Learning German for Beginners

Last updated on 26 Sep 2023
Learning German for Beginners

photo-1521656566678-ba3a5bfd07fa.jpeg Photo by Björn Grochla via Unsplash

By Mia Angeline

“The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice” – Brian Herbert

Giving the opportunity to learn a new language, German is not an obvious choice.

You may think that on a global scale, German is used by relatively few people.

You cannot be more wrong!

German, in fact, is one of the ten most spoken languages in the world. Around 185 million people speak German worldwide.

Reasons to Learn German

Learning the German language is a good investment. Not just linguistic, but also in economic opportunity and networking potential.

Here are some compelling reasons to study German:

Reason #1 German is the language of innovators

Germany has had 80 Nobel laureates for accomplishments in physics, medicine, chemistry, literature, and other areas. The most famous German winner is Albert Einstein, who was awarded in 1921.

This number is not even counting the people from other two major German speaking countries, Austria and Switzerland. And from other nations who had studied at German universities.

By learning German, you can peek into these geniuses’ minds by reading their famous publication in their native language.

Reason #2 German is easy

You may have heard that German is an impossible language.

However, you may not know that you already have advantages just by being an English speaker. German and English share the same Germanic root. It means there are thousands of words in English closely related to German. For example, water is wasser in German, and father becomes vater.

Also, you don’t need to learn a new alphabet in German. Unlike Japanese, Chinese, or Arabic. There are only a few letters to add, called the umlauts ä, ö, ü, and ß.

Reason #3 German is an important language in education

Since German has a high number of award-winning scientists, it is not surprising that German is very important for academics.

In fact, German book market is the third largest in the world, other than Chinese and English. The percentage of these German books that are being translated is fairly small. It means, you need to know German to have access to these books.

Reason #4 German companies are market leaders

Germany is the biggest economy in the European Union.

It is home to numerous international corporations, such as Siemens, Volkswagen, Adidas, and Lufthansa. Other than corporations, German also becoming a hub for innovative startups, especially in Berlin. If you have a dream to work for an international market leader, knowing German will give you opportunities to enhance your career.

Reason #5 German is widely spoken

In the Europe continent, German is the second most spoken language, with number one native speakers. German language served as a common language in most parts of Europe, or better known as lingua franca. The language has successfully unified different people for centuries. The number also shown on the internet, with Germany’s .de domain takes second place to the famous .com domain.

Reason #6 Germans are everywhere

Germans are entitled to at least 20 days of leave per year, which gives them the time to travel the globe. They have a penchant to travel and see distance countries, from Asia to America. German is the largest outbound tourist trade in the world, where people spend around EUR 80 billion a year to travel.

If you can speak German, you can brush up your skill by chatting with tourists in your hometown.

By acquiring German, you will have the opportunity to appreciate the written works of Goethe, Kafka, Mann, and Nietzsche. German is the native language of Mozart, Schubert, Bach, and Beethoven. You will be able to tap into these masterpieces in their original text.

For a complete list of scholarships to study in Germany, click here.

Untuk daftar lengkap Beasiswa Kuliah ke Jerman, klik di sini.

Studying in Germany

Maybe one of the most important reasons for you to study German is you can attend university in Germany for free.

You must have heard the high cost of tuition fees in some countries, or read stories of students who need to pay their student loan after graduation. In Germany, there are no tuition fees charged for undergraduate students in all public universities to native and international students alike.

There are several courses offered in English, however, most of the programs are in German. If you want to have a Bachelor degree in German, you need to prove your proficiency in German by taking a language test, such as the TestDaF or DSH.

German is the primary instruction language in most degree programs at German universities. However, some universities might not ask for proof of German language proficiency if you enroll in an international degree program or in short exchange programs.

Other than the bachelor degree, a consecutive master’s degree is tuition free too.

Consecutive means a master’s degree following directly on from a related bachelor’s degree gained in Germany. Therefore, you need to seriously consider continuing straight to graduate programs if you plan to take a bachelor degree in Germany.

However, undergraduate and consecutive master students still need to pay a mandatory symbolic fee called the semester contribution. This fee covers administration costs and the finance of facilities. The semester contribution is relatively small ranging from EUR 150 to EUR 250. Compared to regular tuition fee in other countries, this fee is very affordable.

Germany has a number of top universities, with a wide range of subjects from technology, mathematics, liberal arts, economics, to humanities. Some of them are Technische Universität München (TUM), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg.

Living in Germany is no more expensive than other European countries. However, living costs may differ depending on the area. For an affordable option, you can consider apartment-sharing or live in one of university students housing. These students housing cost between EUR 200 to EUR 400 a month. While a room in an apartment-sharing complex range between EUR 300 to EUR 500 per month. Add the budget with food and free time activities costs, you can expecta monthly living cost between EUR 400 to EUR 700.

Find the list of universities in Germany, here.

Untuk daftar universitas di Jerman, klik di sini.

German Language Tests

Since you need to demonstrate your German language proficiency, you need to pass the German language test.

You can choose between two different tests, the TestDaF (Test of German as a Foreign Language) and the DSH (German Language University Entrance Examination for Foreign Applicants).


TestDaF can be taken in your home country before you come to Germany. The TestDaF itself is administered six times a year. For further information, you can visit the TestDaF website.


