Our country’s ties with Germany extend deep into history: our royals married into German royalty, our ideologies and cultures bear strong similarities; even our language has its roots in the German tongue!
Notwithstanding the naval and military tensions of the late 19th Century that put us on opposite sides during the two World Wars, as things stand now, we have more in common with the people in German-speaking countries than ever before.
There is, however, one area where German speakers surpass us: learning a language.
Generally, school students in Germany start learning English around the third grade, although some may start as soon as kindergarten.
They continue with their English courses through secondary school and often may be compelled to take English as a second language at university.
Our forays into learning a foreign language pale in comparison… but we don’t have to let that record stand!
With the wealth of language centres, open courses and institutes that cater to those learning German, there is absolutely no reason why we couldn’t learn the language of Goethe at least as well as our Germanic counterparts learn English.
Your Superprof now takes you on a tour of select UK cities to find the best German courses.
Language programs will often incorporate many learning tools including books and audio Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
In the course of our travels, three names came up over and over again.
They represent our country’s three main language learning franchises, and all of them operate along similar lines.
They all offer a free placement test to help determine your German skills, if any, and conduct a brief interview to find out what your language learning goals are.
Obviously, learning German is your goal, but for what purpose: business? Taking a holiday? Getting ready to sit an exam – GCSEs, A-Levels or the TestDaF, so you can attend university in Germany?
Once they know that little bit about you, they will be able to place you in the learning environment that would best suit your needs:
Listen and Learn and Language Trainers are by far the most popular of this type of facility. In addition to the course structures above, you could also learn with one of their German teachers online.
Cactus Language Centre tends to be a bit more exclusive and makes a more pronounced distinction between their Business German and General German language learning services.
There is a lot to be said for franchises – a streamlined product, most often delivered with a guarantee.
On the other hand, aiming for the safe and predictable means that you might miss out on the truly innovative learning experiences you could have at a homegrown language school that is, more often than not, run by a native speaker of German.
City by city, we now report on them.
Listening to a podcast in German while on your way to language class is a great way to get yourself primed for learning Image by Анастасия Гепп from Pixabay
The University of Glasgow is one of the many unis in the country to offer open courses in German.
Naturally, their mainstay is degree programmes so, if you are currently studying for your A-Levels in German, you might consider enrolling with them.
The courses we’re talking about are open to university students as well as the general public.
You should have some knowledge of the German language because they offer no foundation courses. However, their curriculum follows a traditional progression.
So, if you complete the entire range of German language courses in their open course catalogue, you may prove your German language skills through an exam at the Goethe Institut.
Did you know that Glasgow is one of only three cities in the UK with a branch of this institute?
Learn what other aspects of German learning are unique to Glasgow…
As in Glasgow, so in Edina.
We did mention that Glesga is one of many cities whose universities short courses are open to the public; the University of Edinburgh is another.
Unlike Glasgow’s courses which last an entire term, these courses last just one month each and, also contrary to the University of Glasgow, you may take these courses with no prior knowledge of German language and culture.
If you are somewhere in the intermediate range of German, you should consult their guidelines to see which language lessons would be in line with your current abilities.
Did you know that the University of Edinburgh also offers free German lessons? You can find out more in our full-length article…
If we had to put it to a vote, results would show that this city provides some of the most extensive courses of German as a foreign language.
And, of that multitude of language study opportunities, the Language Gallery sets the standard.
They take the communicative approach to teaching, meaning that your German teacher will not utter a single word in English; all of the instruction will be done strictly in your target language.
You needn’t worry about being in over your head; through interactive exercises and activities, you will understand German faster than you ever thought possible!
The grammar lessons and verb conjugation drills that you anticipated (and perhaps dreaded) do not feature in a language course such as this.
Instead, you will be taught common words and German phrases that you can put to use immediately during your learning and in your daily life.
Why not learn more about this method of learning a new language in Birmingham?
It’s not uncommon to see such a halcyon scene at Christmas markets in Germany Image by Dar1930 from Pixabay
Our country’s second financial capital has some pretty remarkable German social clubs!
In fact, so abundant and so much fun are these associations that we’ve discussed them at length in our article on learning German in Leeds.
Each group gets together about once per month to enjoy a meal, usually consisting of German fare, and they discuss upcoming events, such as the city’s Oktoberfest celebration or their presence at the city’s Christmas market.
Even though they do not (formally) teach anyone how to speak German, if you are a Germanophile whose language skills have grown rusty from disuse, you can count on the friendly folks from the various German associations in Leeds to get your German words flowing again.
This historic city has a lot to brag about, not the least of which is the open and welcoming atmosphere of its largest college, Belfast Metropolitan.
Whether you speak intermediate or advanced German – or no German at all, the Met has a course especially for you.
If the extent of your German vocabulary is ‘Guten Tag’ and ‘Danke shön’, you need the Met’s German 1 course, replete with new words and German verbs that you can use to put basic sentences together.
Conversely, if you’ve already taken several German language classes, you could jump right to German 3 or 4.
They also offer several Improver classes; these would be ideal if you’ve studied German in the past but have not had a chance to make use of your language skills in a while.
If you are not sure of your German level, you should talk with a student adviser who may give you a short test to find out.
By the way, did you know you could stay abreast of your German learning by watching Deutsche Welle television programming?
Of course, you could watch German television from anywhere provided that you have a fast Internet connection.
But adding Welle to the many opportunities to practise reading and writing in German, as well as developing your listening and speaking skills in Belfast will help you master German that much sooner!
Right about now, City Council members are embroiled in setting aside resources and planning entertainment for the Cardiff Oktoberfest.
Have you been? Isn’t it great? Do you think it tops the Bavarian one? There’s really only one way to find out…
Go to Germany, mingle among native speakers and immerse yourself into the atmosphere to fully experience the authentic German celebration.
There is still time for you to partake of language instruction before you go… or, perhaps you would rather visit Stuttgart.
Did you know that our lovely city is twinned with Germany’s fourth-largest metropolitan area? What an incentive to visit there… but you should learn to speak a bit of German before you go.
The main outlets for learning German in Cardiff are the franchise operations discussed above.
However, nothing says you can’t engage a Superprof tutor to learn German online or in your home…
You may learn German with a tutor online from anywhere in the country or overseas Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
It would be a stretch to say that we’ve saved the best for last, but we can honestly say that we’ve saved the most extensive list of opportunities for learning the German language till now.
In London, you could (theoretically) throw a rock and, chances are, you will hit someone whose native language is German – be they a visitor to our capital city or someone who teaches in a language school.
That being said, we hope you don’t put this theory to the test by randomly throwing rocks; much easier will be to follow our guide for finding German lessons in London.
What reasons might you have for speaking German?
You might, for instance, be planning your move to Berlin – one of London’s sister-cities, to work on your startup. Did you know that the capital of Germany is THE place for tech startups?
If you plan to live in Germany, you will certainly need to know more than just a few words and phrases in German; in fact, to register your business there, you will need to prove your German-speaking ability.
Fortunately, the London branch of the Goethe Institut not only administers the European Framework of Reference exam that will certify your language skills; they provide German test preparation classes!
As you can plainly see, opportunities to learn German abound in the UK.
Whether you would prefer to take classes in a German language school or in your home with a German tutor; even if you opt for lessons at the Goethe Institute…
There is no reason for you to sacrifice your love of learning because of a lack of opportunity.
All across the UK, ever more people are engaging in German studies – for professional reasons, academic reasons or for the sheer love of learning. You’ll be happy to count yourself among their numbers, won’t you?
Wir drücken dir die Daumen! (that means ‘good luck’!)