Most people come and try some German courses at some time during their stay. Here are the most popular places in the Expat community. When you want to search for courses, look for Deutsch als Fremdsprache, or German as a Foreign Language.
For the most sure way to improve your language, we recommend an intensive program. IFS is by far the most popular and everyone speaks well of it. They also offer evening courses for professionals 2x/6 hours/week.
VHS, or Volkshochschule, is a government-run adult education system. There are several locations and a huge variety of possible courses. These courses are tied to textbooks, so each course will work its way through one book. This technique will allow an introduction to the necessary elements, but will probably not allow for enough practice to build confidence and integration of structures. The classes are affordable, but can be a bit larger (closer to 20 students). Most courses meet 2 or 3 times per week. There are morning and evening courses. (VHS also offers some classes in English for cooking,culture and starting a business)
This is a community center run by the Evangelical Church in Bad Godesburg which offers a smaller, more intimate, setting. Most of their Deutsch als Fremdsprache courses are offered 2 mornings a week. These courses allow for much more conversational practice but are not as formally structured. They also offer many courses for children and adults related to music, art, cooking, cultural topics, etc. These courses are in high demand and fill up quite soon after they are published. The new course listing are usually released in December, for the spring, and August (?) for the fall. You can then check the web site or pick up one of their small catalogues.
Alternative and 'real' language learning
If you are tired of courses, try some of the following for improving your German:
- You can get regular emails from Deutsche Welle with audio articles and practice exercises (It is the basic email I have forwarded to you). They also have more traditional online courses and podcasts. (free)
- Yabla is a subscription video service. I really like their videos - authentic German videos. You can also sign up for their emails which give a grammar lesson with links to videos to practice (paid monthly subscription)
- Fluentu is similar, but their videos aren’t all original German. For example, you might see an American film clip with German dubbing. however, I like their exercises better and their email subscriptions are really good for tips and sources for learning German and foreign language in general. (paid monthly subscription)
- Lyricstraining is similar to the other two, but just does songs and quiz games where you have to find the missing words. I personally think songs are fabulous for learning, and you can add them to a playlist so the German sentences will stick in your head. (some free songs, but paid for full access)
- Deutsche Perfekt is a German magazine for learners of German. They have really interesting articles that can enhance your understanding of living in Germany. You get 10 print issues/year with a subscription. You also have online access to some articles and exercises. Additionally, you can subscribe to the cds and/or practice booklets to supplement the print version.
For best practice, find people to practice what you study with. Maybe find a neighbor/friend who is willing to sit down with you and chat every week. You could talk about something you read or learned from one of the sources above. Alternatively, you take a class in a subject that interests you at Haus der Familie or VHS - you could join an art or cooking class to get more advanced practice.
These discussion groups are run by volunteers and are designed for those in the expat community who need English to make further connections in the expat community. They meet in local cafes and focus each meeting on a different topic.
A special one week intensive course for someone needing to review the basics of English grammar.