Pack your bicycle and leave your doubts at home.
Your German adventure awaits.
You’ve decided to take the plunge and completely immerse yourself in the German language. Good for you!
There are heaps of language schools dotted around the whole of Germany, the majority of which have courses that are designed for foreign students to learn German.
But before you jet off, you need to first think about which area of Germany you want to visit.
There are lots of really interesting and unique cities in Germany, from the business-oriented Frankfurt-am-Main (Frankfurt on the Main) to the very traditional city of Munich in Southern Bavaria.
How about Berlin, though?
The German capital city is soaked in history and also has a very eclectic cultural scene. If you’ve never been to Germany before, Berlin should be your first stop. Once you’ve experienced everything the capital has to offer, you can always book a daytrip to a different region or city.
Why Learn German in Berlin
Are you wondering why you should bother going all the way to Berlin to learn German? That’s a fair question!
Being in the country where your target language is spoken gives you the chance to completely immerse yourself in the language and culture. You’ll be constantly surrounded by native speakers and use all of those German slang words and idioms you’ve been practicing!
Plus, experiencing German culture can help you to better understand the language and its many quirks, especially those that are unique to the Berlin area. The Berliners speak with a very distinctive accent and being around them will help you develop it yourself—you never know, you might come home and sound like ein echter Berliner (a true Berliner)!
You’ll also pick up all the vocab that’s in the Berlinerisch dialect. By the time you go home, you should’ve learned enough cool Berlin words to impress your teacher back home!
How to Get the Most out of Your Experience in Berlin
You might think that learning German in Berlin is as simple as just turning up and chatting with the locals. But actually, you’ll have to put in a lot more elbow grease to make sure all this extra practice really sticks! You can’t hang around all the top tourist spots all the time—you’d just end up speaking English to all the other English-speaking tourists!
You really need to make the effort to hang out with German speakers. The less English they speak, the better. That way, you’re forced to use your German skills.
You’ll also need to spend some of your free time studying for your classes and lessons. It’s totally fine to enjoy the city while you’re there and explore everything Berlin has to offer, but you need to remember that your main reason for being there is to learn the language. And that means rolling up your sleeves and focusing on your studies more than anything else!
Here are some of the best options for anyone wanting to learn German in Berlin.
6 Brilliant Ways to Learn German in Berlin
The GLS (German Language School) Campus is perfect for those of you who are serious about learning German in Berlin but don’t want to go to all the hassle of booking accommodation. This campus has its very own hotel on site. If you stay in the hotel, you can sleep in a little later each day since you won’t have to make it across the city to get to your class!
There are lots of intensive courses available, perfect if you’re only in Berlin for a short period. Not only that, but the GLS is also an official testing center for the TestDaf—a qualification required by those who want to study or work in a German university.
There are many different course options available, from “Standard” to “Intensive” to “Crash.” The amount of lessons depend on the type of course you request and can go on for as long as the student likes. As you’ll see in the description of the courses, the duration is “up to you!”
A Volkshochschule is a community college and you can find one in each German neighborhood. So, that means you’ll find a school close to you no matter where you stay in the city—at least that cuts down the chance of getting lost looking for the school!
Each Volkshochschule features various classes and month-long courses that are aimed at different levels. But what makes it special is that all of its courses aim to improve integration into German life. So the courses are particularly useful to those who are planning on staying in Berlin for a long period or on a permanent basis.
Each course is also focused on a different topic, such as business German, the arts and politics. As the Volkshochschule is a community college, you might find that this is the cheapest option for learning German in Berlin—more money to spend on Berlin souvenirs!
Traveling around to a few different countries? If so, listen up! Many people enroll in a German course at the Goethe Institut if they plan on carrying on their studies elsewhere. That’s because the school has branches in different cities around the world, so it’s possible to continue your studies while you’re traveling.
You might find that the courses at the Goethe Institut are slightly pricier than some of the others on this list, but you can be sure that the classes are worth every penny—it’s one of the most highly-regarded language schools in Germany, after all! The institute’s courses vary in duration, ranging from two to eight weeks.
Expath is an independent organization with offices and classrooms in the Neukölln and Mitte neighborhoods. The month-long courses are aimed at various abilities and each student has to take a placement test to see which class will suit them best.
Expath is a great place to go if you’re considering working in Berlin since they offer lots of workshops and professional guidance on being self-employed and organizing German health insurance. The organization will also help you find your very first apartment in the city if you’re planning on a permanent move!
Situated right in the center of Berlin, Sprachsalon’s (Language Salon) German lessons are very relaxed and laid-back. Teachers are extremely friendly, and the stylish setting means you won’t feel like you’re sitting in a classroom!
You can choose between semi-intensive and intensive classes, but even if you go for the intensive course, you’ll find that it isn’t as stressful as learning in a real classroom! Each class is made up of between five and nine students, though one-on-one sessions are available upon request.
Students can choose how long they participate in a course, but it’s best to stay on for as long as possible. That’ll be better for your German and give you more time to make friends with your classmates!
Find a private teacher
If you don’t fancy going back to school and sitting in a classroom while you’re in Berlin, you might prefer the idea of hiring your very own private teacher. There are a few different agencies that can hook you up with a teacher, such as Teacher Finder.
Once you’re assigned a teacher, they’ll organize lessons in your own apartment or hotel accommodation at a time that suits you best. Each teacher specializes in something different, so you’ll be able to find someone who can help with business or conversational German or even German for beginners!
Once you start looking into these programs, you’ll find your biggest problem is choosing your favorite. There are plenty of schools that offer you a chance to learn German—the ones in this blog post are just the tip of the iceberg.
So, ready to head to Berlin for some serious German learning? It’s time to book your flight!
And One More Thing…
What’s the key to learning German as it is actually spoken by native German speakers?
It’s using the right native content and tools.
In fact, whether you learn German in Berlin or complete your immersion at home, you’re going to need real-world videos like music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks.
Well, FluentU is focused on just that. FluentU takes great videos and turns them into language learning experiences so that you can learn German as people really speak it:
Watching a fun video, but having trouble understanding it? FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.
You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocabulary list.
And FluentU isn’t just for watching videos. It’s a complete platform for learning. It’s designed to effectively teach you all the vocabulary from any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned.
Laura Harker is a freelance writer based in North Yorkshire, U.K.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.