How to Learn German on Skype: 9 Sites That Make It Easy
Can you imagine learning German from someone who lives in Hamburg without buying a plane ticket?
Skype is your virtual ticket to authentic German learning with real native speakers.
All you need is a way to find those natives.
Well, we’ve got nine! In this article, we’ll show you the best online platforms designed to help you learn German on Skype, either for conversation practice or traditional lessons.
- The Benefits of Using Skype as a Language Learning Tool
- German Fluency Just Got Closer! 9 Stellar Skype Learning Platforms
- How to Make the Best of Skype-Based German Learning
The Benefits of Using Skype as a Language Learning Tool
Thanks to Skype, the world got a whole lot smaller!
The ability to effortlessly (and economically) speak with people across the world has indeed changed our lives for the better. And I for one can tell you that as an American expat living in Germany, the ability to see friends and family with a simple click makes the “I miss you” element of living abroad a whole lot easier.
Language learning via Skype has really taken off over the course of the last several years, supporting individuals who seek instruction in their target Fremdsprache (foreign language) but don’t have the time or resources for an in-person course or a trip to Germany. With that said, let’s have a quick look at some of the positive aspects of learning German via this handy tool!
- Ease of use: Skype is easy technology to handle, and most of us already use it to stay connected to colleagues, friends and family. The learning curve therefore in applying it to language learning is pretty low. For those who haven’t previously learned how Skype works, there are plenty of tutorials on their website or on YouTube to get you started.
- Flexibility and convenience: You control your time. The platforms we’ll cover in this post make it easy to find Skype learning options that match your schedule (not to mention your budget).
- Access to native speakers: As noted earlier, Skype lets you easily connect with real German speakers, no matter where you’re located. The miles don’t matter. You can learn from a native to fine-tune your German skills and get insights into their culture.
German Fluency Just Got Closer! 9 Stellar Skype Learning Platforms
There are many platforms out there to support your Skype learning endeavors. We’ll cover two types of learning options: Skype conversation exchanges, which are informal conversations and typically free, then Skype classes and tutoring sessions for a more structured learning environment.
German Conversation Exchanges with Skype
With the sites below, you’ll find German native speakers who are learning your native language—you’ll split your conversation time between both languages so you both get to learn. It’s low-pressure learning with the potential for high returns!
This no-frills language learning website was started by two young Venetian polyglots because of their love of language. All you have to do is register and search their databases for a German language buddy to chat with.
The beauty of this uncomplicated site is that it offers users three options to connect: face-to-face, correspondence (pen pal) and chat software. In selecting the latter, you can then use the drop-down menu, choose Skype as your software and find a partner from there.
As you’re browsing profiles, check out the “Description” box to find chat partners who share your interests and hobbies. Then you’ll have plenty to talk about!
While most sites default to English as their navigational language, this website is multi-lingual—meaning it lets you navigate your way through the website (via a drop-down menu) in a number of different languages other than English. So, if you want to put your brain in “German-mode” before you start speaking over Skype, it’s a good option!
This site is also dedicated to helping you get the most out of your Skype language exchange. It recommends that learners practice in small groups using a language exchange method called the Cormier method. It also provides free lesson plans and activities that you and your chat partners can follow together.
Note that while the site offers a free service, there’s a gold-membership level that gives you more options to find and communicate with others on the site.
Here’s another platform that makes finding a Skype conversation partner easy. Just input your target language and your native language to see a list of potential speaking partners.
You can even filter the results by city, which is fantastic if you’re hoping to learn a particular German accent.
If you find someone who looks interesting you can send them a message via Scrabbin, and from there you can easily connect to share in language learning via Skype.
German Classes on Skype
Preply is a personalized language learning platform designed to match you with your perfect tutor. Right from the start, you’ll provide information about yourself like your reason for learning German, your proficiency level, etc., so Preply can find great options for you.
You’ll also indicate the price range you’re willing to spend or your preferred study time. Or, if you don’t have time to look through the tutoring options yourself, you can actually submit a request with your language requirements and tutors will reach out to you.
In the event you aren’t satisfied with your tutor after your first session, you can receive a 100% refund. Packages are available in five-, 10-, 15- and 20-hour bundles. After two weeks of instruction, language learners are sent a form with which to evaluate their instructor.
coLanguage offers an assortment of qualified teachers and will provide first-timers a full refund if not satisfied following their first class.
