Language Schools

The Ultimate Guide to Learning German Abroad

Interested in learning German? Our guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from where to learn the language abroad to how to find the best language program!

Whether you’re new to the language or have good foundational knowledge, learning German abroad can accelerate your skills and enrich your life in ways classroom study at home can’t. While studying German overseas will cost more than learning from YouTube or an app at home, it’s a serious investment that will take you far, academically and personally.

Read on to find out how to make your dreams of studying German abroad with our ultimate guide!

Why you should learn German abroad

You likely have your own reasons for studying German, be it for school, work, family, or even love! Here are some reasons why you should continue your German studies abroad:

  • It’s a beneficial language for traveling in Europe: It’s estimated that around 130 million people worldwide speak German as a first or second language. In addition to Germany, German is an official language in Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.
  • German grammar can be difficult: A trained and experienced native teacher knows how to explain tricky grammar points like cases and genders that can trip English speakers up. They will be able to correct you in real-time and answer any and all questions you’ll likely have.
  • It’s a good way to make German-speaking friends: Native-speaker friends can help you practice in a natural setting. They’ll also introduce you to the best local spots. These connections can open up a lifetime of friendship!
  • You can both learn about and experience important cultural points: Learning about German culture and food in a textbook is nothing like experiencing it firsthand. Some language schools may take you on field trips to supplement hands-on learning and practice.
  • Total immersion is a valuable way to learn a language: In your home country, your German learning usually ends when you walk out of the classroom or put down your phone or tablet. In a German-speaking country though, you’ll be surrounded by endless opportunities to listen to and speak the language. This will help you absorb it faster!

Best places to learn German abroad

People walk near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

There are a lot of great destinations with German courses, though the majority are located in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Here are a few of the best places to learn German abroad!

  • Berlin, Germany: Famous for its arts scene, Berlin is also brimming with history. If museums, innovative art and tech, and a diverse food scene are up your alley, Berlin should be at the top of your list.
  • Munich, Germany: Travel further south in Germany and you’ll discover Munich in the heartland of Bavaria. Munich is the home of Oktoberfest so if you like brass bands, beer, and bratwurst, then this is the place for you. It’s also a great jumping-off point for weekend trips to Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.
  • Cologne, Germany: Heading to Germany’s west side, located closer to Brussels and Amsterdam than it is to Berlin, this 2,000-year-old city spans the famous Rhine River. During World War II almost all of the city was bombed, and its modern rebuild makes it one of the most unique-looking cities in Germany. Spend your weekends walking the cobblestone streets in the city’s Old Town and enjoying the city’s cultural offerings and fairs.
  • Vienna, Austria: Austria’s beautiful capital is the cultural, political, and economic center of the country. Enjoy a world-famous coffee while you study after class or have a night out at the opera and experience the country’s musical history.
  • Zurich, Switzerland: Switzerland’s largest city is a great place to study, with its beautiful lakeside restaurants and shops and the numerous walking paths through the Altstadt (old town) that show off its medieval history.

Cost of learning German abroad

When learning German abroad, there are several costs to factor into your budget. These figures are just a guide and will vary based on the city you choose. When you do your research be sure to include the following in addition to the course tuition:

  • Airfare
  • Housing (unless included in course fee)
  • Food
  • Excursions, cultural activities, and entertainment

Courses that include accommodation can start at anywhere from $500-$800 per week though this depends on the location.

Don’t forget to search for available scholarships through DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service.

How to choose a German language program

Three people sit at a table.

Choosing a German language program is as simple as these two steps! Let’s break it down to give you a starting point for your German learning journey.

1. Identify your needs

Before you start researching, you’ll need to figure out what you want in a program. Some points to consider include:

  • Cost: Your budget will help guide your potential location as well as the length of time you spend abroad.
  • Length: How much time do you have to spend abroad? Are you looking for short and intensive or longer term?
  • Location: Do you want to check out Oktoberfest or go skiing in the Alps? Are you happier in a big city or close to nature? Do you need to learn a certain dialect for work or future university studies?
  • Goals: Are your language goals seriously focused on fluency or are you looking for a fun, laid-back cultural experience?

2. Search for programs

GO has loads of great German language schools to choose from. You can filter by location and length and read reviews from participants to get an honest view of the programs.

Continue your journey learning German abroad

There are countless fabulous destinations to take your German to the next level, you just need to choose one and start the adventure. Take strides in your language journey by finding the perfect German language school for you – you won’t regret it!