German as a foreign language

Our course philosophy

Our motto: Silence is silver, talk is golden!


The German and culture course offer at FH JOANNEUM can be attended by students and employees, their next of kin and potential applicants to FH JOANNEUM (subject to costs). Since September 2015 also asylum seekers, recognised refugees and people eligible for subsidiary protection with an academic proof are welcome to participate. A special registration is necessary (see link at the end of this page).

The course offer includes grammar and competence courses (writing and reading, listening and speaking) as well as** cultural courses** ("Austria - people and culture") in German and English. In summer term we also offer the special courses Business German (B2-C1), Writing in an academic context (C1), Presenting in an academic context (C1) and lectures as part of our new intercultural focus R.U.D.I. in cooperation with the Archeological Museum Schloss Eggenberg.

German as a Foreign Language at FH JOANNEUM stands for…

  • courses with a focus on communication, integrated into a well-balanced course system: basic courses (focus on grammar), skill courses (training in reading and writing, listening comprehension, speaking), extra courses (culture and civilisation, ÖSD examination training)
  • a placement test, specially developed in line with the curriculum
  • intensive preparation for the Austrian ÖSD language diploma at no extra charge
  • action-oriented grammar learning, adjusted to all knowledge levels
  • hands-on learning, integrating topical issues relevant to study (e.g. CV and application writing etc.)
  • small learning groups
  • individual support and help
  • motivated and qualified lecturers experienced in university level teaching
  • effective up-to-date teaching material that is tailored to the special requirements of university level language learners
  • an open and culturally varied environment (with people from some 30 different countries)
  • an intercultural focus: courses on culture and civilisation, tandem programme and excursions to Vienna and Salzburg ensure valuable and stimulating exchanges between international and Austrian students.

Did you know that there is no German word for the inhabitants of the Vatican?

Our course system: Tailor-made courses

Basic courses

Weekly basic courses focus on your grammar competences and the structure of the German language. They should be combined with courses “Lese- und Schreibtraining” and “Hörverstehen und Sprechtraining” of the same level in order to train all four competences. The beginner courses “Grundstufe 1” and “Grundstufe 2” (level A1/1 and A1/2) take place two times a week and integrate the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and emphasize oral communication and listening comprehension in a culturally authentic context.

Reading and writing competences

Weekly courses entitled “Lese- und Schreibtraining” focus on reading and writing competences with authentic texts in order to enlarge your vocabulary and your reading and writing capacities. Three levels are offered: A2, B1-B2, C1.

Listening and speaking competences

Weekly courses named “Hörverstehen und Sprechtraining” focus on listening and oral competences with authentic audio and video materials in order to enlarge listening and speaking capacities. Three levels are offered: A2, B1-B2, C1.


We also offer German Intensive Courses as part of the Orientation Packages in September and February before the semester starts. For more information please check our homepage!

Special Courses

  • Culture and People: The aim of this course is to bring Austria closer to you in all its multiplicity. The course will familiarise you with the Austrian political, social and cultural structure. In a project you will explore the intercultural differences between Austria and your home country. This course is available in English (“Austria – People and Culture (APC)”) and German (“Österreichische Landes- und Kulturkunde (LK)”) and is blocked (8 weeks).
  • German Language Film: This course aims to familiarise you with German language films and focuses on topics related to the recent past or social phenomena in Germany, Austria and throughout the world.
  • Business German: This course is designed to improve your business language skills using authentic material. You will also enhance your business vocabulary at B2-C1 level. We recommend this course for students who are interested in or deal with various business topics in their studies and have achieved a proficiency level of at least B2.
  • Communication in an Intercultural Context: in the winter term **2016/17: ‘Culture’ and ‘communication’ are central terms in public discourse and their meaning is seemingly clear at first glance. However when you learn, work and live in an international context, there are various stumbling blocks to these terms. Questions such as ‘What is my culture?’, ‘Where do my values come from’ and ‘What kind of communication is normal?’ often emerge.This class explores the theoretical and practical side of the aforementioned fields. The aim is to acquire knowledge about intercultural processes, to link it with practical group work and to reflect on it as part of a joint project.The course is taught in German and is aimed at all students (i.e. including exchange and regular international students) and those learning German from level B1. The class may be partly held in English, with the agreement of the group. **Myths in space and time: in cooperation with the Archaeological Museum Schloss Eggenberg in the summer term 2017: What does Zeus have to do with thunderstorms and black cats to do with bad luck? Probably nothing, but these views have shaped whole cultures and the everyday lives of many people. In this course, we set off to explore familiar and distant cultures, both past and present and analyse the influence of myths on culture and everyday life. The focus is on intercultural exchange and participants are encouraged to make some surprising discoveries about their own cultural concepts and those of others. The classes are run in cooperation with the Joanneum Archaeology Museum and offer insight into the museum-based side of the topic. The course is aimed at both students who are not native German speakers as well as FH students in general with an interest in cultural exchange, intercultural communication and art. More information you can find in our intercultural focus R.U.D.I (link at the end of this page)
  • ÖSD-Preparation Workshop: Do you want to test your German skills? And set this down for posterity in your curriculum vitae or résumé? Or perhaps include an internationally recognised language diploma in your application? Then the German Language Diploma (Österreichisches Sprachdiplom – ÖSD) is just the right thing for you! In the preparation course (two afternoons à 90 minutes) you will study different types of questions that will come up in the examination and you will be prepared yourself for the examination using sample tests. The two workshops and the material are included in the exam fee.
Participation in the "International Conference of Teachers of German" (IDT)

IDT 2009

The International Conference of Teachers of German (IDT), which takes place every four years, is the world's largest forum for German as a foreign and second language and the largest international event with German as a working language. The 14th IDT took place from 3 to 8 August 2009 in Jena and Weimar and was the largest ever with 2,500 participants. FH JOANNEUM was also represented at IDT 2009 with contributions in two different sections. The first contribution presented the teaching materials for German as a foreign language developed at FH JOANNEUM over the previous two years, which are unique in their way in the higher education sector. In the second contribution, Christoph Hofrichter presented the web medium "wiki". In the courses, exchange students create a mini-Wikipedia with topics that interest them and that they think might also appeal to future exchange students.

IDT 2013

The 15th IDT, which took place in summer 2013 from 29 July to 3 August in Bolzano / South Tyrol, was attended by around 2,700 teachers of German from all over the world. FH JOANNEUM was also represented at the IDT for the second time. The article presented the Tandem Programme at FH JOANNEUM, which has been developed and expanded in recent years.on 31 July to 4 August 2017, the XVI International Conference of Teachers of German took place in Fribourg/Freiburg (Switzerland). More than 1700 people participated in the IDT 2017

IDT 2017

From 31 July to 4 August 2017, the 16th International Conference of Teachers of German took place in Fribourg/Freiburg (Switzerland). More than 1700 people took part, once again including FH JOANNEUM with a contribution on the topic of "The university as a linguistic and cultural mediator: challenges for "German as a foreign language" in times of migration and refugee movements", in the context of the refugee movement of 2015.

IDT 2022

Postponed by two years due to the pandemic, the 17th IDT took place in Vienna. Under the impression of the war in Ukraine and the refugees, FH JOANNEUM presented a poster on the topic of "The university as a place of linguistic and cultural respect".