German Integration course

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German Integration Course for Foreigners- My Experience

If you are a foreigner who has arrived in Germany and who plans to live in Germany, learning German is an obvious and logical thing to do. Germany is a country where most of the communication, written or oral, happens in German. Hence, learning the language is very important. You will not only need to know the language for your work but also to read official documents from the office/school etc., understand conversations happening at work/school meetings and, or in emergencies like visiting the doctor/accident etc., and of course, for basic everyday needs such as shopping, communicating with colleagues, neighbours, parent groups etc.

When I moved to Germany, because of my language limitation, I faced most of the problems sited above and decided to take up a German language Course. In this article, I shall take my readers through the steps I took and how I completed the course successfully. I took the Integrationskurs, in which I learnt German to the B1 level and did a course called Leben in Deutschland. I will answer a few questions below to help you understand more about it.

What is an Integrationskurs?

Integrationskurs translates to Integration Course. This program is targeted towards people ( above 17 years of age) who have moved into Germany and plan to live in Germany and hence, want to get ‘integrated’ into the system. It is coordinated and supported by Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF).

Integrationskurs has two parts – The language part, which takes you up to the B1 level and the Leben in Deutschland part, which covers basics about life in Germany, the social and political system in the country, its history etc.

How can you find an Integration Course near you?

You can check the link below for finding the language schools near you which offer this course:

Please note that many language schools, called Sprachschule, offer this course. You can also visit the VHS (Volkshochschule) in your city. They offer this course. And if their batches are full or they cannot offer you a course when you desire, you can ask them for a list of schools who offer the course.

It may also be a good idea to check with your friends who have attended the course and take feedback about their school. You could also check google reviews to shortlist the schools.

The next step is to call/mail the language schools and get information about the course start date, timings etc. If the dates and timings suit you and you confirm that you want to take the course with them, they will ask you to come for the Einstufungstest, a test to gauge your language level and suggest the level at which you should start.

What does the course include?

Well, I have partially answered this part above. But let me tell you a little more.

The Integration course has two parts- Language & Orientation ( called Orientierungskurs)

The course covers language levels A1, A2 and B1. The language part of the course is broken into modules-namely A1.1, A1.2, A2.1, A2.2, B1.1 and B1.2. This means that each of the three levels is split into two parts.

The course is created in such a way that, along with the language, topics that are relevant to living in Germany are covered. For example, You may have a chapter on schools/schooling system, a chapter on office life or a lesson on shopping/consumer rights etc. Through these topics, along with learning the related vocabulary and grammar, you will also get to know about ‘ how it happens in Germany‘. The teacher will discuss these topics in the classroom, and you will get plenty of opportunities to talk and express your ideas in German.

Orientierungskurs is conducted after you have completed B1. In this course, you learn about the history, culture, politics etc., in the context of Germany and your state. It is called Leben in Deutschland.

What is the course duration?

The total course duration is 700 Stunden. In German, Eine Stunde means 45 minutes; therefore, this course duration is 45 minutes X 700 = 31,500 minutes. i,e approx 525 Hours.

The language part takes 600 Stunde, and the Orientierungskurs takes 100 Stunde.

Now, If you look at the course, it is divided into A1, A2 and B1 levels. Therefore each level takes up 600/3=200 Stunde, which can be further broken down to A1.1 requiring 100 Stunde, A1.2 requiring another 100 Stunde and so on.

Typically, the language schools plan the course in such a way that each day, you have to attend the class for approx 4 hours, with a short 15 min break in between. Weekends are off. Therefore, if you attend 4 hours of class each day, you complete the course in approximately:

525 Hours(total course hours)/4( hours per day)= 131 days approx.

Given that weekends are off and you roughly go for 22 days a month, you can reasonably conclude that:

The course duration is approximately 131 (Total days)/22( days per month)=6 months.

This duration can vary if the school decides to give holidays in between OR if you don’t start the course from the A1 Level. For example, I had completed my A1 Level in India, therefore, I started the course from A2.1, and hence, completed the course in 500 Stunde instead of 700.

What is the evaluation method/What certificate do you get after successfully completing the course?

