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Why and where should expats learn German?

January 16, 2020
Life in Germany

Many expats don't speak German because they don't seem to have to. Yet learning the German language is almost essential if you want to get out of the Expat "Bubble". And not only that, the German authorities and institutions vehemently support the view that the lingua franca is German. Learning the German language leads to better communication with German-speaking colleagues, neighbours and perhaps also German friends (even if it is only the will shown to deal with the language). In short, knowledge of German makes everyday professional and private life easier and gives you the opportunity to participate more intensively in cultural and social life.

In fact, 70% of expats in Germany say that it is difficult to live in Germany without knowledge of German.

The good news is that for those who want to learn there is no lack of help and every day offers an opportunity to improve. Whether at home, at work or on the road. It makes sense to become familiar with the language before moving to a German speaking country. There are many ways to learn German online or at a school abroad, depending on your budget.

Which language schools or possibilities are there to learn German?

The market leader for German lessons is the Goethe Institut, which responds to the needs of the individual with a large number of specific teaching units.

Deutsche Welle also offers a free German course. Users have access to material tailored to their level, from beginners to those who want to take exams.

Deutsch-Uni online offers comprehensive German courses online, including Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Business German.

GermanPod101 offers free podcasts and YouTube videos, which not only provide conversation German in a simple way, but also cultural information.

Even with a smartphone app, a German lesson can be inserted quite simply and easily, regardless of location and time. Only a few are mentioned here:

Babbel, Langsames Deutsch, Duolingo, Wie geht's deutsch, Der Das.

In Germany itself, there are international and local language schools in most cities. (Berlitz, Inlingua, Did deutsch-institut. Sprachtreff Frankfurt) Whether for beginners, intermediate or advanced learners. The costs vary considerably depending on the choice of language school and the level and type of course. A course at the Volkhochschule is an inexpensive way to immerse yourself in the German language. The "German Courses for Foreigners" offered by many municipalities are even cheaper as they serve as an integration measure. With these courses, however, the pace of learning is sometimes slow.

Those who like to take a language certificate can complete the beginner courses with the Basis Deutsch A1 examination.

In order to use the German learned in the courses, you should not be afraid to get in touch with neighbours, local shopkeepers and other parents if you have kids. Joining a sports club or a club also increases your chances of exchanging information in German. The efforts are generally appreciated.  Television and films with German subtitles will also be a great help.

The main thing is to start and try. It will be a pleasure to communicate in German.

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Life in Germany