For professional expats in Germany, getting a handle on the language will not only help you feel more at home, but especially benefit your business affairs.
Relocating to a new country can feel like a lonely business, especially if you don’t speak the language. For professionals especially, getting a handle on the language will not only help you feel more at home, but especially give you confidence while handling business affairs.
Learning German may be a necessity if you’re vying for a spot in a company that requires fluency. But even if you can get away with switching back to English after a practised “schön Sie kennen zu lernen” (“nice to meet you”), acquiring the basics and being able to throw industry-specific vernacular into the conversation are skills that can make all the difference in the workplace – and make your resume shine. Expatica, offers the inside track on what to look for from a German language school.
Qualities to expect from a German language school geared towards professionals
A language school should make you feel comfortable and at home. Just like in primary school, small classes are best to get personal attention and feel supported and motivated.
Learning a new language shouldn’t be a chore, or make you feel like you’re tied to yet another office desk, so the right school will offer an enjoyable and open (and why not even fun!) learning environment.
Qualified, helpful staff are important too. At a top language school, teachers will have a specific teaching German as a foreign language qualification from a University in Germany, and will always be native speakers.
And while most language schools employ staff on contracts that vary based on demand, the best will employ their teachers on a full-time basis, meaning they will have greater motivation and more of an interest in helping you on your journey.
How quickly can you learn German?
Learning German in a few short weeks is impossible, unless you’re already multi-lingual and have a knack for foreign languages. It’s important to be realistic – and for your chosen school to be, too. German in its true form can’t be mastered quickly – it is a process and there is no shortcut.
Elite language schools will offer courses that fit around your work or personal life, whether you want to embark on an intensive full-time course or an evening class two or three times a week. If you’re in a hurry to start mastering these famous German compounded words, or if you struggle with group settings, look into the option of private classes. If you’re a great fit for the position but your German conversation stops at “Guten Tag”, your employer may even pay for the crash course – check with your HR department.
Learning German takes work on both parts: yours and the teacher’s. Your eagerness to progress, even through the unavoidable hurdles and plateaus, makes a huge difference. The end-game is worth it: your new language skills will benefit you on a day to day basis and throughout your career. Studies have even shown that becoming bilingual makes your brain more flexible and could ward off Alzheimer!
Language qualifications in Germany
Qualifications in the German language are based on the framework of a recognised European Language Classification, and you should choose a school that offers examinations that result in a TestDaf, DSH, Goethe or Telc-Test certificate.
Your school should offer courses in German as a Foreign Language at all levels of difficulty, from the basic comprehension and conversational language found in level A1 through to mastery of the language at level C2.
Tailored German classes
If you’re an employer looking to send your staff on a German language course, there are specialized schools that offer bespoke solutions especially tailored for your company. There is a wide range of options, from helping your new employee acquire the basics with a crash-course, all the way to making the long-term investment of coaching them until they master the German language.
For an elite language school, it’s all about customising the content to help the specific client. While it’s naturally better to learn the language over time and become a fluent German speaker, some businesses simply want their staff to master the terminology they’ll need in the workplace. This could mean signing up for a business language course for a specific industry, for example focusing on the language used in the finance or technology sectors.