If you want to learn German in the most efficiently German way possible, meaning achieving the highest level as fast as possible, then Goethe Institut offers the best courses. Here I have spent the past 5 months learning, and managed to climb from an A1-2 level (beginner) to a B2 level (intermediate/advanced). After 4 months, I was hired in the Hamburg-based offices of an international company, where I have to work the whole day in German. After 4 months of intensive courses, the level Goethe Institut gave me was good enough for me to work full time in German. In 4 months! And that’s exactly what I needed, the most efficient way to learn German. Of course learning a language takes a lot of time, but I didn’t have the time (or money) to take years to learn it. So a quick google search of German Classes in Hamburg brought me to Goethe, and I can only say how satisfied I am with the investment. Of course, there are cheaper places, that maybe offer 3 hour daily classes instead of Goethe’s 5, but I needed the quickest way to learn the best German I could learn. At Goethe, you get a great combination of high quality teachers, an international atmosphere and fun cultural activities, right in the center of Hamburg!
So, how does Goethe Institut work?
There are 4 week intensive courses (8-13 or 13:30-18), 2 week intensive courses (where you join the 4 week classes but only stay for half the time), or evening classes (18:30-21:30). When you sign up, you take a short online test to see your level, and on the first Monday of the month you have to go and do a face to face interview with one of the teachers. The classes start on the next day, and you will be allocated a time and class depending on your level (A1-B1 classes are in the morning and B2-C1 are in the afternoon). During the lesson you will have 2 breaks, one for half an hour and one for 15 minutes.
There are normally 10-15 students allowed per class, the average age being early 20s as most students are taking the course to then study in a German university or to find a job in Germany.
Each student receives a German book, most of the times it’s this Netzwerk one, which will be used throughout the lessons together with sample tests, oral presentations, grammar excercises… The outline of each lesson is then uploaded on the intranet where students can catch up on missed days or double check what the homework was. On the same platform you can easily communicate with the teacher and fellow students of your class in the forum.
Goethe has a really nice and friendly team that plans an activity for each day of the course. For example you can go Salsa Dancing, get to know the city on a tour bus, visit museums, go to restaurants, bowling, visit the Fischmarkt… If you are new in Hamburg these activities are the best way to explore the city, get to meet likeminded people and make some memorable experiences! Once a month during the weekend they also organise a day trip, to visit cities not too far from Hamburg. You normally have to pay a little bit for your ticket, but since they always get a good price for the whole group, they never cost more than 15 euros for the whole excursion (including return tickets and a special tour guide). Lübeck, Schwerin, Bremen and Lüneburg are just some examples.
The Mediotheque in Goethe Institut as they call it is available to all students. Take advantage of the special books they have to learn German, just tell the librarian what level you are in and he will show you a few options to choose from. There are 6 computers available, printers, scanners, of course German books and magazines, and learning materials (eg. dictionaries and audio books). There is also a bigger, public library at the first floor of the building.