August 2011 issue

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German plus culture

Offering a cultural component as part of a language programme makes for a more rounded learning experience, as Nicola Hancox finds out.

According to Ute Gleich, Managing Director at IH Heidelberg – Collegium Palatinum in Heidelberg, the school has offered German plus culture programmes for the last 50 years and she observes that the excursions and cultural elements, which are integrated into the language course, not only make students more familiar with German culture and the German way of life, but they help “broaden their horizons and link language learning with intellectual growth”.

Indeed, language and culture are inextricably linked and in a learning environment students can only benefit as they get to combine language tuition with topics that perhaps interest them. Hans-Georg Albers, Director of International Sales at Carl Duisberg Centren – which has centres throughout Germany – explains. “[These courses] allow our language course participants to get a deeper insight into such subjects as famous art collections in Cologne and Munich, wine growing along the river Rhine or German history in Berlin,” and he relates that this type of programme is becoming more and more popular, especially among short-term students in the summer.

The school introduced German plus culture programmes three years ago after students, no longer content with just a leisure-time programme, started requesting cultural activities that combined “good language and thematical preparation”, observes Albers. Students can opt to take a one-week course comprising, as a rule, six lessons including one or two thematical and language preparation classes and four or five lessons where students get out of the classroom and partake in several visits and excursions. The Advent Special programme in December, where participants are invited to experience German Christmas traditions first-hand, is a popular seasonal option. Available at four Carl Duisberg locations, Albers says students “visit famous Christmas markets such as the Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg or the Strietzelmarkt in Dresden and even bake Christmas cookies themselves”.

At the Goethe-Institut, Sales & Marketing Consultant, Rainer Epbinder, notes that given the subject matter, German plus culture courses appeal to almost everyone. However, he notes that students that fall into the 50-plus category appreciate their specific intensive culture programme. Deutsch 50-plus is a two-week programme, comprising 15 hours of language tuition per week, a special cultural and leisure programme designed to complement the language course, a one-day excursion, single room accommodation and breakfast and lunch on course days. By comparison, the school’s Intensive Language and Culture course, which is open to all ages, consists of 18.75 hours of tuition per week, a special leisure and cultural programme and a weekend day trip. By asking students what they liked and what could be improved about their courses, Epbinder relates that the school is able to keep content fresh and exciting. “We have made surveys asking participants about cultural programmes. Their answers have helped us to introduce new programmes, i.e. getting together with Germans at a round table.”

Students aged 50 and above are also the target audience for cultural programmes at Humboldt-Institut in Ellwangen. “So far,” says the school’s Johanna Prescher, “we have been offering German & Culture only to our adult students (50-plus) and for obvious reasons – there is less demand than for the junior, teenage or young adult courses.” Over the years, she says, they have added more interactive components, such as a choir teaching students German folk songs or bowling competitions between students and the local bowling club. She observes, “We have noticed that while participants appreciate a broad cultural programme where they can learn something, they also enjoy being immersed in the German way of life and feel they have somewhat mingled with the locals which gives them a sense of being part of German culture.”

This year, language school did deutsch-institut launched a new cultural programme which explores social, cultural and economically relevant topics dependent on the course location (Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg or Munich). Students must develop an academic project in the area of culture and civilization alongside university lecturers while improving existing language skills. According to Almir Krupic, did Sales Manager, the University Summer Course consists of 20 language lessons, four lessons of supervised workshops, two excursions during the week and one on the weekend. “The particular combination of language course, university seminar and excursion programme allows international participants to experience the relationship between Germany’s language and its culture and to deepen the understanding of them,” vouches the school website.

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AIPEC - Cuernavaca Language Schools
English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
IALC International  
International House London  
Quality English  

Alphe Conferences  
IALC International  

Cambridge Esol  
Pearson Education  

Dr. Walter GmbH  
Guard. Me  

LTM Digital  

Malta Tourism Authority  

ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada  
Tellus Group  
Twin Group  

All About Languages  
Astex - Asesoramiento de Estudios en el Extranjero  
Boa Lingua  
Bridge Blue Education Agency - Head office  
DIREKT Sprachreisen OHG  
Edm Education (LondonUhak)  
EDUCON for Educational Services  
ESL Ecole Suisse de Langues  
Global Visions Education  
Globo Study Sprachreisen  
Insight Lingua  
Karya International Education  
World Study Brazil  

Browns English Language School  
English Australia  
English Language Company  
Global Village Noosa  
Martin College  

Canadian & International Student Services  
Humber College  
ILAC - International Language Academy of Canada  
ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada  
LSC Language Studies Canada Toronto  
Seneca College  

Mandarin House  

Ardmore Language Schools  
Bournemouth Business School International  
British Study Centres  
Cambridge Education Group - HO  
Camp Beaumont  
Doncaster College  
Embassy CES  
IALC International  
Kaplan International Colleges  
London College of International Business Studies  
London Metropolitan University  
London School of Business & Finance  
Malvern House College London  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
St Giles International  
Study Group  
University of Essex - International Academy  

French in Normandy  
SILC - Séjours Linguistiques  

BWS Germanlingua  
Carl Duisberg Medien GmbH  
GLS Sprachenzentrum  
Goethe Institut  
inlingua Berlin  
International House Berlin - Prolog  
International House Heidelberg  

Centre of English Studies  
Galway Cultural Institute  

DILIT - International House  

ISI Language School  
Kai Japanese Language School  

Clubclass Residential Language School  
EC English Language Centre  
Feltom Malta  

AIPEC - Cuernavaca Language Schools

Languages International Christchurch  


EAC Language Centres and Activity Camps  

Babylon Idiomas  
Escuela de Idiomas Nerja  
International House - Sevilla CLIC  
Inturjoven Spanish Courses   
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  

EF Language Colleges Ltd  
ESL Language Schools  

Rennert Bilingual  
Ross School (The)  
Zoni Language Centers   

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