Learning the German Language in Germany as the first step towards your academic career
Are you thinking about heading to Germany to learn the local language? If so, go right ahead. It’s a great opportunity to widen your horizons, learn new skills, and make friends across the world. But before you do, there are a few things students should know. So let’s run through the basics.
Firstly, it’s good to know that students will be joining a huge community of their fellow language learners. There are around 375,000 language students in Germany with representatives from China, Syria, Russia, and plenty of African nations. Integration is usually seamless, but having good language skills does matter. According to the DAAD survey in 2016, around 30% of those studying for a Bachelor’s or Postgraduate degree reported difficulties “communicating with locals”. That’s why taking language courses makes a real difference.
There are hundreds of language schools spread across Germany. If you’re planning to study at a university, it makes sense to find a provider that’s based close to your higher education institution. That way, you can settle into the community, find housing, and make friends easily.
The best place to find current German language courses is FaDaF, which offers a search engine for courses in all German regions. Or students could head straight to major tuition organizations, such as the internationally respected Goethe Institut. The latter also offers German courses in foreign countries, which could be a handy way to prepare before applying for a degree. If students have secured a place at a university, the student office may be able to connect them with local language courses, often at big discounts. And this may also apply if students have secured admission, but haven’t yet obtained their student visa.
Before students can start learning in Germany, they will need to secure a German language visa. This form of visa applies for courses that last between 3 and 12 months and is separate from a university student visa. To obtain the language visa, students need a valid passport, confirmation that they have secured a language course place, and they also need to complete a couple of forms at their local German consulate or embassy.
Importantly, students also need to ensure that they have German health insurance, just like undergraduate and postgraduate students. And they will need to provide the German state with proof that they can finance their studies. This entails setting up a blocked account, which needs to include the amount of money to cover the living expenses of a student during the stay in Germany. The amount that is currently required by the German Authorities is €853 per month of stay, so you can easily calculate the total amount you need by multiplying 853 by the number of months you are planning to stay in Germany.
It sounds like a lot of bureaucracy, but it’s actually not that complex, especially if you work with professionals which will ensure that every aspect of the application process is covered.