Without sufficient knowledge of the language used in a particular country, the advantages of a stay abroad will fall far behind the potential benefits. Good foreign language competence is also necessary for the talks conducted by the selection committee with promising candidates. Finally, you will need to be proficient in the foreign language to get by during your daily routine abroad. If you determine that what you learned in secondary school is not (or no longer) sufficient, there are several ways to acquire the necessary foreign language skills.
Foreign Language Courses at THM
The THM Language Centre offers numerous foreign language courses for all university departments, including Technical English, Business English, French, Spanish and Chinese. In the Language Centre you can also sit a placement test to acquire a certificate documenting your proficiency in English. More information is provided in the student catalogue, or you can contact the Language Centre directly. The library also has study aids to help you improve your foreign language skills.
One good way to improve foreign language skills would be to take evening courses at adult education centres. Depending on the size of the city or town, course offerings can range from introductory courses in English, French and Italian to conversation courses to courses for language certificate preparation. If you are interested in private foreign language schools, make sure you find out about what you receive for your money, group sizes, the qualifications of the faculty and the course offerings. Foreign language schools advertise their services in the weekend editions of the national newspapers.
Language Courses Abroad
It is a well-known fact that a foreign language can best be learned and practiced in a country in which the language in question is the most commonly used language. For that purpose there is a wide variety of language holidays, which can vary greatly in terms of price and quality.
Relatively inexpensive summer language courses are offered by many universities in the semester breaks. Besides the traditional language teaching in the classroom, field trips, discussion rounds and public lectures are often offered. Here you have the opportunity to become acquainted with a foreign university and make many new contacts. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) publishes a comprehensive brochure about these offerings every year in March. A copy for your perusal is available in the International Office.
Title: "Sprachkurse an Hochschulen in Europa"
For an overview of courses offered by private language holiday organizers, read the information provided by the Association of German Language Holiday Organizers (Fachverband Deutscher Sprachreiseveranstalter, abbreviated "FDSV"). On request they will send you a directory of members belonging to the organization and the strict guidelines that members must follow.
Useful information is also provided by a non-profit organization called "Aktion Bildungsinformation e.V." ('Education Opportunities'). The literature they provide includes the following brochures:
- Englisch lernen in Übersee, 2002/2003 (USA, Canada and New Zealand, 16.00 euros)
- Nach Frankreich - der Sprache wegen, 2001/2002 (16.00 euros)
- Italienisch lernen in Italien, 2001/2002 (16.00 euros)
- Spanien: Sprache lernen - Tips für den Alltag, 2002 (16.00 euros)
To order online go to: http://www.abi-ev.de.
PROMOS - Scholarship for language courses abroad
Within the scope of the Bologna reform, a central goal is to increase student mobility. The purpose of the new PROMOS mobility programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, or DAAD) is to help meet this goal with scholarships for short-term stays abroad.
Language courses must be between three weeks and six months and must be held at a state-run university abroad (applies worldwide). No financial aid is provided for courses offered by private service providers. Aid is available for advanced level courses only in commonly used languages (French, Spanish) and special purpose courses only in the case of English. The monthly partial scholarship amounts to 300 euros plus travel expenses, which vary depending on the destination country. In addition students can apply for a one-time payment of 500 euros to cover the costs of course fees.
For more information go to this page.
Intensive courses in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Korean and Polish are offered by the "Landesspracheninstitut". To find out more about their course offerings go to www.lsi-bochum.de .
Polish Course at the Varia School in Krakow
Since February of 2007 two-week intensive Polish courses with a supporting programme have been offered in Krakow. They are organized by the Varia School - Centre for Polish Language, and private accommodations are available (with Polish families or students).
Varia courses are recommendable because of their unique nature, inexpensive prices and above all the very positive evaluations of the programme by course participants, numerous Polish institutions and universities all over the world, the Polish Embassy in Berlin and the Erasmus Student Network Organization.