It’s that time again! Language courses for HAW students

In tandem with the beginning of the Welcome Weeks for international students in September, the language courses offered jointly by HAW Hamburg and the Volkshochschule Hamburg (VHS Hamburg) as preparation for winter semester 2020/21 will also be starting up again. Initially, five intensive courses at different levels and with specialised content will be offered for German and English, free of charge. In November the regular semester courses will follow, also exclusively online.

A language tandem workshop in Welcome Week 2019.

German skills are key to settling in more easily

Although HAW Hamburg is an interesting and popular destination among the international visiting students from our partner universities, these students speak little to no German when they arrive in Hamburg at the beginning of their semester abroad. Every department in the four faculties offers some courses in English, so German skills are not a prerequisite for a study semester. Still, it’s important and helpful for students in their everyday life that they obtain basic language skills, and it’s a normal part of a stay in Germany. This is why many visiting students happily take advantage of the opportunity to complete an intensive course in advance of the semester, often following it up with a subsequent course that runs over the entire semester.

Which courses are being offered?

Even students with advanced German skills or the goal of refreshing and improving their English can benefit from the September courses. Alongside the beginner’s German A1.1 course, a level-A2.2 English course for students with more advanced skills will be offered, as well as three specialised courses: German as an academic language (level B2/C1), English for Business and English for Engineers (both level B1/B2).

These courses are naturally open to all HAW Hamburg students. They are offered free of charge and can count for up to four ECTS credit points, which will be indicated on the certificate of participation together with the final grade. All of the courses are fully booked and have waiting lists. More than 50 students have registered for the German as an academic language course, which has led to the opening of a second course. The specialised courses are being financed with funds from the Hamburg Ministry of Science, Research, Equality and Districts.

Language courses offered in winter semester 2020/21

In winter semester 2020/21, the VHS Hamburg will offer 29 courses in eight languages at HAW Hamburg, including a beginner’s course in Japanese, which is being offered for the first time. The courses start in the first week of November and run until the end of January 2021. Each course consists of 11 sessions plus an extra session with materials on the VHS’s online study platform, Sprachcommsy. The German courses, the specialised English courses and the Chinese courses are free of charge for students, as is the Japanese course. All of the other courses cost €110, but students can receive a (partial) refund from their faculty following successful completion and the fulfilment of certain conditions. The registration period for the new course offerings begins in mid-October.

You can find information about the language courses on our website.

Improve your language skills online – a new offer from the International Office

Anyone who is interested in learning languages but doesn’t have time to attend a regular course or wants to expand their existing language skills on their own can take advantage of the new service offered by the International Office: leaflets about learning languages which outline online resources for studying on your own. The leaflets for German, German as an academic language and English are already available (in German) on the website. Additional leaflets about learning French and Spanish are currently in progress.

Another possibility for learning at your own pace is the International Office’s Language Tandem programme. Two people meet up to help one another improve in one another’s native languages. They not only enhance their skills in the other language but also improve their intercultural competencies and get to know people from around the world. You can find more information on our website.

Author: Maike K. Lempka, Internationalisation at Home, International Office
Photo: David Ausserhofer


Martina Schulze

Head of International Office