The Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF) just sent me 330 euros because I know German. Woohoo! Ok, it isn’t really free money — it’s a refund — but it still feels brilliant.
If you don’t know how the BAMF courses work, here’s a little overview:
- The BAMF integration courses include 660 lesson hours at any of the approved language schools.
- You pay €1.20 per lesson hour (€1 per lesson hour when I was taking classes), no matter what school you choose.
- You get 600 hours of German classes, through level B1 (intermediate), plus 60 hours of German history/culture. Because I took intensive courses, I actually got through the first half of the B2-level classes, as well.
- At the end of the course, you take an exam. If you get a B1 score on the exam, BAMF refunds 50% of the cost.
In other words, the German government has a whole system for recent immigrants to learn enough German language and culture for daily life, at an affordable level. (Additional scholarships and subsidies are also available in certain situations.) In my case, taking the same courses at my language school without going through this program would have cost me €2,160 euros. Instead, I paid €330.
It isn’t a perfect system, but it’s one that other countries (*cough*US*cough*) could really stand to learn from.
4 thoughts on “It Pays to Learn German”
Sounds pretty good. All the options I found when I arrived there were about 500€ per week.
Wow, that sounds expensive even for a private language school, but maybe schools in Köln are just more expensive than Aachen. In any case, it’s definitely cheaper as a new immigrant than as a visitor.
Yay! I have my test at the beginning of August but my school situation hasn’t improved since the last time I spoke to you about it! We start late everyday, our breaks go on for way longer than they should, the course is super unorganised, and we talk about everything under the sun, except for what we should be learning about. It’s so bad, in fact, that I wrote a complaint letter to my teacher. She was pretty angry at first, but then made some changes… that lasted for 2 days. But now that I’ve done what I can, I go to school with a lighter heart. Read: I’ve given up on getting anything worthwhile out of the class so I will join in on the chaos. It frustrates me though, that we should have finished the Berliner Platz 3 book by now and be revising for the test, but instead, we’ve just STARTED Berliner Platz 3, we’re not going to bother doing much more because we don’t have time, and instead, we’re just doing test revision to try and get everyone to pass the test, whether they actually can read/write/speak German at a B1 level or not. I’m so jealous you got to get through half of B2 as well!
That’s immensely frustrating, but at least you have done what you can about the class — and you can always use everyday interactions to practice speaking and learn more, which is probably more important than classroom learning once you’re past the basics.
The B2 class was interesting, but in the end it wasn’t all that useful for me. It was more oriented toward academic German and students who wanted to take the DSH test for entrance into the universities, rather than practical speaking skills. 😛