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Goethe Institut - How much does it help?

  Tags: Germany
 Language Learning Forum : Immersion, Schools & Certificates Post Reply
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4131 days ago

114 posts - 167 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German

 Message 1 of 3
12 March 2015 at 7:17am | IP Logged 
I have been learning German every day since November. I'm really enjoying it and I'm aiming for a B1 in six
from now. To really speed up my German learning, I'm planning on attending the month long
Premium Intensive 4 plus in Frankfurt,
Germany this Fall, after I reach a self-assessed B1.

Conservatively, what CEFR level do you think I'd be at by the end of the course?*

*Additionally any first-hand experience with the Goethe Instiut would be appreciated

Edited by leroc on 12 March 2015 at 7:33am

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 4829 days ago

3277 posts - 6779 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 Message 2 of 3
12 March 2015 at 1:08pm | IP Logged 
Well, I attended a similar, even though shorter, intensive course in Germany a few
years ago. It wasn't Goether but another school with good reputation. I was a bit
disappointed because, despite the school being really good considering it was a school
with group classes, it still reminded me of most reasons why I don't usually join the
classes (various needs of individual students, time spent mostly listening to other
students not to the natives, one of the two teachers wasn't good, it wasn't too
motivating and so on). But it is a good way to learn a language for many people or at
least a good opportunity, so if the money is no problem, it shouldn't hurt.

I think the CEFR levels are a tricky thing in such a case. What kind of level are you
supposed to be (or rather a level you should get a foundation for), that's something
you'll be told (usually, it's something like 2-4 weeks for A1, the same for A2, 4-8
for B1...). The program you put a link to appears to have larger individual freedom
when it comes to pace, so it might depend on you and not on the pace chosen by the
institution to some extent. However, there are huge differences between individual
students who have got the same amount of classes with the same material and same
things covered.

Just a word of advice:

1.If you can, choose to stay in a native family, not among other learners many of
which are very likely to revert to English (or another language a group of them
shares). That is probably the most valuable part of the process and immersion.

2.Ask whether the Goethe Institut has more groups of the level at once and is
therefore likely to allow you to switch, should you not like the teacher. And whether
you'll be allowed to change the group, should you be put into a too low level or
should you progress significantly faster (for exemple due to having learnt most of the
content before).

3.Prepare for immersion outside the classroom as well. For me, as a beginner, it was
totally awesome to go into a supermarket, a bookshop, ask for directions and all that
with my really low level German. If you are already more advanced, look up cinemas or
cultural events in the area. Watch German TV, get a book in German or whatever else.
Do not switch to English after classes unless you really have to.

4.Study outside the classroom. Even when you feel you have studied for so many hours,
do not give up entirely on your usual methods, unless you're too tired :-)

5.If you are still not entirely sure and decided, check out more schools than just the
most famous one, which is Goethe Institut. The most famous one doesn't always have to
be significantly better than some others, even though it tends to be the most
expensive one.
4 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4353 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 3 of 3
12 March 2015 at 2:15pm | IP Logged 
I did the night courses (a bit shorter than day courses) for A1, A2 and B1 at the Goethe Institute a few years ago in Berlin.

I found them fairly unhelpful, as did most of the other students (say 13 out of 15). The courses I did were very grammar heavy, with little vocabulary learning, and much of the input is done listening to other students, who often can't speak very well anyway.

I wouldn't say the course was a complete waste of time, but it seemed so incomplete that it really made it hard to progress.

I personally would skip Goethe altogether and instead self learn Assimil and then try to do some sort of home stay with people who want speak German with you. If you want to do an intensive course, there are lots on offer in Germany, many (all?) cheaper than Goethe.

4 persons have voted this message useful

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