- Education & Work
7 tips and tricks to learn German
12 Jan 2022
One of the key challenges awaiting expats and students trying to settle in Germany is learning German. Although many people in the bigger cities will be able to communicate with you in English, getting to know people from older generations or travelling through the countryside gets a lot easier with a solid basis of German language skills. On top of that, many employers expect successful job applicants to be able to at least have basic conversations in German. The majority of study programs offered at German universities likewise require German language skills that correspond to B1 level or higher.
Many foreign students at German universities find it hard to learn German, but although German can be quite a challenging language to pick up, there are a bunch of tips and tricks on how to reach your learning goals more easily.
First of all, don’t wait to learn German until you arrive in Germany. By starting well ahead of moving abroad you can establish the basics for having a conversation. In this way, you can make use of your elementary skills right away by asking for the way or introducing yourself. These first accomplishments will help boosting your confidence to continue with the more challenging steps later. Germany’s main institution for promoting German language and culture abroad, the Goethe Institute (also known as Max Mueller Bhavan in India), has official schools in Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune and a lot of Goethe centres in other Indian cities. Apart from the German language courses offered at one of these locations, the institute also organises online courses and has a broad range of learning material accessible through its website. By making use of the institute’s digital library, you can also access a broad selection of German e-books, audiobooks and movies – free of charge. The German speaking films are often offered with English subtitles making it possible for you to improve your language skills from early on. Another valuable online tool for learning German are the cost-free language courses offered by Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international public broadcaster.
As soon as you arrive in Germany, more possibilities will arise to talk to native speakers. Try to make use of these possibilities as much as possible. For instance, you can participate in the social activities during the introductory weeks organised by universities and some bigger companies. In this way, you can interact with German speakers as well as get to know other expats who might face similar challenges in learning German and finding their way in a new society. In order to support your learning process, language learning apps such as Duolingo or Drops can be useful but we recommend to use them only as an auxiliary tool which should be combined with professional language courses as well as face-to-face interactions. One method to have these direct interactions with a native speaker is to learn German with the help of a tandem partner.
If you want to learn more about this method, read our article on the tandem method of language learning as well as our tips on how to find a tandem partner.
While the tandem method is particularly useful for practicing German in everyday situations, following a full-fledged language course will be indispensable in order to get your head around the complex grammar. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has set up a search engine for finding the language course that suits you. In addition, this website provides information concerning scholarship programs that can be used for financing your German language course.
We hope this article provides you with some useful ideas on how to tackle the challenging but nonetheless rewarding task of learning German. If you have any further questions write them in the comments below or directly to [email protected]!
Written by: Ferdinand Schlechta
Cover Photo Credit: Matthew Feeney - Unsplash
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