German language courses in Germany are in high demand among foreigners[1]. After English, German is the second most popular business language in the world. It is spoken by about 95 million people in six countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland). With knowledge of German, you not only can travel, but can also look for work and immigrate to these countries.

Germany provides a lot of opportunities for learning at all levels. The country ranks 3rd in the world among the strongest education systems after the US and UK[2]. Local language schools offer a wide range of locations — not only in the capital, but also in small, colorful German towns.

Advantages of language courses in Germany

  • Teaching at any time of the year. Many language schools accept applications every month, which allows students to choose the start date and duration of the course.
  • Low cost. On average, a week of an intensive language program (20-30 lessons) costs 380 USD, and accommodation in a school residence is 489 USD. For comparison, the average price for a week of courses in Switzerland is 543 USD.
  • Rapid language acquisition. Teachers use a communicative teaching methodology. This means that even at elementary levels, students speak the language most of the time.
  • Climate and ecology in the country. In world rankings of environmental cleanliness, Germany is in 15th place[3]. It also has a rather mild climate with cool summers (20-25°C) and warm winters (0-5°C)[4]. Therefore, language courses in Germany are a comfortable stay in any season.
  • Large selection of cities. German language schools are common in many German cities. Language courses for foreigners can be found not only in metropolitan areas, but also in small towns with a population of several tens of thousands of people.

Disadvantages of language courses in Germany

  • High prices for accommodation. In some cases, students of language schools have to look for housing on their own. The cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in Germany can reach up to 760 USD/month.
  • Lack of work opportunities. Students are not allowed to work if applying for a short-term or long-term visa for the purpose of taking a language course.
  • Seasonal costs. In the summer months, at the height of the season, students pay an additional 33 USD/week for education.

Cost of language courses in Germany

Enroll in a language course with UniPage

When enrolling in a language course, a lot of time is spent searching for schools, types of programs, and accommodation options in Germany.

At UniPage, we cooperate only with accredited language centers, which, besides offering quality education and accommodation, provide discounts to our clients. Our experts will tell you what programs are available at schools and universities in Germany, send an application, and ultimately save your time.

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Types of language courses in Germany

Type of programIntensityGroupMin. language requirementsMin. cost per week
Part-time course5-158-10Starter (A0)65 USD
General German15-2010-15Starter (A0)163 USD
Intensive German course20-305-15Starter (A0)201 USD
Super Intensive German course30 -405-15Starter (A0)353 USD
Crash course35-455-15Starter (A0)532 USD
One-to-one lesson2-401Starter (A0)54 USD/lesson
Exam preparation course20-2510-15Upper Intermediate (B2)380 USD
German for Professionals20-257-10Pre-intermediate (A2)1,086 USD
Study & Live in Your Teacher's Home20 -301Starter (A0)1,304 USD
German + University20-3010-15Starter (A0)652 USD
Teacher training25-3010-15Pre-intermediate (A2)348 USD
Studienkolleg35-4020-36Intermediate (B1)Free/3,802 USD/course
University German courses25-3010-18Elementary (A1)478 USD/course
University summer courses20-2510-15Starter (A0)483 USD/course

Language schools offer standard programs, the main purpose of which is to improve the level of the language. The type of standard course (Part-time, General, Intensive, Super Intensive, Crash courses) depends on the intensity (number of lessons per week).

  • Part-time courses are attended mainly by university students or foreign employees of German companies who study in their free time in the evening or on weekends.
  • Crash courses — courses of maximum intensity — are suitable for those who want to improve their language proficiency in the shortest possible time. In most schools, this type of program differs only in the number of lessons, but, for example, the Carl Duisberg schools offer crash courses that are regular intensive courses with 10-15 private lessons added to them.
  • One-to-one — private lessons. Their intensity depends on the school and the requests of the student.

While standard courses are found in every center and differ little from one another, specialized programs can be unique and vary greatly from school to school.

German for professionals (German for executives / Business German). Such programs are aimed at mastering the language necessary for negotiation, business correspondence, and making presentations. In most schools, such courses do not cover the professional vocabulary and terminology of a particular area.

Study & Live in Your Teacher's Home. This program is found in many countries of the world[5]. Students choose a course depending on their goals, and during the chosen period of time, live in a house with a teacher and study the language. This option is usually more expensive than regular courses, as the price always includes accommodation and meals.

German + University (University Pathway). The main goal of these programs is to prepare students for university admission. As part of the course, they usually prepare for an international language exam, and after passing it, the school helps to enter a university (by finding a suitable university and assisting with the application).

