Friday, November 23, 2012

Learning German in Berlin

Over the years, I've tried a number of German language schools in Berlin. The quality of the instruction varies, and price is no guarantee that a course will be good. Here are a few tips.

The Goethe-Institut is top-notch, but quality comes at high price. A four week course will run about 1000€. Located in Mitte, the Goethe-Institut has an excellent library, classroom visual aids, computers, Wi-Fi, and German DVDs and CDs for loan.

The Goethe-Institut is aimed at short-term visitors and university students. There are plenty of extracurricular activities, including tours of the city, organized excursions to the opera, theater, and other entertainment venues. The quality of the instruction is generally good, and class size is around 18 students. Synopsis: Overpriced. 

A non-threatening place to learn German with an emphasis on verbal communication skills. A four week course will cost about 600€. Located in Wilmersdorf, the quality of the instruction is very good, and the teachers take their job seriously. The instructors are patient, friendly, and know how to teach. Classes have about 14 students. The Neue Schule has extracurricular activities, including tours of Berlin and excursions to nearby cities. Wi-Fi is available but limited to the main building. Synopsis: Friendly atmosphere with good instruction. 

Located in Schöneberg, the Hartnackschule is a bargain at around 200€ for a four week course. The quality of the instruction varies widely. Beware, some instructors are excellent, a few are okay, and some are just terrible. Class size runs around 24 students.

The Hartnackschule tends to attract people residing in Berlin that need to improve their language skills for work or school. Accordingly, there is an emphasis on grammar rather than verbal communication. There are no extracurricular activities and no Wi-Fi. You get what you pay for. However, for the enthusiastic student who wants to learn German, this is the place to go. Synopsis: No frills but okay. 

Located in Mitte, the did Deutsch-Institut is pricey. A standard four week course will cost around 740€. Class size is small at around 10-12 students. The instruction is middle of the road. It's neither good nor bad. There's no course book, just daily handouts. Moreover, the Institut provides no Wi-Fi or extracurricular activities. Synopsis: Small classes with mediocre instruction.


Danny said...

I have heard some nice things about the Neue Schule and I was thinking to start there my German language courses, but the prices are so high that I had to reconsider. I have experience though with 2 language schools. I first started learning German in Volkshochschule ( ) which is a public language school, with quite over-crowded classrooms with many people of different level of knowledge. Personally, I can’t say that I was really satisfied with this school as it is not so well-organised but it was a budget solution and was better than nothing. It costs 160 for 5 weeks of everyday courses. After Volkshochschule I came across with Deutschakademie ( ), which provides a 4 week’s time program every month. It provides a good education and the program costs 205euro, which is not much compare to many other language schools that have really high prices. However, Volkshochschule can be a solution for a newcomer with low budget, who struggles to learn German and survive in his new life in Berlin.

Fernando De Leon said...

Thanks for the recommendations!