The fact that German is not your native language should not prevent you coming to Germany. One glance at the websites of most research institutes and projects shows that English is the lingua franca of German research. Increasingly often, research groups are internationally networked and work with scientists and scholars from all over the world. Communication in English is usually taken for granted here.
Staff at German institutes frequently communicate and publish in English, especially in the natural and engineering sciences. In many humanities and social sciences subjects, however, adequate knowledge of German is required for a successful research stay. In other words, which language is used for communication depends on your subject and the respective institute.
Good reasons for learning German
Nevertheless, there are still good reasons for learning German: life also goes on outside your institute or campus. If you would like to get to know Germany, its culture and its inhabitants better, basic knowledge of the German language definitely helps. And in everyday life it is definitely helpful to be able to communicate in the language of the host country. Would you like to know more? The Goethe-Institut has published answers to the question: Ten reasons to learn German
German Language Courses
The Goethe-Institut is the globally active cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany and offers professional German courses for foreigners in over 90 countries and in Germany itself. If you are unable to attend a language course, you can also learn German in a distance learning course at the Goethe-Institut – supported by a personal tutor. Similar online courses are offered by Deutsch-Uni Online.
Knowledge of German is required?
If knowledge of German is required – for example, in an application for a grant – you will have to prove that you have attained a certain standard. Recognised qualifications include the certificates of the Goethe-Institut.
You can also demonstrate your knowledge of the language with Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF), which tests German language skills at different levels. Make sure you find out what is expected of you in good time. The Goethe-Institut has compiled an overview of its different examination levels and what they mean.