FAQ

Do you have any questions about our German courses? Here you will find the answer to
many frequently asked questions. If you can’t find a question that addresses your issue, please e-mail us and we will answer you as soon as possible.

1. Before the course starts

We offer courses for total beginners and for participants with very minimal previous German knowledge. Please keep this in mind when booking your course.
Our international students who want to learn German at the Humboldt-Institut are expected to have a very good command of the German (Latin) alphabet, as we exclusively teach German as a foreign language, but we do not offer alphabet instruction within our regular courses.

Interested participants, who are not able to read and write in the Latin alphabet (as their native language uses the Cyrillic, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew or any other alphabet, or Asian characters) nonetheless are given the opportunity to learn the German alphabet in private lessons before the regular language course starts.

We distinguish the following levels according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The course durations given below refer to intensive courses of 30 lessons per week:

Level Course duration
A1 Elementary 1  5 weeks (for total beginners, leads to telc Deutsch A1)
A2 Elementary 2  5 weeks
B1 Intermediate 1  5 weeks
B2 Intermediate 2.1  5 weeks
B2 Intermediate 2.2  5 weeks (leads to telc Deutsch B2)
C1 Advanced 1.2  5 weeks (leads to TestDaF)
C1 Advanced 1.2  5 weeks (leads to telc Deutsch C1 and telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule)
C2 Advanced 2.1  5 weeks
C2 Advanced 2.2  5 weeks
Every course participant will take a comprehensive placement test either on the arrival day or on the first day of class to determine his or her German language level.

According to the results the participant will then be assigned to a class that reflects his or her level. This ensures that our classes are linguistically very homogenous.

During the summer months, a placement test is given on the first day of the course, i.e. usually there are no lessons on that day, but it’s rather an orientation day without instruction.

If you want to test your German level right now, just fill out our online placement test.

In case you need travel health insurance during your stay at our institute, you can sign up for it through the Humboldt-Institut along with your enrollment. The fee is 2 euros per day of your stay.

The travel health insurance covers sickness and accidents (and any necessary medical treatment) that occur during your stay in the program.

Any treatment related to sickness or accidents that occurred before the start of the course will not be covered by the travel insurance. Any kind of self-inflicted health issues will not be covered either. The travel health insurance does not include a liability insurance.

You can book your German course online or send us the enrolment form by fax or mail. Requests per e-mail will be answered by the following business day. Our booking office can be reached by phone Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm CET. Please consider possible time differences.
In the documents for your course you will find a section “Packing your suitcase” with a list of essential things that you should pack.
If you make a bank transfer to us, please make sure that it is free of bank fees to the Humboldt-Institut, otherwise we will have to charge you for the fees we incur.

Bank transfers within the European Union are free of charge if you use the IBAN and BIC/SWIFT numbers. Please contact us by email if you wish to pay by credit card.

Our account details:

Account holder: Humboldt-Institut e. V.
Bank: UniCredit Bank AG in 70173 Stuttgart, Deutschland
SWIFT: HYVE DEMM 473
IBAN: DE87 6002 0290 0008 4280 00
The fees for sports and leisure time activities, as well as for the excursions, are included in the course fees for all juniors and teenagers. The meals we serve are plentiful and it is not necessary to buy additional food. We, therefore, recommend only 30 to 40 euros in pocket money per week.

Please make sure to give your child the pocket money in small bills. Also, please do not forget to bring some money for any transfer costs or possible bank fees and also for the deposit.

Usually the Humboldt-Institut does not grant any scholarships. Nonetheless, our courses are accredited and eligible for financial support from different programs like the CSN (Sweden), PON (Italy), Plan Marshall (Belgium) and others.
Please contact the German Embassy or Consulate in your country to inquire whether you need a visa or not. Information about visa requirements can also be found on the website of the German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt).

If you do need a visa, please proceed as follows:
After receipt of your enrolment form, we will send you a written confirmation and an invitation for the course.
Once you have received both documents, you have to file an application for a visa at the competent German Embassy or Consulate.

You will have to submit:

  1. The invitation of the Humboldt-Institut;
  2. The proof of health insurance; (If you have taken out health insurance through the Humboldt-Institut, you will receive the corresponding proof of insurance included in the invitation.)
  3. The proof of the financing of your stay in Germany: After your payment of the course fee, you can prove your financing either through a receipt of your bank or by asking the Humboldt-Institut to send you a corresponding receipt.

