Intensive German courses in Germany for non-amateur language learners?
Thread poster: George Hawkins
George Hawkins
Mar 26, 2007

Hi ProZ members --

There are many organizations offering "intensive" German language courses in Germany, e.g. the Goethe Institut or Inlingua.

Intensive seems to mean about 3 to 3.5 hours a day, 5 days a week for eight weeks.

I've done this kind of course before for other languages and always felt that I could handle more hours in an environment that pushed its students harder.

Schools like Inlingua have to accommodate their slowest students or obviously they will leave (they are paying just as much money as anyone else and have a reasonable right to expect to be taught).

While I'm not a language professional, i.e. I'm not a translator or a linguist, I have a good understanding of language and know I can handle a fairly aggressive programme.

I intend to take several months out from work to do the course I decide on, and would like to feel afterwards that I'd made the maximum progress I was capable of in the time I had.

So can you recommend a course that targets itself at people who are prepared to put in a lot of effort, already know maybe one or two other European languages and will be reasonably quick at picking up another one?

Thanks - I'd really appreciate any suggestions people have.


PS I used the term "non-amateur" in the subject line for this posting, obviously compared to the many professionals who contribute to these forums I certainly am an amateur. I just chose it to try and get across my meaning quickly.

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erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:06
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
As I came to Germany, Mar 27, 2007

I visited university courses. Every university offers language courses. They are quite good and cheap. Goethe Institute has also a good image for language courses.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:06
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
This may help Mar 27, 2007

Hi George,

By your own definition of non-amateur, you may want to use the DAAD interface:

While DAAD does not exactly focus on German as a foreign language, it facilitates the acquisition and/or improvement of German for specialists in other fields.


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:06
German to English
+ ...
Custom program of software, Pimsleur, immersion, 1-on-1 Mar 27, 2007

If you already have experience with languages and are serious about learning, the last place I would recommend is a group course. My suggestion would be a combination of the following:

1) Self-teaching course/DVD. You can go at your own pace, learning grammar and vocabulary on your computer. The Langenscheidt Expresskurs (Italian) has made a good impression on me, maybe they make something similar for learning German. I assume you'll need something more extensive of course. I'm sorry I can't be more specific, but with the money you save on classroom courses, you can probably afford to experiment around a bit here.

2) Pimsleur German course. e.g. the "organic" way of learning a language:
Basically you listen to CDs of native speakers saying phrases and repeat what you hear. This is a great counterpart to the drier grammatic coursework. Also very convenient while jogging, driving, doing housework, etc.

3) One-on-one tutoring. I'm sure you can find someone to hire for a couple of times a week. Should be a native speaker IMO, and if possible, you should speak only German with the tutor.

4) Immersion. It's one thing to learn grammar and repeat phrases, but living a language 24/7 makes a huge difference. Ideally you would live in Germany for the 2-3 months of this course. This will make it much easier to find a native tutor, too.

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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:06
German to English
+ ...
Play Skat? Mar 29, 2007

Good points from Michele.

From memory, I think Goethe-Institut also offers "super-intensive" course.

Another possibilty, alongside a course, is to involve yourself in some kind of activity with natives. I chose playing Skat (a quintessentially Germanic card game), although some of the language you learn playing Skat may get you into trouble in other contexts....

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Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:06
Member (2007)
German to English
RE: Play Skat? Mar 30, 2007

Richard Benham wrote:
Another possibilty, alongside a course, is to involve yourself in some kind of activity with natives. ....

In addition to playing Skat, you could sell your soul. That's
what I'm doing in Düsseldorf to supplement my course work.

Both Catholic and Evangelical churches support numerous
discussion groups and activities. I've attended two meetings
of St. Martin's open faith round table (offener
Glaubensstammtisch) and I've already met some really
interesting people there. The same happened at the
Immanual Evangelische Friedenskirche's current events
discussion round table.

You could also try volunteer work (ehrenamtliche Arbeit) in
one of the church libraries, or by visiting hospitals or
nursing homes. I haven't had as much luck in this area, but
maybe with time, I can find something suitable.

I'm sure the respecive Islamic, Jewish or Buddhist
organizations support similar programs, but I haven't

Finally, try signing up for non-language related courses at
the Volkshochschule or the ASG. This semester I've
booked courses in Matrix Algebra, Excel Spreadsheet
Application, and Modern Art History in addition to my DaF

My German classmates seem slightly bemused to find a
German speaking US American in their midst. Without
exception, I've found them to be friendly, helpful,
reasonable, intelligent people. They've always made me
feel welcome and one of the group. So far, they've
turned out to be a truly wonderful bunch of folks.

One thing to keep in mind is that your evenings are golden.
Although the unemployment rate is high in Germany right
now, most people work during the day. So most non-DaF
courses, and all of the discussion groups happen, after

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