The program’s based on a well-structured but flexible online experience. You can schedule classes day or night, weekday or weekend. You’ll get learning materials alongside your Skype appointments, including exercises, YouTube videos, printables and more.
You’ll also be able to rate your lessons in terms of quality and difficulty, and teachers can adjust their lesson plans accordingly.
italki is a popular language site that offers the best of both worlds! You can choose to have informal language exchanges or formal tutoring sessions.
The native speaking tutors offer one-on-one lessons over Skype (as well as other video chat programs). To choose a tutor, you can watch a video introduction and read reviews that past students have posted, which can help give a strong sense of whether you’d be a good fit together. You can also compare rates and free trial options at a glance as you scroll through profiles.
When you want to practice conversationally, you can check out the free italki language exchanges. You can filter profiles by language level (native or otherwise), city and more.
Learn German via Skype
This one is exclusively focused on German language learning! This program was initially developed as an extension course for German language learners who’d previously attended Treffpunkt Language Institute in Bamberg and wanted to continue their studies. The course was ultimately opened up to anyone interested in learning or practicing German.
You can choose a “starter” package of two 45-minute sessions at the cost of €50 (roughly $60). If you’d like to continue lessons from there, you can book between 10 to 50 language hours and can calculate the attributed fees using their online cost calculator. The more lessons you book, the more you save!
A nice benefit regarding Live Lingua is that they offer a free, hour-long trial lesson. All teachers on this platform are native German speakers with multiple years of teaching experience. Live Lingua teachers must also be able to speak another language so that they understand what it’s like to be in the student’s shoes.
Live Lingua Skype tutors are available 24/7 and private lessons start at $24.99 per hour.
Search through Verbalplanet’s vast pool of native German speakers and ask them questions to see if they’re a good fit for your needs. Some of the tutors offer first-timers free or discounted rates for an initial lesson. After signing onboard, a loyalty discount program allows you to gain valuable discounts, up to 15%, the more hours you book.
You can also see your tutor’s calendar to effortlessly book your next session without a lot of back and forth emails. Their progress tracking chart enables you to see in real-time how you’re progressing through your program.
How to Make the Best of Skype-Based German Learning
While you can depend on your conversation partners and tutors for the bulk of your German studies, it also helps to be somewhat prepared for your lessons.
It’s always good to have a rough idea of what level of German fluency you’re at. It saves a lot of time for you when you’re choosing your teachers and deciding what to learn. It would also help your conversation partner, who can then adjust their speaking mannerisms to suit you.
Of course, it would also be good to know at least the very basics of German before you decide to hop into Skype lessons. Try to know the fundamentals of the language, such as greetings, essential nouns and common verbs.
It’s also important that to remember what you learn, you don’t keep your German studies isolated online—put the material to use even when you’re not technically studying! An easy and engaging way to do so is by consuming authentic German media, such as books, TV shows, movies, podcasts and so forth.
German language learning programs are a good resource to gauge, improve and apply your German skills. One example is FluentU.
FluentU is one of the best websites and apps for learning German the way native speakers really use it. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Watch authentic media to simultaneously immerse yourself in the German language and build an understanding of the German culture.
By using real-life videos, the content is kept fresh and current. Topics cover a lot of ground as you can see here:
Vocabulary and phrases are learned with the help of interactive subtitles and full transcripts.
Hovering over or tapping on any word in the subtitles will automatically pause the video and instantly display its meaning. Interesting words you don’t know yet can be added to a to-learn list for later.
For every lesson, a list of vocabulary is provided for easy reference and bolstered with plenty of examples of how each word is used in a sentence.
Your existing knowledge is tested with the help of adaptive quizzes in which words are learned in context.
To keep things fresh, FluentU keeps track of the words you’re learning and recommends further lessons and videos based on what you've already studied.
This way, you have a truly personalized learning experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)
So there you have it! Technology’s all-access pass to German language learning with Skype! Seeing as you can now effortlessly access a native speaker, at a convenient time for you, and in the privacy of your own home, the process of learning just got a whole lot easier. And with this handy list, all you need to do now is let your fingers do the walking right over your keyboard to find the perfect solution for your language learning needs!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.