It is not uncommon for US students to consider university studies in Germany. Germany has an excellent university system and, because the German university system is heavily subsidized by the German state, German universities fees are extremely affordable.
Compared to US standards, German universities are practically free!
US students, however, are seemingly deterred by the need to learn German.
Where to learn German? How to learn German? How long will it take?
These are simple questions, but US students seem daunted by them, while students from other countries seem better informed – they take the plunge, gain access to the excellent and affordable German university system, and benefit from the very affordable cost of universities in Germany.
How to Learn German?
One of the most affordable ways to learn German is to apply to a “Studienkolleg”.
A Studienkolleg is a university organization (or organization affiliated with a university) that prepares students for the German language exams that are required for entrance to German Universities, German Technical Universities, and other German higher education institutions. In many cases, they also prepare students in other academic areas.
Fundamental to the mission of a Studienkolleg, however, is the teaching of German as a second language to foreigners.
There are public and private Studienkollege. Some prepare students for studies at a German university, while others prepare students technical universities (Fachhochschule).
Where to Learn German?
Like German language schools for foreigners, you can find a Studienkolleg in nearly every Germany city you can imagine studying in. Most German universities either have a Studienkolleg that they administer, or they have agreements with a Studienkolleg (such as when several German universities in a city work with a single Studienkolleg).
How Long Will It Take to Learn German?
Two semesters or three trimesters. That simple. Foreign students do it al the time – US students can do it too.
You will find that a German program offered by a Studienkolleg is a well-organized, serious endeavor. Tasked bringing students with no German or a low level of German to a point where they can pass a German language test in a defined period of time, learning German at a Studienkolleg is a serious and effective means of really learning German (it’s fun, too!)
Furthermore, the students you meet at a Studienkolleg are goal-oriented. As such, they tend to be serious students that are serious about learning German and achieving a high level of German.
How Much Will It Cost?
Prices are affordable. Costs may vary among each Studienkolleg but they won’t break the bank. Many of the public Studienkollege are free. You must, however, each semester you must pay a semester free somewhere between 100 and 400 euros.
At the Sprachenkolleg for Ausländische Studierende, for example, the cost per trimester (11-week German programs) is less than 1000 euros per session. Depending the level of German you have, you would need to do 2 or 3 trimesters to achieve a high level of German.