In the past few years, there has been an abundance of new ways to learn a new language. Numerous apps are promising to make you speak a new language in only 2 weeks for example. (We all have seen that ad: “A normal guy learned 7 languages in just 1 year!”). This requires a lot of self-discipline, something we all too often lack.

To add a learning routine in a busy lifestyle and committing to it in the long-run is hard to do alone. That’s why a lot of us are still going to a good old-fashion language school. A motivating teacher and a bit of peer-pressure can sure do marvels to get from A1 to B2 in no time. We talked about language in schools in Berlin in this post but i have seen on Facebook groups and forums many questions on how to pick the right one.

I took those questions to one of the best language schools in Berlin to get some answers. This is what Sprachenatelier had to say about it:

How to pick the right language course

1- Know yourself

As with everything in life, you will only be satisfied with your choice if you know yourself enough to find something that fits. It’s rather basic i admit, but a lot of people are forcing their way into it, trying to fit a mold they know they won’t like. There is a wide variety of language schools in Berlin; you can afford to apply some filters. Consider a few things like:

  1. How much time per week (and money) are you willing to commit every week, for several weeks?
    For some it’s more motivating to have it intense, for others, a lighter schedule is more preferable. Don’t beat yourself with it. Most schools have both options (Evening courses 2-3 times a week or every day sessions) to accommodate your agenda and wallet.
  2. Do you fare better in a group or alone with a teacher?
    Be honest about this. Introvert people might not dare to speak in front of classroom and slow down their learning curve. Others might need social interaction to train their skills in a larger setting. Most schools try to keep their classes at the right size (6-8 people) to get the best of both worlds. One-to-one coaching is usually also available.

2- Know your goals

Which skills do you need to improve? If you are not starting from scratch, this is a relevant question. I’m better at business German and lack conversational skills for example. You might good at grammar but lack vocabulary. Picking a relevant course to catch up on a particular skill-set will be all the more motivating. Here you have the chance to give some meaning to your commitment. You can avoid the feeling you had in high-school when you were wondering why on earth you would need all those meaningless math theorems in real-life.

With meaning comes motivation. With motivation comes commitment.

If you are starting to learn a new language from scratch, it might help to set a realistic target to reach with a language test in the end. This avoids the feeling of walking along a very very long road without any sense of progression. Most schools are structuring their classes bases on levels from A1 to C2. Real life goals like getting in at Berghain or being able to apply to more jobs are also golden.

3- Feel the vibe & the crowd

Almost all schools are offering free “intro” classes to get a feel of the atmosphere and learning styles. This allows to explore a more subtle aspect of picking a language class: the social and cultural fit. In other words; do you feel comfortable hanging out there and do you feel like you could make friends? A friendly environment is often a good indicator as you will like have an additional motivation to come to school. It also contributes to your immersion in the language.

A lot of schools are aware of that and are very active to organize social activities outside of the classroom. Think cultural activities, museums, open-airs, group outings or simply a drink after class. This definitely has the benefit to introduce some fun in the learning process.

4- Try before you buy

Don’t feel pressured into enrolling right away. You have every right to shop around and try different classes across the city before picking your favorite. Do take your time to evaluate your short list while considering your own needs and goals. This is something you can do easily online with platforms like Lingoda.

5- Do a background check

Teachers are the primary driving force of a language school. It is therefore recommended to check whether or not they are qualified and are using proper methods. The school should also be certified and inspected by official accredited bodies to make sure that teaching standards are met. As far as exams are concerned, you might also want to look up if they are licensed to correspond to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Language).

About Sprachenatelier:

You will find here one of the best spots in Berlin to learn new languages. This is what you can expect:

  • Each of our morning, afternoon, and evening courses have no more than 14 participants, with an average of 10 per class.
  • Choose between evening classes or an intensive programs, whatever works for you!
  • All our teachers are native speakers, especially trained to teach German as a foreign language to students like you.
  • We make sure you enroll at the right level for you thanks for a short test and a one-to-one discussion with one of our teachers.
  • We are not just a school as we also assist our students in all practicalities of moving to Berlin.
  • We make it fun too with extra-curricular activities and events as part of our cultural programme for all Sprachenatelier students.
  • We offer 50 other foreign language classes besides German, all taught in a similar style with modern teaching methods and learning support.
  • Students are able to sit TELC exams and C1 Hochschule entrance examinations following the CEFR from A1 to C2.

Don’t hesitate to come over or send us an email if you have any questions.

Sprachenatelier – Institute for languages art and culture

Frankfurter Allee 40
10247 Berlin

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