Learning is a never-ending journey.
But many of us think that just because learning is long that it must be slow.
Well, the good news is that doesn’t have to be the case.
Whatever stage you’re at in your German studies, you’re probably looking for some kind of power-up to take your skills to the next level, and the answer might just be an intensive German course.
It’s a fantastic option if you’re thinking of going abroad to Deutschland itself for a while. Below, we’ll help you choose from six top-tier intensive German courses that are available throughout Germany. There are options for many different learning levels, budgets and trip lengths.
Take one of these courses and you’ll come home with a souvenir that lasts a lifetime: German fluency.
What Are Intensive German Courses?
Language courses labeled as “intensive” mean that you’re in for a powerful language learning ride.
Intensive German courses will be fast-paced. Whereas in regular language courses the syllabus usually divides specific parts of the language for different days (for example, learning vocabulary one week, practicing informal conversation the next week, etc.), in an intensive course you’ll be learning and practicing lots of skills every day.
Intensive German courses are also usually held in Germany. While there are some hosted online, the majority are offered in real German schools, particularly language institutes and universities.
The duration of intensive German courses is typically dependent on the learner. You can choose how long you want to study for. While there’s usually a minimum requirement (often around one or two weeks) you can stay for much longer, even up to a year, so long as you pay respectively.
The Benefits of an Intensive German Course
The whole “intensive” part sounds a little intimidating, but there are great pros to taking an intensive course.
While you’ll certainly be learning things at a fast speed, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be frantically trying to cram everything into your brain. You’ll be digesting and applying each aspect of the German language, all the time. An intensive course makes you constantly engaged in the language, and this immersive method will seriously power-up your skills and confidence.
Speaking of immersion, the intensive courses you can take in Germany will give you a huge perk: you get to experience the culture firsthand. Many courses will include excursions and activities, so you won’t just be stuck in a classroom all the time. What you just learned in a class day can be immediately put to use in the real world, all while you’re enjoying what the country has to offer. In fact, many intensive language courses can also be considered immersion programs.
Being able to choose the course duration is another great benefit. Standard language courses usually last for a specified timeframe, and you may feel that it’s either too short or too long. With intensive German courses, whether you think a week or a few months is appropriate for your learning, you’re guaranteed the satisfaction of controlling the length of your study period. Plus, should you intend to stay over a certain length of time, the weekly price of the course will likely be reduced.
Looking for a smart way to prepare for intensive language study in Germany? FluentU is an immersive learning tool that’ll get you ready and excited for the experience. FluentU provides authentic German videos, like movies trailers, music videos, inspiring talks and more, that’ve been transformed into personalized language lessons.
You’ll watch the videos that native speakers actually watch, but with interactive captions, flashcards and exercises to help you actively learn from them. Click any word for an instant definition and native pronunciation. You’ll also see other videos that have the word so you can understand how it’s used in any context.
The videos are organized by genre and learning level, so it’s easy to find ones that work for you. Before your flight, take a virtual trip through a German market or cheer along with World Cup fans in Berlin. You can explore the full video library for free with a FluentU trial.
6 Intensive German Courses You Can Take in Germany
So without further ado, here’s our short list of fantastic intensive German courses and their hosting schools. Note that the base prices listed often exclude non-course costs such as accommodation or extracurricular activities.
Location: 17 different centers located throughout Germany and Austria
Accommodation options: Student residence, homestay, hotel
With its centers spread throughout the country, in cities big and small, Humboldt-Institut stands out as a dependable teaching institute. Which center you go to will depend namely on your age. For example, adults can study in Berlin, Constance or Wittgenstein Castle (this option is reserved for parents with children).
Intensive courses can be taken either in a group class (two to 52 weeks) or one-on-one (one to 52 weeks). For the class-based course, you can expect to learn with a small group of around 10 students with 30 lessons of 45 minutes per week covering all areas of the German language. For the one-on-one course, you can choose to study for 25 to 4o lessons weekly, with the ability to request special teaching on certain topics.
Along with the courses is a comprehensive system to prepare you for standardized language tests, which are also offered in the centers. The institute estimates that a complete beginner can be prepared for the standardized TestDaF exam at the advanced level after only eight months of learning.
Humboldt also offers plenty of activities and excursions to coincide with your education, and the costs for these will generally be included in the overall course fees alongside those for course materials and accommodations.
Price: 320 Euros for one week, 230 Euros for 24+ weeks (see full intensive course pricing and course length options here)
Accommodation options: Apartment, hotel, shared flat, student residence, homestay
You can’t go wrong with learning German in the hip and funky city of Berlin, and with GLS’s huge campus located right in the center, you’re bound to have a fantastic experience.