The course works on the method of constant evaluation. Whenever a topic is completed or a concept is taught, the teacher can plan a small test/quiz to check your understanding. So, it is essential to complete your homework and do self-study at home before the next class. Also, at the end of each module, there is a test that you need to appear for. However, in my experience, they typically don’t fail you at any level in between. For example, say after the A2 level test, the teacher feels that you are not up to the mark and there is scope for improvement, she/he will give you feedback but not stop you from moving to further modules. The whole idea is to bring you to B1 level at the end of the course. This shall be done by teaching through books and worksheets and conducting mock tests in the class, and making you brush up on your reading, writing, speaking and hearing skills in German.

Once you have completed the said number of hours for the language course, the Orientierungskurs ( Orientation Course) will start. Once you finish that course, the language school will arrange for the B1 level language exam and Leben in Deutschland exam. This exam is conducted in the presence of an external examiner/s. For the language part, you will be tested on four aspects- reading, writing, hearing and speaking. For the Leben in Deutschland part, you will be given 33 multiple-choice questions you must answer in the stipulated time.

After a few months, you will receive the result, and you can pick up your certificates from your language school.

The certificates are called: Deutsch-Test fur Zuwanderer by TELC and Leben in Deutschland.

What is the significance of this course and certificate?

The course provides you with language proficiency, and the certificate proves you have reached level B1 in the German Language. The language certificate and the Leben in Deutschland certificate must be submitted when you want to apply for Permanent residence ( Niederlassungserlaubnis) and later for citizenship too. This certificate stays valid forever ( unlike other language exams Eg. TOEFL).

What is the course fee?

This is the interesting part. Integrationskurs is an affordable language learning program. The fee depends on the language school/ the city/year in which you undertake the course. In 2020, when I did this course, the fee was 1.95 Euros/pro-Stunde, which translated to 195 Euros for every 100 Stunde. As mentioned earlier, each module is completed in 100 Stunde, so anyone who did the course at that time, including all the modules, i.e. A1.1, A1.2, A2.1, A2.2, B1.1 and B1.2 and Orientierungskurs, he/she would pay 1.95 Euros X 700= 1365 Euros.

As of 2023, the fee is 2.29 Euros/pro-Stunde. Whenever you plan to do the course, check the fee here:

This fee includes the course and the exam fee. If you check other private schools, you will find out that the fee will be much more than this, the duration will be shorter, and there will be an additional fee for the exam.

But this gets even more interesting. You will get half your money back if you complete the course within two years and pass the exam. Therefore, if you complete the course within two years and pass the exam, the course will cost you 1365/2= 682.5 Euros.

Let’s say you start the course but, for some reason, are unable to complete it, you have two years from the time you enrolled for the course to complete it and clear the exam. You can talk to your language school after completing a module and discontinue if you wish to, and join later for the rest of the course. But make sure that you complete the course within two years to get half your money back.

Please note that: If you receive citizenship benefit (Bürgergeld), unemployment benefit (Arbeitslosengeld) or subsistence benefits (Leistungen zum Lebensunterhalt), you will be exempted from paying the fee. But you must apply for it by downloading and filling in the required form. ( More info about forms give further in the article)

Later in the article, I explained the process of applying for the course/how to get the money back, etc.

Are there any additional expenditures?

Yes. Participants have to arrange for the books themselves. The language school gives you the name and ISBN code of the books they will use for the course. The books are easily available on Amazon or any big bookshop like Thalia.

In addition, the participants must bear the commute expenses to the school and back home.

Please note that: Travel costs can also be availed by people who are eligible for citizenship benefits (Bürgergeld), unemployment benefits (Arbeitslosengeld) or subsistence benefits (Leistungen zum Lebensunterhalt). Again, they must fill out a form and submit it for approval. ( More info about forms give further in the article)

What preparation material is used for the course and test?

As mentioned above, the school will ask you to buy Kursbuch and Arbeitsbuch (Coursebook and workbook) for each level. There is a book called Leben in Deutschland ‘ for the Orientierngskurs, which you must also buy.

In my Language school, these were the books that were used for the course:

A1 : Pluspunkt Deutsch A1 Kursbuch und Arbeitsbuch
A2: Pluspunkt Deutsch A2 Kursbuch und Arbeitsbuch
B1: Pluspunkt Deutsch B1 Kursbuch und Arbeitsbuch
Leben in Deutschland

In addition, the teachers will give you worksheets, sample tests etc, in the class.