Teacher training. Some schools, such as DID (Deutsch in Deutschland) or GLS (German Language School), offer courses for teachers and those who aim to work in the field of education. In addition to language training, students study teaching methods, learn how to make lesson plans, and discuss approaches to organizing the pedagogical process.

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University language courses in Germany

Studienkolleg. These programs prepare foreign students for admission to universities in Germany. They take place at universities and help fill in any educational gaps — you cannot enter German universities for a bachelor’s degree immediately after 11th grade, requiring you to pursue one year of studies in your homeland or at a Studienkolleg. Some Studienkollegs offer courses to prepare for the TestDaF or DSH language exams. The course lasts 1-2 semesters. For admission, you need to confirm language proficiency at the B1-B2 level and be a graduate of the 11th grade.

University language courses. Language learning is possible not only at language schools, but also in German university courses. For admission, you need to have B1 proficiency, although some universities accept students without knowledge of German. Often, these courses are for those who are going to study at the bachelor's and master's level, but there are also those in which you can study without pursuing a degree, such as the GISMA Business School.

Summer schools. Universities also organize summer language courses. Admission requirements for such programs vary: an A1 level is enough to attend standard courses, but if you are preparing to pass a language exam, your proficiency must not be lower than B1. Such summer courses are available at the Universities of Munich and Heidelberg.

Pathway programs. These programs prepare students for admission to a university or Studienkolleg, and are available both at universities (GISMA) and language schools (GLS, DID). As part of the course, they prepare for international language exams. After passing the exam, the course organizers help students find a suitable university and submit an application.

More about the types of language courses

Features of admission to language schools in Germany

Submission of applications to language schools in Germany is available throughout the year. Usually, courses start 1-3 times a month. In the application, you can specify the expected start and end dates[6]. For admission, you need to fill out the application form on the website or send it by e-mail. In some schools, you need to pay a registration fee (from 27 USD). You will then receive a course booking confirmation and a receipt for payment. The school then sends a confirmation of the transfer of funds and an invitation letter.

Before paying, you should clarify the entrance requirements of the school. Standard language courses do not require knowledge of the language — upon arrival, students take a test, according to the results of which they are assigned to a group. But in order to be admitted to specialized and examination programs, your knowledge of German should at least be at the B1 level.

There are a few more nuances that need to be taken into account. When choosing a course, it is important to make sure that the school meets state standards. If the center is not accredited, you will be denied a visa. In addition, when you sign a contract, you need to carefully read the clauses that relate to the return and retention of funds. Each school has its own conditions: some withhold only the registration fee, and others — the cost of a two-week program.

Learning process in German language courses

The educational process is organized the same at most schools. Classes are held in the first half of the day, and in the evening after extracurricular activities, there is time for homework. The communicative methodology is taken as a basis — the teachers encourage you to speak German as much as possible. Students discuss topics in pairs and groups, and teachers monitor pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. If something remains unclear, DID has study centers that you can visit in your spare time to consult with teachers.

Accommodation options for studying in Germany

Accommodation optionsMealsNumber of people per roomMin. cost per weekAvg. cost per week
School residencefull board1-3206 USD489 USD
Host familyhalf board1-2185 USD380 USD
Youth hoteloptional1-2234 USD272 USD
Apartmentpaid by the student1-2196 USD489 USD
Hoteloptional1326 USD565 USD

Some schools include accommodation and meals in the cost of the program — keep this in mind when comparing prices for different courses.

Additional expenses

ExpenseMin.Avg.
Embassy consular fee38 USD81 USD
Medical insurance13 USD/week16 USD/week
Study materials22 USD38 USD
Delivery of an invitation by express mail54 USD76 USD
Airport transfers38 USD109 USD
Additional summer accommodation fee33 USD/week43 USD/week
Additional summer tuition fee38 USD/week49 USD/week

Check the school website for additional costs.

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Visa for language courses in Germany

Students of short-term courses lasting up to 3 months can apply for a Schengen type C visa, which allows you to stay in Germany for no more than 90 days. The term for issuing such a visa is 2-3 weeks. If the duration of the course exceeds 3 months, you need to apply for a national type D visa of the Sprachvisum subtype — particularly for language courses. It allows you to stay in the country from 3 to 12 months. At the same time, the intensity of classes should be at least 18 hours a week.

After completion of the language program, the Sprachvisum cannot be changed to a student visa if you decide to enter a university. You must return to your home country and submit a new application.

If problems arise during the visa process, it is best to notify the school. Some schools can help with the process by contacting the Visa Application Center directly, finding out the reasons for arising issues, sending additional documents (for example, if original copies are needed), and if necessary, rescheduling the start of the course.

