If you’re an adult, you may dream of the days when you got to experience camp à la “Wet Hot American Summer.”
And, yes, the popular Netflix movie and TV show is streaming with German subtitles (and with German audio if you configure a VPN on your computer).
If you’re younger, you’re right in the sweet spot, where summer schools and camps are a blur of fun, learning and getting to know new people.
Well, interestingly enough, German summer school is offered for just about any type of person, no matter how old you are or what level of language learning you’re at.
What’s even better is that these are no ordinary summer schools where you sit with five other unlucky students while an underpaid teacher sleeps at their desk.
What Are the Benefits of German Summer School?
- Fun stuff happens. Summer school programs don’t completely take away from the joys of summer. In fact, many of them add to the fun, with outdoor activities, field trips and settings reminiscent of any childhood summer camp. Not to mention, all these fun things happen in German, making learning all that much more enjoyable.
- Parents love it. Summer school eases the stress for parents, considering they don’t have to think about what to do with kids during the summer months.
- It looks great on a resume. Are you a student in college or graduate school? A professional taking a brief break from work to further your studies? Then a program like this looks spectacular on the “education” section of any resume or curriculum vitae. Many offer certificates to demonstrate the level of proficiency you’ve achieved.
- You keep learning. Students don’t really take a break from German learning for up to three months—during a period of time (summer) when they usually would just be chilling on a couch somewhere rather than studying. Even in down time, German is everywhere. That’s all you’ve got to focus on, and you start to live in your new language. This improves the consistent learning flow and makes everything more immersive.
- Meet new people. Students have a chance to meet new friends and study partners, since the summer school classes are different from regular school.
- Teachers get more work. Summer schools provide places for German teachers and tutors to find jobs for extra money and experience.
With those positive notes in mind, let’s move on to the recommended summer programs!
8 German Summer School Options That Kickstart Yearlong Learning
What’s great about the University of New Mexico summer German program is that the New Mexico landscape is just as beautiful as some of the scenery you would see in Bavaria. The entire program takes place in the Taos Ski Valley, a picturesque village in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Northern New Mexico.
Students participate fully in a complete German-speaking environment, and teachers are given ample immersion training beforehand. The teachers and students work and live in condos and hotels in the area, and the lectures and class offerings tend to change every year. Each student has the option to work on a Master of Arts in German Studies or a Language Proficiency Certification.
Extracurriculars are amazing, with access to hiking trails, the Rio Grande River, Taos Pueblo, local art galleries, volleyball courts, music schools and an opera nearby.
The Middlebury Language School is an educational organization with courses on languages from Russian to Japanese. This one, however, is a summer school with German studying at the forefront. The school, located in Middlebury, Vermont, has a curriculum with elementary, intermediate and multiple levels for advanced learners. What’s interesting is that they also offer a class for German singing.
The primary reason to go to this school is if you want a crash course in real-world communication. The 7-week session is packed with classes, but you also have the opportunity to participate in extracurriculars like choir, yoga, chess, theater and soccer. It’s an exceptionally well-known and reputable program—perhaps the best in the country for language study—so it will serve you well.
The Concordia Village provides youth, educator and adult German learning programs. They pretty much have a tiny German town thriving in the heart of Minnesota. Although they don’t have a specific summer school, lots of programs are offered throughout the warmer months, such as a 1-week youth exploration camp or 6-week German language adventures for ages 13-18.
High school and college credit classes are offered, and you’ll find that the teachers are just as authentic as the various buildings on campus. For example, you can exchange your money for euros at the bank, go to a German cafe where only German speaking is allowed and browse the completely German bookstore. It’s an immersion experience worth every penny.
The Portland State University Summer School has a 1-week teacher training and a 5-week total immersion course. Several graduate and undergraduate classes are included with the summer school, and you could even shoot for your German MA.
You stay at Portland State University, and many of the people you meet will want to go hiking and gallivanting with you in one of the more beautiful terrains in America.
The Millersville University summer camp is located in Pennsylvania, and although it only lasts a week, you gain access to some of the top language immersion courses in the world. You only need some basic knowledge of the German language to participate.
Keep in mind that all teachers are certified to teach in high school, and the majority of the classes are for high schoolers, so you can’t get college or high school credit here. Films, dances, costume parties and other activities are all part of the Millersville University German Camp, and German is the preferred language at any of the events.
If you’re located near Germany, or would like to get the German abroad experience, the University of Bonn summer classes are perfect for you. The summer program is rather popular, and it has 12 German language courses for you to choose between. The seminars are on everything related to culture, literature and linguistics.
We particularly enjoy that the extracurriculars are all about traveling around the area and learning about German culture. For example, you gain access to concerts, German culture excursions, international meetings and tours throughout nearby towns. You must be at least 18 years of age to join this summer program, so it’s more similar to a college study abroad system than anything else.
An application is required for you to get in, and the entire summer program goes for four weeks.
Another Germany-based summer school, the German Language School in Berlin is rather recognizable around the world.
If you’re interested in exploring Berlin while meeting Germans and speaking in German all day, you might just like this one. It’s a little more expensive than the others, but you live on a huge campus right in Berlin. Oh, and you’re within walking or cabbing distance to places like Prenzlauer Berg, cafes and galleries.
Restaurants, cafes, volleyball courts and pool tables are scattered throughout the campus, making it into more of a really nice college campus than that of a high school. Choose your level of German speaking skills (beginner to advanced) and meet everyone in your class for the first few days. Each class consists of 20 lessons, and you get to go on excursions to places like Potsdam, Dresden and Zeuthener See.
The German Language School in Berlin also has a summer school just for kids, meaning those aged 7 to 14. Parents aren’t allowed to stick around to watch their kids, but some events are held for family members to come check out progress. The campus is located in the Teikyo University on Zeuthener See.
Four levels are offered, just like the teen/adult classes, and three activities are expected to be done daily, whether it’s dancing, playing sports or going to a theater show. Even tennis and sailing lessons are offered if you pay a little extra.
Whether you’re a young student, adult or teacher, summer schools are all sorts of fun. If you have any questions about any of these schools, feel free to contact them directly. Most of them require applications and tuition fees prior to showing up.
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