Students who plan on transferring to a boarding school in Germany after their language course will additionally need an invitation of the boarding school.

Should any unexpected difficulties arise for the granting of your visa, we will gladly help you. In that case please contact the Humboldt-Institut immediately.

Important notice for part time courses:
For students requiring visas no visa will be granted for courses with fewer than 18 lessons per week

In our general conditions of participation, we describe the deadlines and costs for cancellations. Additional lessons which are subject to a charge, like horseback riding, tennis, sailing, skiing, etc. may be canceled up to one day prior to arrival. Cancellations on the arrival date are not possible.

2. Arrival and accommodation

Day of arrival for all course centers is the Sunday before a course begins. Day of departure is the Saturday after the course ends. If your arrival or departure days differ, please let us know as soon as possible.

The addresses of each of the course centers can be found on the respective page of the course center, and additionally in the documentation which we send to you before your course starts.

The fees for transfer services will be doubled for transfers on other days than the official days of arrival and departure.

Course participants who arrive by plane have the option of booking a transfer service from the airport to their school. There is a fee per person and per route for this service. The airport transfer service is only available for the airports that are listed at the respective course centers.
Our staff will pick up the participants from the airport and will take them to their course centers. Similarly, on the departure day they will take the course participants from the school back to the airport.

In most course centers we offer a transfer service from and to the closest railway station free of charge if this service is mentioned in the program descriptions.

The transfer service is usually shared with other students (i.e. group transportation). Waiting time is usually not longer that one hour.
Please note that in order to organize your transfer and guarantee a smooth operation we do need your flight details (flight number, airline, arrival and departure time) no later than 7 days before arrival. Longer waits may result for anyone who is late in submitting his / her information. Additionally, a late booking fee will be charged.

We will also transfer students who want to continue at another Humboldt center to their new location. A fee is charged for this service.

The fees for transfer services will be doubled for transfers on other days than the official days of arrival and departure.

All course participants will be asked to make a deposit of 50 euros in cash upon their arrival at the institute. This deposit will be returned upon departure if the room key (if applicable) has been returned and any possible damages or outstanding amounts have been paid.
Most of our schools are residential and offer accommodation on campus in single and twin rooms. In the summer course centers, there are also rooms with multiple beds. Accommodation including full board is included in the course fee.

In some locations we also offer accommodation with host families. An overview of the accommodation choices can be found on the respective page for each course center.

In Berlin and Constance we also offer German courses without accommodation.

Together with the documentation for your course, you will receive hotel recommendations, in case parents or accompanying persons need accommodations near the course center.
All course centers offer free wireless internet access (Wi-Fi).
In almost all of the course centers of the Humboldt-Institut, a weekly laundry service free of charge is included in the comprehensive service. We recommend to mark each piece of laundry with your name or a special symbol. Unmarked clothes can be lost easily. We cannot be made liable for any loss.

Please pack only clothes of easy-to-care fabrics, which can be washed in a washing machine.

Bed linen will be provided and changed regularly in all course centers.

Upon request we can provide vegetarian meals or dishes without certain ingredients.

3. During the course

Every course participant will take a comprehensive placement test either on the arrival day or on the first day of class to help us determine his or her German language level.

According to the results the participant will then be assigned to a class that reflects his or her level. This ensures that our classes are linguistically very homogenous.

During the summer months, a placement test is given on the first day of the course, i.e. usually there are no lessons on that day, but it’s rather an orientation day without instruction.

For questions concerning your placement, the director of your course center will gladly assist you.

To determine the language level of each student the only relevant factor is the result of the placement test.
All books and material which you will need in your German course you will be given free of charge and you are welcome to keep them.
A lesson is 45 minutes long.
Our intensive courses usually comprise 30 lessons per week. In the summer months, on the first day of class there are usually no lessons, but instead the placement test is given and student orientation is held. In Berlin City we also offer part-time courses with fewer lessons.
Classes are held Monday through Friday. In courses of 25 lessons, classes are usually held from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. In courses of 30 lessons, there is an additional lesson on Monday afternoon, as well as two lessons each on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.
There are approximately 10 students in our classes. The small size assures that each student will actively participate in class.
All courses that include accommodation also include full board with three meals a day. In most course centers the participants additionally have access to beverages and a basket of fruit all day long, also included in the course fee.
Approximately four weeks prior to the beginning of the language course you will receive detailed information about the course. In this documentation you will also find the exact postal address of the course center as well as the phone number and times when you can reach your children or relatives during their stay abroad. In all schools the course participants can also use the internet via Wi-Fi (wireless access).
You can book courses year-round, there are no vacations. Even over Christmas and New Years, you can book a German course with us. On most national bank holidays lessons will be held. In one-to-one and mini-group courses, lessons will also be held on national holidays.

