I still remember the great German tutor I had back in high school.
She’d just come to my school, had a thick German accent in English, wore clothing more reminiscent of a dirndl than anything you could find in America and told a rich collection of stories from her time living in a small southwest German village, right where the Danube River originates.
Something about speaking with this tutor brought me into an environment that felt like I was dropped right into the hills of Germany, ready to immerse myself in the culture. The best part? I didn’t have to leave my own little town in the heart of Illinois.
Now, I wouldn’t mind going to Germany and spending a few months tagging along with a German tutor and also experiencing their lifestyle, but that’s not always practical, at least for those who have jobs or schoolwork to think about.
That’s why we have tutors, these wonderful gifts that help us tap into all of our senses when learning the German language. The only problem I’ve had in the past when searching for a viable German tutor is having a decent resource that lists all of the places to look for German tutors.
So, that’s why I’ve made one for you!
Back when I was younger, my parents most likely searched through the phone book to find me a German tutor, but now you have wonderful tools online, with filtering, search fields and even ratings systems to understand exactly which of the tutors are worth investing in.
Since various websites are available for helping you find the perfect tutor, we’ve compiled the top options. Keep reading to get your German tutor search underway.
Note: Locating a tutor depends entirely on your geographical location, so if one of the resources doesn’t work all that well for you, skip to the next one. My personal experience is based on my search in the Chicago area, so you may have varying results.
How to Pair a German Tutor with Your Online Learning
Okay, okay, you may wonder how a tutor is going to help you improve your online learning process.
Isn’t this just going to be another payment I’ll have to make every month? Is one person really going to turn me into a fluent speaker when I have all the resources and tools online to drive my own learning?
Sure, you can think this way, and online learning does provide most of the tools for you to excel, but for those of you who aren’t satisfied with almost fluent, tutors are for you.
Reaching fluency is a self-driven program with your potential hinging on how much effort you actually put into the process. After all, it’s a bit pricey to work with a tutor, and they can’t be sitting by your side at all times. Therefore, a tutor is a great place to start when you want to speak German and practice with another person. It’s more effective than trying to speak German with someone else who’s learning, because you train yourself to hear someone who actually knows how to speak the language.
A tutor is also more effective than a language exchange partner. Even though a language exchange partner is free—aside from the amount of time you spend teaching them your native language in exchange for their help—they won’t always be able to correct you when you pronounce a word or phrase wrong, or give you complete and clear explanations behind grammar rules that you need. Tutors can let you do the talking, and then step in and be the teacher when needed.
Keep in mind that taking tests, memorizing vocab, watching videos and other tactics like that can all be done while alone. It’s somewhat of a waste of time and money to do this with your tutor. That’s why we recommend that you budget how much you would like to spend on your tutor, then designate the areas you’d like to practice before going into your sessions. Discuss this with any potential tutor beforehand, and even ask they’d be willing to revise and grade assignments outside your sessions. This way, you aren’t wasting time or money when you sit down with the German tutor.
On the other side of the coin, think of ways that you can get more out of your tutoring sessions by using some of the structure and real-life German you’re learning with apps and online tools. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve been using FluentU for your German studies.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
With meticulous, interactive captions, you get to see every word that’s spoken in a video—and you can just hover over anything unfamiliar to get instant definitions, pronunciations and extra usage examples.
A huge library of videos on all sorts of topics mean that you always have something interesting to watch. And, since videos are organized by learning level, you get challenge without frustration.
Fun, adaptive exercises let you practice what you’re learning, ensuring that you truly understand all your new vocabulary and grammar.
FluentU tracks your progress and will let you know when it’s time to review, using multimedia flashcards that keep learning dynamic—so you never forget what you’ve learned. (If you’re not already using FluentU, you can check it out with the free trial today.)
Now, you might not want to spend the time with your tutor watching videos on FluentU. Still, you can use the lessons you’re learning through them to spark ideas for topics to explore with your tutor. Plus, the time you spend practicing with FluentU can drive the progress you make with your tutor, since you’ll be getting more exposure to native German speech, even in your independent study sessions.
5 Places to Find a Real, Live, Local German Tutor
WyzAnt has perhaps the best interface for locating a German tutor in your area. It’s cool since the website also asks you what grade and skill level you are as a student. Slots are available for everything from elementary to adult, and you’ll be matched with someone who’s trained to cater your specific needs.
Each tutor reveals how much they charge per hour, and you can take a look at some of the ratings that other people have given them. It seems like most of the tutors are available for in-person sessions, but some of them offer online training.
The Varsity Tutors website offers a refreshing look into the world of tutoring, since all tutor profiles are extremely detailed. The idea is to search based on location and language, and see which of the tutors have college degrees, whether they have been certified to teach German and if they’re willing to have in-person sessions. If you request a tutor, it sends a message so you can interact with them.
Requesting a tutor works with the click of a button, and if you’d like to speak to a person on the phone, a support line is provided as well. I personally like this website best for finding a German tutor, since it seems like they have a significant amount of tutors to choose from upon completing any search, and the profiles provide information such as hobbies, ACT/SAT test scores and statements to generate a more personal connection between you and the tutor before even meeting.
The First Tutors service is another viable option, since you can choose your postcode, learning level, language and tuition type and be well on your way to meeting with a tutor.
The only downside is that this is only for UK residents. However, it’s a huge advantage for those UK residents since it matches them up with quality local tutors, and they don’t have to worry about sifting through people who aren’t near them or relevant to what they’re trying to learn.
The learning level field is rather essential, since it gives you an idea as to how old you must be for a tutor to be willing to work with you. For example, some folks are trained to tutor kids, so they won’t accept applications from adults. However, the First Tutors website offers a filter for every age group.
Although this article is mainly focused on local tutors, I want to include one resource for online tutors. Tutors.com is the gold standard when searching for online tutors, with its clean interface, solid rating system and other tutor profile details such as subjects, education, career experience and a personal statement on why the person loves tutoring.
All chats and mailing interactions are sent through the Tutor.com website, and you can even start chatting with a tutor if you see they’re online, before paying for their services.
Yelp works for some geographical areas, but not for all. I recommend it since you may be able to find someone right down the street from you, and the reviews are generally moderated by the folks at Yelp to ensure they’re all useful and valid.
Just type in your location and that you need a German tutor to see if anything comes up. For example, when I search for German tutors in Chicago, a good number of options comes up, but I also see some language learning schools as well.
Now that you’ve had a chance to learn about the best places to locate German tutors, choose a day to meet with the tutor every week to expand on the German learning you complete on your own.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a tutor for life!