centers, and DAAD professors around the globe provide information and financial support to over 100,000 highly qualified students and faculty inside and outside of Germany for international research and study.
The Deutsch-Institut Tirol is nestled in the Austrian Alps, in the world-famous ski resort Kitzbühel. For over thirty years, DIT has been offering German courses combined with skiing in winter and breathtaking scenery in summer. Having reinvented itself several times over, the institute now targets students who want to learn quickly in very small groups. The school has plenty of experience with closed school groups, 50+ courses, and German/skiing courses. Conveniently located between Salzburg and Munich, the trip to Kitzbühel is easy. The medieval town bustles with nightclubs, bars, and restaurants in a vibrant combination of alpine charm and modern facilities. This award-winning ski resort is also a golfing paradise in summer and a magnet for nature lovers all year round.
The Internationales Kulturinstitut (IKI) was founded in 1981 by German teachers as a nonprofit educational institute situated in the heart of Vienna with superb views of historic landmarks. It teaches standard German based on international standards and offers intensive programs and evening classes. The courses concentrate on communication, vocabulary, and the correct use of grammar, with the aid of up-to-date textbooks and course materials. IKI also organizes various leisure activities, like walking tours of the city, excursions to museums and exhibitions, welcome parties, and open-air film shows.
Lingua Service Worldwide, an independent language-study-abroad agency, represents private foreign language schools all over the world that specialize in offering full-immersion language-program opportunities. Its full-immersion German language courses are available in nine locations around Germany and in Vienna, Austria. Each of these schools has been carefully selected for its quality, experience, and respectability, and they are inspected on a regular basis by senior staff members. All programs are operated by recognized private language centers, ensuring the quality of the programs and the safety of the participants. Adult students can choose among Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, and Lake Constance in Germany, or Vienna, Austria. Teenagers with two years of German or more can spend the summer learning German at camps in Vienna or Aschaffenburg, Germany. The institute in Frankfurt also offers courses in business German. Students can combine language study with valuable work experience with the popular German + Internship Program.
Berlin — beautiful, historic, influential — is the perfect place for students to spend a summer honing their German-language skills and immersing into local culture. Students of all levels can explore this center of politics, commerce, culture, and scientific innovation on a study abroad program through CEA by taking classes at their partner universities — Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Berlin School of Economics and Law — in programs like German Language & Cultural Studies and European Business & Economics. Programs incorporate hands-on experiences, cultural activities, and excursions that transform Berlin into a living classroom, adding real-world context to lessons learned in class and providing the opportunity to immerse into German culture. Visits, tours, and expert lectures at sites like Potsdamer Platz, Sachsenhausen, the Reichstag, and the Brandenburg Gate bring history alive.
Carl Duisberg Centren
With more than 50 years’ experience, teaching German as a foreign language has always had an important focus in the work of Carl Duisberg Centren. Courses are offered at four very different locations: Berlin, the Rhine metropolis Cologne, the Bavarian state capital Munich, and the charming little town of Radolfzell on Lake Constance. Each location has its own character and its own merits. The course system at Carl Duisberg Centren is based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The accurate placement of students according to language level and the regular monitoring of learning progress are standard features. They help language learners succeed by providing quality, intensive lessons using a tried-and-tested system. German courses are offered year round for all levels, with over 42 course start dates during the year for beginners. Best of all, multiple course locations and training programs can be combined.
Intercultural Student Experiences
Intercultural Student Experiences (ISE) has more than 40 years of experience coordinating educational travel programs to Germany that immerse students in the language and culture and help them launch a lifelong interest in becoming global citizens. Students learn firsthand about German history and culture, use the language in real-world situations, and engage in daily life with an authentic family stay, mit einer Deutschen Familie. ISE’s immersion programs in Germany offer much more than a typical tour. The 15-day Bayern und Berlin itinerary allows students to experience the unique cultures of both northern and southern Germany. They’ll start by exploring the sights and sounds of Munich, then visit the castles of Mad King Ludwig before discovering the medieval charm of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The real adventure comes as students experience authentic German life and put their language skills to the test while living with gastfamilien. After six days spent learning and sharing with their host families, students bid them farewell and head to Berlin, a city touched by almost every major European event in the past century. There, they’ll explore the history-rich streets, visiting the remains of the Berlin wall, bullet-ridden buildings from WWII, and the contemporary architecture of the reunified city.
Academic Programs International
Academic Programs International (API) offers students two different options for studying abroad in Berlin, Germany — one for semester and academic-year students, and another for summer and January-term students. The FU-BEST (Berlin European Studies Program) was created by Freie Universität Berlin with the needs of American and international students in mind. Courses are generally taught in English, and students are required to take a German language course. Freie Universität Berlin is one of the top-ranked universities in Germany, and is considered among the top 75 in the world. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Humboldt University) was founded in 1810 by Prussian educator Wilhelm von Humboldt. All API Germany programs include tuition, housing, medical and life insurance, organized excursions, and much more.
