Improving your German
Last update: September 2017
Whether chatting in a café, conversing with a tandem partner or at home using your computer: there are many opportunities to improve your language skills in Germany. Here is an overview of the options.
If you are living in a foreign country you will learn the language almost automatically. It's easy to improve your German language skills while going about your daily life.
The best opportunity for language learning is your living situation. You'll easily pick up German from your fellow students as you cook together or go out with neighbours from your student residence or shared flat.
It's a good idea to listen to the radio, watch TV or read newspapers every day to improve your German. You will be able to memorise new words and phrases more quickly this way. If you are open-minded and stay curious, you will progress very rapidly.
Many students choose to attend a language course at their higher education institution, at a language school or at the Goethe-Institut. These courses teach German systematically, but they may cost money. Alongside courses during the semester, the language centres of German higher education institutions also offer intensive courses during the recess period.
TIP: A good place to search for language courses is the database of the Fachverband für Deutsch als Fremdsprache, where you can choose from many options sorted by federal state and city.
Of course you can also continue to study on your own using textbooks, at the universities' language centres or online. Deutsche Welle has set up an online portal with audio and written texts. The website of the Goethe-Institut has a language learning tool with interactive learning games, expert chats and a learning partner search. Other options cost money, for example the courses offered by the Deutsch-Uni Online.
If you want not only to improve your language skills but also to meet new people you should take part in a language tandem programme. This means that two people with different native languages meet regularly to learn together. They take turns speaking in either language so that each tandem partner has the opportunity to practise. Or they go for a walk and learn more about the culture and mentality of their two countries by chatting with each other. And none of it costs anything.
TIP: Organisations that arrange tandem partners include student services, the International Offices and the language centres of the higher education institutions. Many tandem partners also find each other online, for example on their higher education institution's website.
How good is my German?
There are many ways to test your German language skills online – for example on the website of the Goethe-Institut. If you want to know more about the various proficiency levels, take a look at the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.