Required documents:

  • Completed application form
  • 3 biometric photos
  • International passport
  • Invitation from a German language school indicating the venue, duration, and number of hours per week
  • Course payment confirmation
  • Proof of financial solvency
  • Biography describing previous education and professional activities
  • Documents on previous education
  • Motivation letter explaining the reason for taking a language course in Germany
  • Confirmation of payment for accommodation for the entire period of study
  • Consular fee payment confirmation
  • Medical insurance
  • Language certificates (if available)

Additional documents for applicants under 18 years of age:

  • Notarized consent from the guardian to travel abroad
  • Birth certificate

All documents (except for foreign and internal passports, as well as medical insurance) must be translated into German and notarized.

Working while taking language courses in Germany

Students who entered Germany on a Schengen type C visa are not allowed to work in the country. If a student of short-term language courses decides to work illegally and employees of the department for foreign citizens find out about this, the student faces immediate deportation from the country.
Holders of national type D visas are allowed to combine study with work (no more than 20 hours per week), but only if attending a language course is not the main purpose of the visit. Holders of the Sprachvisum are not allowed to work.

Most popular language schools in Germany

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Humboldt-Institut

This is a network of schools with centers in 16 German cities — both in large metropolitan areas (Berlin, Munich) and in sparsely populated ones (Lindenberg, Konstanz). The school offers different programs for all age groups and levels of language proficiency, and also prepares for university admission. The price of programs includes lessons, accommodation on campus, three meals a day, textbooks, daily entertainment programs, and weekly excursions. The duration of the course is from 1 week up to a year. The student chooses how long to attend the course, but it will take at least 5 weeks to master one level. Upon completion of the training, the student can take one of the international language exams: telc Deutsch (A1-C1) or TestDaF (C1-C2). The average cost of the course is 652 USD/week.

Berlin

DID deutsch-institut

The language centers of this network are also scattered throughout Germany: students study in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, and other major cities. Schools offer a wide range of programs, from standard German courses to university preparation and summer classes for children and teenagers. Schools provide students with all educational materials, accommodation, and meals. For students, entertainment events and excursions are also organized. The duration depends on the chosen program: standard courses last from 1 to 48 weeks, and some specialized courses (preparation for exams, summer courses) — from 1 week to 3 months. The average cost is 489 USD/week.

Hamburg

Best cities to learn German

State (Länder)CityPopulationSpending per month
BerlinBerlin3426354902 USD
HamburgMunich1260391992 USD
HamburgHamburg1739117945 USD
North Rhine-WestphaliaCologne963395932 USD
North Rhine-WestphaliaDortmund588462903 USD
HesseFrankfurt650000974 USD
Baden-WürttembergStuttgart589793897 USD
SaxonyDresden486854813 USD
North Rhine-WestphaliaDüsseldorf573057880 USD
Baden-WürttembergKonstanz85000851 USD

Germany is a federal republic and consists of 16 states or, as they are also called, Lands (Länder). Each Land has its own constitution and is autonomous in dealing with internal affairs.

When choosing a language course, pay attention to the Land to which the city belongs, as the German language has pronounced dialects which can greatly complicate listening to speech. There are more than 50 dialects in Germany, which are conditionally divided into three groups: High German, Middle German and Low German. Bavarian, Alemannic, Franconian and dialects of the Low German group are considered as the most incomprehensible[7].

Dialect map, Germany
Map of German dialects

Berlin

The capital and largest city of Germany is the heart of the country's cultural, political, and economic life. All this creates ideal conditions for learning not only the language, but also German history, politics, and culture. Berlin is truly international: immigrants from Turkey, Poland, Italy, France, the US, and many other European and Asian countries live here. Thanks to this, students get accustomed not only to standard German pronunciation (Standarddeutsch), but also to distinguished accents from other countries.

Munich

The capital of Bavaria and one of the most popular tourist destinations. Particularly attractive to tourists is Oktoberfest, the Bavaria Film Studio film distribution company, and the BMW Welt exhibition center. Language course students in Munich will always find something to do in their free time.

Cologne

One of the oldest cities in Germany. Narrow cobbled streets, traditional German houses, and many museums give the city a special charm. It is also home to the famous Cologne Cathedral, which is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the summer, various concerts, exhibitions, performances, and festivals are held here.

Hamburg

The second largest city after Berlin, Hamburg is known for its canals, parks, and numerous attractions, including the Hamburger Hafen (the city's port on the Elbe River) and the Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic Hall). Hamburg is home to many well-known language schools, and the dialect (Hamburger Platt) is close to standard German.

Konstanz

A historic university town on the shores of Lake Konstanz in southern Germany. Impressive architecture, museums and galleries, old city tours and cruises — this location is suitable for lovers of a leisurely lifestyle.

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