For the Orientieringskurs, however, apart from reading the book, you have to prepare 300 questions from this link: Choose your state and study the relevant questions.

Step by Step process to do the Integrationskurs in Germany:

  1. Find your eligibility: Check if you are eligible to attend this course using this link:
  2. If elibigle, download the form from:;jsessionid=B23E72BB13728EC7D2FC08699017BCBC.intranet251?__blob=publicationFile&v=25

    All the relevant forms for the program ( including full course fee support from BAMF/ Support to cover the travel cost etc) are available here:
  3. Fill out the form, attach the required documents, and send them to the regional office of BAMF, which you can find here:
  4. The BAMF will send a reply by post. If you are allowed to attend the course, you will receive a letter with the subject: Bestätigung über die Berechtigung zur Teilnahme am Integrationskurs ( which means: Confirmation of entitlement to participate in the integration course). You have to hand over this letter to the Language school.
  5. Start attending the classes and pay the fee from your pocket after each level. Save the invoices.
  6. At the end of the course, give the exam and complete the course.
  7. Wait till your result comes. This can take a couple of weeks. Once the result comes, make a copy of the certificates and send them along with the filled form and invoices to BAMF. The link to the form is:;jsessionid=B7CE7286368AFBCDD446075F3AFBB8C0.intranet261?__blob=publicationFile&v=19
  8. After a few weeks, you will receive a post stating that a refund has been initiated. In a few days, the refund shall be credited to the bank account that you mentioned in the form.

Here are some tips regarding the Integration Course based on my Experience:

  1. The course goes on for a long duration, so plan to start it when you can foresee no travel plans and other plans that can disrupt your flow. It is best to do the course at a stretch instead of giving it breaks in between. It disrupts the continuity, and one tends to forget what was previously taught.
  2. Typically, the classes continue to be conducted even during vacations, so plan accordingly (with Christmas vacations being an exception). So, before enrolling for the course, clearly understand the start and end date and the days when you will get holidays.
  3. Since the classes are conducted for approximately four hours every day, there is a lot of content that gets covered each day. So, taking out time at home every day is vital for staying up to date. You will have to dedicate time every day to complete your homework and revise what was taught in class. The course is fast-paced too, so if you miss self-study for a few days, you will feel lost in the class.
  4. If there is a choice between an in-class course and an online course, choose the former. You always learn better when you physically attend the classes. It gives you more opportunities to talk to people and practice your speaking skills.
  5. For the Leben in Deutchland test, although the book is important from a learning perspective, practising the 300 questions ( link shared already) is essential to pass the exams. In the exam, 33 questions shall be asked, and they will be from this pool of 300 questions. So, practice well.

Here are my tips for German Language Learning based on my experience:

  1. It is best to learn the language from a native speaker. While you may get cheaper/more convenient options for learning it from non-native speakers, in my opinion, they severely fall short in teaching correct pronunciation and diction. While, in theory, you may be completing language levels and progessing, you may not be fully equipped to handle conversations well if you learn from a non-native speaker. I say this from my own experience. I completed A1 in India and learnt it from a local teacher in Bangalore. Because the language was taught with a mix of English and German, at the end of the course, while I had got my concepts right, I was not equipped to speak basic sentences with the proper accent.
  2. If you want to learn German, it is best to learn it in Germany. If it is required that you attain a certain level of German proficiency before entering the country, then, of course, you don’t have a choice. But if you have a choice of coming to Germany and then learning, please use this opportunity. The first reason is, as mentioned above that you learn from a native speaker. The second is that you get many more chances to practise what you have learnt. In your everyday life, you will encounter many situations that may require you to learn new words, interact with people etc, which will help you understand the language better.
  3. Don’t stop learning after the course is over. I can’t emphasise how important this is. Many of us learn well during the course but tend to forget soon after the course ends because we don’t get ample opportunities to interact with locals, and hence limited chances to remember what we learnt. However few the chances may be, to learn from your environment, you need to continue practicing. Learning need not always be from a textbook. You can watch German news and shows, read newspapers etc. and keep brushing up on your language skills.

I hope, with this article, I have covered most of the questions related to the Integration program and German language learning. But your go-to place for all the latest information is the BAMF Website: It is pretty comprehensive and has all the information you need for this course.

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