GLS offers different course packages based on your needs, going from “Standard” to “Crash” courses, and the more intensive the course the higher the price. While the “Standard” package has 20 lessons per week, the “Intensive” package has 30 lessons per week.
Each lesson is 45 minutes long with six lessons per day, lasting until the afternoon. The intensive course works in small groups with a maximum of eight people, ensuring that you get any specific attention you need.
There’s also a less strenuous “Semi-Intensive” package with a slightly larger group and 25 lessons per week.
Assessment is a big part of a GLS course—tests are taken at the completion of every level, which you must pass in order to advance.
Besides active discussion of culture, history and social life, after-class activities are also included where you get to travel to parts of Berlin and elsewhere. Because you’ll be in Berlin, you should take advantage to practice your German as often as possible, but there’s a good chance that you’ll be understood in English by locals.
Location: Munich, Frankfurt
Price: Select “Prices and booking” on your preferred course to calculate costs
Accommodation options: Apartment, hotel, homestay
Sprachcaffe hosts intensive German courses in Munich and Frankfurt, both lovely cities booming with culture and charm. You can easily step out and get involved with local goings-on for perfect opportunities to utilize your learning.
The intensive courses consist of 30 lessons weekly. Options include learning in a roughly 12-person group or one-on-one. In a typical group intensive course, there are two lessons each for grammar, conversation and written and oral skills, all taught by qualified and native teachers.
Private lessons, while more expensive, are more customizable and you can choose to have two to six daily lessons. Sprachcaffe emphasizes a comfortable and relaxed learning environment, and you won’t just be learning in a typical lecture style as you can expect more involved and entertaining methods of learning.
Location: 14 centers located throughout Germany and Austria
Price: Varies by course
Accommodation options: Apartment, hostel, homestay
Similar to the Humboldt-Institut, Goethe Institut proves its strong standing in language education with its widespread centers and comprehensive courses.
Goethe Institut offers a number of options for their intensive courses, which differ in duration and location.
You can choose to take an intensive course lasting only two weeks with 45 units of instruction, to eight weeks with 160 units of instruction. There’s also the learner-dependent option of “Vario” where you choose the duration (at a minimum of one week) and study with groups based on your appropriate level. If you’re particularly daring, there’s a two-week “Superintensive” course with two weeks of 80 units of instruction.
Besides these, the institute also offers specific courses for exam preparation and business lingo, as well as evening-only classes.
Although the workload may be intense, expect leisure and cultural activities almost daily, as Goethe Institut wants you to incorporate your language learning with a good understanding of the country itself.
Price: Varies by course
Accommodation options: Hostel, shared flat, homestay, private apartment
Placed in the historic and aesthetically-rich city of Dresden, Kästner Kolleg offers year-round, small-group intensive German courses for beginner and experienced speakers alike.
Eight weeks of 25 lessons each are dedicated for every language level (with four weeks for each module). Preparation for the TestDaF exam is also offered after reaching the advanced level.
In any German class at Kästner Kolleg, only German is spoken, so your language skills will be put to the test at all times. An assessment test will be given at the end of each module.
But the school isn’t all about just work—there’s an agenda dedicated for regular activities with your classmates in and out of Dresden where you’ll practice the language in real-life contexts.
Since you’ll be in Dresden, you’ll find cheaper prices for accommodations than you would in larger cities like Berlin, but don’t think that Dresden has anything less to offer!
Price: Varies by course length
Accommodation options: Homestay, apartment
In Augsburg, within the heart of Bavaria, the Augsburger Deutschkurse school offers intensive lessons year-round.
Group classes are offered for beginner to advanced students with 25 weekly lessons. The school especially emphasizes that you start at the right level, so you’ll be given a comprehensive placement test before you start learning. However, you can also switch to a different level if you feel over or under-challenged.
German is spoken at all times during class, so translating will be quickly done away with and you can expect roughly two or more hours of homework daily. The school estimates that you can complete a given course level within eight weeks, from which you can ascend to the next level.
Regular out-of-class activities aren’t included in the intensive courses, but you can certainly make your own time and explore Augsburg’s many places of interest. The school is also located near the lovely city of Munich, so you can venture easily there.
A great plus is that, like Dresden, accommodations in Augsburg will be cheaper than in other major German cities. Many students opt for the homestay option, which will lend itself well to your class studies.
If you’re looking for something to rocket launch your German skills, while also getting a taste of German life, then an intensive course may be your perfect answer. Taking one abroad will be an enlightening experience that’ll be the hallmark of your language-learning journey.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.