Bank holidays 2017 (no tuition)
May 1, October 3, November 1 (not in Berlin City) , December 25
Bank holidays 2018 (no tuition)
January 1, May 1, October 3, November 1 (not in Berlin City) , December 24 and 25
All students are expected to participate fully in their German course. Thus, a certain amount of homework is obligatory in all German classes. It is given regularly and involves preparation before and revision work after the day’s lessons. However, the amount of homework will always allow sufficient time for leisure activities. Written homework will be corrected and returned to the student, serving as an indication of his or her individual progress.
All course participants take a weekly test which comprises the content of the preceding week of classes, so that students and teachers can assess the progress made in learning German. For long-term students at the conclusion of each language level (after five weeks) an additional comprehensive skill level exam is given which must be passed with a minimum result of 75% in order to advance to the next level.
While living in a foreign country, problems may arise from time to time, be they medical, emotional or otherwise. This is a normal part of learning to live away from home for some time. However, our experienced staff will offer help in these cases. All such matters will be treated as strictly confidential. In all course centers for juniors and teenagers, reliable supervision for our minor students is guaranteed 24 hours per day.
Juniors may only go to the next town or village twice a week and must be accompanied by our staff. Teenagers may go to town upon previous agreement twice a week in groups of three without being accompanied by our staff.
Our course centers are usually located in quiet towns, villages or neighborhoods. Also in the big cities our participants are in a safe environment. Especially juniors and teenagers will be supervised 24 hours per day and there is always a contact person near them.
Of course parents may visit their children, yet we kindly ask you to make prior arrangements concerning the date of the visit with the director of your child’s school.
We do not recommend that you interrupt your German course as the total duration of the course might increase.

4. After the course

All participants receive a certificate after the final exam upon completion of the course. The certificate will indicate the German language level achieved in the course in the areas of listening comprehension, reading comprehension, oral expression, writing and grammar, as well as the number of lessons attended.
The departure day in all course centers is the Saturday after the final day of class.
The Humboldt-Institut cooperates with highly respected boarding schools throughout Germany and will gladly help students find the right school.
To be admitted to a German school it is usually necessary to have successfully completed the language level B2 of the Humboldt-Institut. We also offer a special school preparatory course.
The Humboldt-Institut provides information and support to international students who wish to apply for university placement in Germany. We review their high school and/or academic records from their home countries and determine whether they qualify for direct or indirect admission to a German university. In our course centers in Constance and Berlin City, we help incoming university students reach the language level they need as a prerequisite for university admission in an extremely short period of time.

5. Exams

Which exams can I take at the Humboldt-Institut?
The Humboldt-Institut offers most of the telc-exams, the TestDaF as well as the TestAS. Dates, locations and fees can be found on our list of exams.
The decisive factor for success in a certain exam is the preparation. With a special TestDaF preparatory course (following the language level C1.1)we make sure that our participants learn everything they need to successfully pass the exam. The success rate at the TestDaF for students who have enrolled in this course is close to 100%!

 

Have we answered all of your questions? Or is there anything else we can help you with? Please don’t hesitate to write to us or to call us:

Your contact

For all questions concerning our course offerings or for booking a German course our staff at the booking office will gladly assist you:

Humboldt-Institut e.V.
Schloss Ratzenried
88260 Argenbühl
Phone +49 7522 9880
info@humboldt-institut.org

We can be reached Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm CET. Apart from German and English, our staff members also speak French, Polish, Spanish and Russian.

Questions in writing will be answered in German or English.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Downloads

Humboldt Brochure 2017
Humboldt Brochure 2018
Dates & Fees 2017
Dates & Fees 2018
Boarding School Brochure