Different from TestDaF, the DSH can only be taken in Germany. You can take the DSH test in one of many universities who offer the DSH exam. For further information, it is better to contact the university directly.

Both of these tests assess language proficiency at different levels. You need to pass all intermediate level test sections to study with no restrictions. The intermediate level means TDN 4 for TestDaF or DSH-2 for the DSH.

However, you don’t need to take the German language test if one of the following conditions applies:

  • You have passed the new Goethe Certificate C2 examination (until 2011) or the Goethe Zertifikat C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom exam (since 2012).
  • You have passed the “telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule” examination
  • You have earned an “Abitur” from a German-language secondary school
  • Or you have the German Language Diploma (stage II)

Popular University in Germany: RWTH Aachen University

Universitas populer di Jerman: RWTH Aachen University

Learning German

As you know by now, there are countless reasons why the German language can be useful for your future.

You will have more opportunities with your career and connect with millions of people out there.

Learning a foreign language can be a challenge. It will take time and effort to master a new language. German has a similar basic structure as English language.

However, there are several stark differences between the two. For example, English doesn’t use gender for inanimate objects, while German use three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter, even for inanimate objects. Another example is German has several similar tenses with English but also has several different ones, like they don’t have any continuous tenses.

If you have a basic in German and planning to apply for international program in Germany, you can attend a language course in your university. These courses usually take place during the summer (June to September) and winter. Ask your university for the language course program.

Other than that, we advised you to learn basic German from private language schools before coming to Germany.

For Indonesian students, two good places to learn German are the Goethe Institut and FaDaF.

Goethe Institut

The Goethe Institut is a cultural organization which represents the Federal Republic of Germany worldwide.

For basic learners, Goethe Institut is a great place to start. The course system is based on the six levels defined in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It means, the system is internationally comparable and once you completed a course you can continue to learn in other locations (in Germany or even online).

Before starting a course, you will need to take a placement test to help the Goethe Institutchoose a suitable course for you. The course itself will be conducted via face-to-face meeting, but once you are registered you will have access to their libraries, media resources, and interactive learning materials.

The tuition fee in the Goethe Institut is quite affordable, as an illustration, the extensive course is around IDR 2,450,000 for 10 weeks. While the super intensive course is IDR 8,700,000 for 10 weeks. For further information on class schedule and tuition fee, check the Goethe Institut website.

One of the benefits of learning German at the Goethe Institut is you are not only learning a language, but also getting to know a culture. You can join various cultural programs and attend events held by the Goethe Institut. This opportunity offers you a chance to meet with new people and make new friends.


If you are looking to learning the German language directly in Germany, then you can learn through FaDaF institutes.

FaDaF or Professional Association German as a Foreign and Second Language (Fachverband Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache) is a non-profit organization consists of an association of institutions concerned with teaching or researching German as a second or foreign language. FaDaf is also responsible for academic supervision of the DSH tests.

The FaDaF association has around 800 members, mostly universities, non-profit organizations, commercial establishments, and individuals. These universities provide international students with language courses and the relevant examinations. Afterward, they also provide linguistic support during the study period.

FaDaF also appoints a consortium of 8 university-related German course providers every two years. The consortium usually participates in educational trade fairs to spread words about learning German in Germany.

The current members of FaDaF consortium and their locations are:

  • Aachen: Sprachenakademie Aachen gGmbH
  • Berlin: IIK berliner ID / Institut für Internationale Kommunikation e.V. Berlin
  • Düsseldorf: IIK – Institut für Internationale Kommunikation e.V. Düsseldorf
  • Hamburg: IBH – Interkulturelle Bildung Hamburg e.V.
  • Hannover: ISK – Institut für Sprachen und Kommunikation Hannover Mannheim: Universität Mannheim Service und Marketing GmbH
  • München: Deutschkurse bei der Universität München e.V.
  • Stuttgart: Deutschkolleg Stuttgart e.V.

These institutions passed a list of criteria to become a member of FaDaF consortium. They must have a close linkage to a university, providing intensive German courses leading up to C1 exams, offering standardized German exams, reasonable course fees, and free counseling.

Speaking of fees, you may be wondering how much does it cost to learn German at FaDaF. To give you an illustration, IIK Berliner ID provides 10 course levels from A1 to C1 with 100 lessons per 4 weeks. The course fee starts from EUR 450 per 100 lessons. New students can join every month after placement test and consultation.

The members of FaDaF consortium will provide additional services for international students. These services include assistance with the visa process, accommodation acquisition, health insurance, free WiFi, diverse cultural program and events. If you need assistance with your arrival in Germany, they can also provide an attentive staff to meet you at the airport.

Also, they have a University Preparation Program for international students planning to pursue their degree in Germany. The program includes private student advisor, advice on finding and applying for a study program in preferred university, document checks, and consultation on scholarships.

Germany is located in the heart of Europe and culturally influenced by diverse ethnicities. There is something for everyone, from opera, great food, outdoor sports, festivals, and many more. As a student, you will always find fascinating events and exciting activities happening around you.

So, start brushing up your language skill and preparing for the future.

As Albert Einstein once said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

For further information about stuyding in Germany, click here.

Untuk informasi lebih lanjut tentang Kuliah di Jerman, klik di sini.