ActiLingua Academy is a private school for German courses in Vienna, Austria. ActiLingua runs a year-round school for adults 16+ and two summer schools for young people (12–17 and 16–19 years). Accommodation is offered at the school-owned ActiLingua Residence in a choice of beautiful standard or superior apartments in a recently renovated Art Nouveau building close to the school and the city center. A variety of special courses are available to the students, such as University Preparation and Placement, German and Music, German and Work Experience, Business German and many more. A varied cultural program in and around Vienna is organized every week so the students get to know more about the Austrian capital, its people, and its way of life. On weekend excursions to Salzburg, Linz, or Graz, students discover other parts of beautiful Austria.
Language International offers over 200 German courses at top accredited language schools in 25 cities across Germany (as well as over 100 more in Austria and Switzerland). Course offerings include junior programs for children and teenagers, test-preparation programs and certificate programs, business German and academic German courses, German teacher training programs, and more. Friendly student advisors help choose the best course and answer all questions. The service is completely free to use and guarantees the lowest prices. They offer exclusive promotions and discounts at many schools. Plus, upon booking a German course with Language International, students receive a free premium four-week online course to help prepare for the course in Germany.
F+U Academy of Languages
The F+U Academy of Languages has branches in Heidelberg, Berlin, Darmstadt, and Chemnitz, and is one of Germany’s largest language schools and test centers. Universities that are part of the F+U Group offer bachelor and master programs. Starting in 2015, students will also be able to take preparation courses for the FSP exam (Feststellungsprüfung), a requirement for students whose high school diplomas are not recognized for direct university admission.
F+U is Europe’s largest TestDaF test center. Other exams, such as TOEFL; TOEIC, TELC, onDaF, and TestAS can also be taken. In order to equip domestic and international students with valuable skills for the job market, F+U has been running state recognized vocational training programs for Foreign Language Correspondence Clerks, Translators, and other language professions since 2004.
Students stay in the academy’s numerous residence rooms, apartments, host families, or in the F+U Hotel in Heidelberg.
For more than 30 years, TANDEM has been specializing in modern and successful language training, as well as organizing language partnerships. One will find TANDEM in many attractive cities within Germany, such as Cologne. TANDEM Köln is located close to the city center in the so-called Südstadt, a district well known for its lively atmosphere with many little shops, bars, and restaurants. The school itself is situated in a former monastery and consists of twelve quiet and bright classrooms, a student library, a small cafeteria, and a nice little garden. The school offers German courses at all levels. The school boasts small groups, communicative lessons, and a friendly atmosphere. To foster close contact with the German language outside the classroom, TANDEM offers a full cultural program, private accommodation with Germans, and a language exchange partner, a “Tandem.”
Central Europe is a playground with Brightspark’s fully customizable trips to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the surrounding countries. From the urban streets of Berlin to Mozart’s picturesque Austrian hometown, Brightspark brings classes to German-speaking Europe’s most inspiring locations. Their dedicated team of tour consultants and tour specialists work closely with teachers to create an educational or performance itinerary that fits any group’s unique needs and interests. Whether looking to travel the region or be immersed in select cities, to test language skills in small Bavarian towns or follow the country’s eclectic architectural evolution, Brightspark can create any tour. Explore the folkloric legends and modern luxury of Munich, discover somber remnants of the Nazi regime, or experience the ever-changing culture of the once-divided Berlin.
did deutsch-institut means deutsch in deutschland (German in Germany) has been their motto since launching the company in 1970. With more than 7,000 students per year, official recognition by the German Language Society, and as a member of EAQUALS, did deutsch-institut is one of the largest and most renowned providers of German as a foreign language worldwide. did deutsch-institut offers courses, accommodations, and an activity program in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich for students over the age of 17. They also offer summer camps for young learners from eight to 17 years old in twelve cities throughout Germany and Austria, as well as year-round private programs for school groups, and a high school program, where students from abroad have to chance to spend time in a German public school.
Youth For Understanding (YFU)
YFU offers a variety of cultural opportunities in Germany. Youth and young adults may choose to participate in a year, semester, or summer program. YFU believes study abroad is for adults, too. Adults 19+ have the opportunity to join fellow cultural enthusiasts for a three-week program in Germany. Although the YFU learning adventure will last only a short time, a journey abroad will have a powerful, life-changing impact. For learners of all ages who want a life-changing cultural exchange experience, Youth For Understanding offers a wide range of opportunities lasting from a few weeks to many months, designed to engage individuals at various points in their lives. As a staff- and volunteer-supported network of more than 70 international partners, they help participants broaden their perspective through immersive experiences that share a culture from the inside out.