Learning German in Germany

Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 34
Learning German in Germany

I've looked at a couple of courses for Seniors (50 +) - has anyone taken such a course and if so what advice would you give. My favorite area of travel is predominently German speaking (Bavaria, the Tyrol, South Tyrol) and I'd like to enhance my enjoyment by being able to more fully comunicate. Any advice will be appreciated.
Tessie2 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,517
what are these courses, Tessie? can you post links for us to look at?

many years ago I spent a month with family through the Goethe institute, but I was still at school so it's probably not the sort of thing you're looking for.
annhig is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,503
I haven't done that in Germany, but in France, and can only recommend it. It is great to be learning a language while living in a place, and it's fun to get to know other students.

My only comment is that I wouldn't necessarily look for classes just for seniors as I imagine there aren't going to be that many. NOt sure what you found in that regard. I wasn't a college kid when I first started studying languages abroad, I was about 40 and have done it off and on since then into my 50s. So I have mainly gone to university summer programs (now they may not have those in Germany, in France it is a big thing, the govt even subsidizes the teaching of French to foreigners), which I really liked due to the ambience and the ability to live in a residence hall, and the education quality was very high also. But there are always various private programs of languages to foreigners, and most of them have mature students as they may be people learning it for business or expats. SO I wouldn't just look for classes for seniors. IN my university classes in Paris, there were actually quite a few adults (although lots of college kids taking it for the summer) for the same reasons. SOme just doing it for personal reasons, as I was, some for business, and some teachers doing it to buff up their credentials. I went to a Catholic university one summer in Paris, so that was interesting, as a lot of nuns and monks got sent there to learn French if they were in that kind of order, nice summer gig. So they were older, also, of course, up to their 70s, probably.

People have their own preferences, I really prefer university classes to private schools for various reasons, and they do tned to have a wider variety of students, I think. At least in my experience. But I don't know if they have that kind of thing in Germany and other people do prefer the small, homestay, private class thing.

for example, here is a private school in Munich and all the photos are of pretty young people http://www.bws-germanlingua.de/
or http://www.tandem-muenchen.de/
Here's the same thing in Regensberg, also looks young.

So if you've found a program you like for seniors, that's great, actually, I would probably like it better to be around contemporaries than a bunch of 20 somethings myself, I just thought there wouldn't be many. I've heard of Elderhostel or something (I think they changed name) but I didn't think they did language vacations.

someone else will know a lot more than me about German schools, that's for sure, and I hope they'll weigh in. There is someone named pegontheroad (I think) on here who visits Germany a lot and knows the language, so maybe she has done this.
Christina is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 04:04 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 11,835
I have attended several Goethe Institutes in Germany, and I liked them. They don't seem to have courses specifically for seniors, but ages in the classes range from 20's to late 70's.

There was a Japanese man in my last class who was 77, and I think I was 71 or 72. The students came from many different countries, which enriched the experience for me.

Class lengths ranged from 4 weeks to as long as you want to stay. There used to be a program called "vario," which allowed students to study for shorter periods; however, I am not sure whether they still have that.

I suggest that you might look at the Goethe Institute website. I put in "Goethe Institute in Germany" so as to cut through all the other locations and get you where you want to go.

I tried to post a link, but I'm not very good with that sort of thing, and I messed it up.
Pegontheroad is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 07:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 34
Thanks to Annhig, Christina and Pegontheroad, all useful information. Annhig - the Goethe institue do offer a course in Schwaebisch Hall called Deutches 50 here is a link to their Brochure the course is on page 8 and 9


Christina I'm encouraged by your experience, thanks for the links I'll explore them

Pegontheroad - I've read several of your posts and enjoy your enthusiasm for travel and Germany - let me know what you think about the course on that link. What cities have you studied in?
Tessie2 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 08:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,699
Hi Tessie2,

I'm another one who studied at Goethe for two weeks (in Dresden) and loved it! I didn't go through the Institute for housing but contracted to live in a Ferienwohnung during the course (I'm picky about privacy).

Even though I'm over 50, I didn't take the over-50 course and studied with a mixed group. There were three other people in my age range, but I also made friends with others from all ages. I think the only difference in the courses is that there are more cultural activities thrown in for the older classes.

Some of the locations only allow you to study for four weeks, so be careful of that! I would dearly love to study in Freiburg, for instance, but they don't offer a two-week course. I can't leave my cat for a full month!

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 10:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,493
Goethe institutes have a good reputation, but my wife went to a really cheap school that was used by recent immigrants eg a few euros per day and within a week she was conversing well in German. She tried a similar school as Goethe but did not really make much progress as most of the people there could speak English so they would just speak to each other in English. At the cheap school no one could speak English, therefore the only way to communicate was in German

I'll try to find the name of the school in Munich
Geordie is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 11:10 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,763
If you are in Germany, any Volkshochschule will do what you want. And it is inexpensive.

You can either get an intensive course or a more leisurely paced one.
sparkchaser is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 05:20 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 465
My friend, also a senior citizen (but don't tell him that!), has gone numerous times to a school in Bamberg called Treffpunkt. He really loves it. They will help you find lodging. Here is the website: http://www.learn-german.com.

Hope you find something that suits your needs.
tom18 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 02:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 34
Thanks for all the great advice, I'm re-thinking my plan to do a 'senior's' course and looking at all the possibilities - that also means that the dates are more flexible - so don't have to stick by that 1 timetable.
I'll do more mulling and then ask more questions. Planning is tons of fun.
Tessie2 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 938
I'd recommend not to do the very basic grammar courses in Germany since they have nothing to do with speaking, i.e. it doesn't matter whether you do them at home or in Germany.

The big advantage of doing a language course in country appears if you can speak at least a little bit of the language.
Hans is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 05:32 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 11,835
I'll be darned. I knew that there was a course for seniors at one time, but didn't see it when I looked on the website. I also didn't know they had 2 week courses.

My last institute was at Schwábisch Hall, which is a lovely walled city that is not overrun with tourists. I also studied at two venues that are no longer in existence--Staufen (near Freiburg am Bresgau) and Prien am Chiemsee and also a one-time two-week program in 1990 at Schwäbisch Gmund.

I think you get out of these programs what you put into them. If you hang around with English speakers and talk to them, you don't learn as much.
Pegontheroad is online now  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 09:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,699
Yes, I agree with Pegontheroad -- if you commit to speaking German, then you will learn more.

When I was at Goethe, we had folks from France, Japan, China, Latvia, the Middle East, and the USA. We usually spoke our rudimentary German to each other on the breaks.

swandav2000 is online now  
Aug 24th, 2013, 03:16 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,517
at the italian language school I attended, it was a house rule that we always spoke italian to each other, at pauses, lunch breaks, on excursions, everywhere.

it took a bit of discipline at first, but it was well worth it, particularly in mixed ability groups where the beginners could learn from the more advanced.
annhig is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:47 AM.