Do you have any questions about our German courses? Here you will find the answer to many frequently asked questions.

The questions are divided into five thematic categories. You can use these links to quickly jump to the relevant section.

  1. Before the course starts
  2. Arrival and accommodation
  3. During the course
  4. After the course
  5. Exams

If you can’t find a question that addresses your issue, please send us a message 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.

A new course phase starts every five weeks with the A1 course level. These dates are listed separately as dates for beginners in the courses, course locations and on the booking form.

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 1.1  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 homogeneous.

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.

This paragraph is only relevant for those course locations that offer courses for children and teenagers.

Please observe that a measles vaccination is mandatory in all German educational institutions for children and teenagers. Therefore we ask during the booking process whether your child has been vaccinated against measles.

You can book your German course online or send us the enrollment form by e-mail, 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 list of essential things that you should pack. In particular, sports shoes and bathing suits should be brought by all students.

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.

Our account details:

Account holder: Humboldt-Institut e. V.
Bank: UniCredit Bank AG in 70173 Stuttgart, Germany
IBAN: DE87 6002 0290 0008 4280 00


Account holder: Humboldt-Institut e. V.
Bank: Volksbank Ulm-Biberach eG, 89073 Ulm, Germany
IBAN: DE66 6309 0100 0211 8630 09

Please contact us by email if you wish to pay by credit card.

The fees for sports and leisure time activities, as well as for the excursions, are included in the course fees for all children 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), Le Forem (Belgium) and others. If your employer or your educational institution participates in the Erasmus+ program, funding is also possible.

Bildungsurlaub (educational leave) is a special form of vacation that serves vocational or political education. The German courses of the Humboldt-Institut in Berlin and Constance are recognized as an educational offer within the meaning of the Berlin, Brandenburg and Baden Württemberg Education Leave Act. Please contact us if you would like to book a German course as part of your Bildungsurlaub. You will receive all necessary documents from us for submission to your employer.

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 enrollment 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, section 5, we describe the deadlines and costs for cancellations.

No, the published courses take place regardless of the number of participants.

At the course locations German is spoken first and foremost. For arrival or in emergencies, there is always an English-speaking contact person available.

Travel information about Germany can be obtained, for example, from the German National Tourist Board (https://www.germany.travel/) or in travel guides from various providers.

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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 members pick up the participants at the airport and bring them to the course center by car, minibus and occasionally coaches. 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). The planned waiting time is usually no more than 1 hour, in exceptional cases up to 2 hours.

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.

We must be advised beforehand if a student is traveling as an unaccompanied minor (UM). Students booked as UM on their return flight will be charged a separate fee.

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.

In general, our houses are not barrier-free. Please contact us so that we can check your request individually.

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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 homogeneous.

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. The placement test gives us a comprehensive and comparable picture of each student’s level of knowledge and active language use. Due to the specific curriculum of the Humboldt-Institut and the usually differing number of lessons, certificates from other language schools can not replace a placement test at the beginning of the course at the Humboldt-Institut. Our goal is to assign each student to the optimal German language course for his or her individual language level. To achieve this goal, the placement test has proven to be a very reliable tool.

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-Mitte 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 on average 10 students of different nationalities in our classes. The small size assures that each student will actively participate in class. The classes are divided as homogeneously as possible according to the language level of the students.

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. Under the following link you will find an example of a weekly menu from Lindenberg. Please note: The menus vary from week to week and from location to location.

You will receive detailed information about the course together with the booking confirmation. 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. Even over Christmas and New Years, you can book a German course with us. On most national bank holidays lessons will be held. This does not apply for the part-time courses in Berlin-Mitte. In one-to-one courses, lessons will also be held on holidays.

Bank holidays 2023 (no tuition)

  • 25. December (all locations)

Bank holidays 2024 (no tuition)

  • 1. January (all locations)
  • 8. March (in Berlin-Mitte)
  • 29. March (in Berlin-Mitte and Constance)
  • 1. May (all locations)
  • 20. May (in Berlin-Mitte and Constance)
  • 3. October (all locations)
  • 1. November (in Bad Schussenried, Constance and Lindenberg)
  • 25. December (all locations)

Bank holidays 2025 (no tuition)

  • 1. January (all locations)

On public holidays without lessons, leisure activities or excursions are offered.

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.

During a stay in a foreign country, great adventures, new experiences, and challenges can arise, including medical, emotional, or other issues. This is normal if one is away from home for some time and it opens up a new world of experience outside the usual structures. In such cases, our competent instructors and supervisors will offer help. All such matters will be treated as strictly confidential. The ratio of students to supervisors is 15:1. A reliable care for our underage students in the children and teenager courses is guaranteed 24 hours a day.

Our supervisors are prepared for their assignment at the institute in detailed, personal interviews or in workshops. At the beginning of their activity at the course location, they receive a comprehensive introduction to the processes, responsibilities and educational requirements in the leisure activities and care. Each assignment is evaluated and on-site reflection sessions are held to deepen and consolidate the skills required for this pedagogical activity and to ensure and further improve the quality of care over the long term.

Children 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 children and teenagers will be supervised 24 hours per day and there is always a contact person near them.

The well-being of your child is of primary concern to us. If a student suffers from a minor discomfort our staff is able to attend to them. Should it become necessary our staff will accompany the student to a general practicioner or hospital. If there are any symptoms of illness or slight indisposition your child should see our staff immediately, so as not to lose time.

Medical care in Germany is generally very good. Hospitals, emergency doctors, specialists and general practicioners are within easy reach of all our course centers. Please check with your child’s health insurance whether the coverage also includes Germany. If not, you can always book a travel health insurance through the Humboldt-Institut (see above).

Please inform us of any food intolerances, allergies, pre-existing conditions or similar prior to your child’s arrival. This ensures that our staff on site is informed and well-prepared in case of an emergency. If your child needs to take medication, please supply him or her with sufficient quantities and inform us in writing about dosage and administration and supply sufficient quantities.

Please hand your child a copy of his or her international vaccination card if available.

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.

Course rules that must be followed by all students apply for the underage students in particular. These course rules are sent to the participants before the course starts together with the course documents. The detailed course rules will also be discussed with the students on the first day of the course. Students who violate the course regulations must expect to be excluded from the course without any claim for reimbursement (see also our terms & conditions). In this case, the legal guardians have to organize a timely departure. See the following link for an example of teenager course rules.

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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 transition 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-Mitte, we help incoming university students reach the language level they need as a prerequisite for university admission in an extremely short period of time.

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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.

All telc exams are corrected centrally by telc GmbH in Frankfurt. The correction of an exam takes at least 5 weeks. For the TestDaF and TestAS exams you find more information on www.testdaf.de and www.testas.de.

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You have more questions?

Have we answered all of your questions? Or is there anything else we can help you with? Please don’t hesitate to write us via this form, via email info@humboldt-institut.org or to call us +49 7522/988-0:

    1500 characters remaining

    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

    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!


    2024 Dates and Fees (Children and Teenagers)
    2024 Dates and Fees (Adults)
    Boarding School Brochure