What is Goethe Institut and How it helped me Learn German?

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Written By Alex

You might ask yourself: What is Goethe Institut, and why could it be essential for you to attend one of their German language courses? Let me explain how I started learning German many years ago on my own.

I went to Goethe Institut after I got to the B1 level. There I attended courses and took my certificates up to C1 German.

In this article, you’ll find out what is Goethe Institut and how it can help you reach proficiency in German.

Who was Goethe? >>

Can you learn German at Goethe Institut in Germany? >>

Where is Goethe Institut internationally? >>

Does Goethe Institut offer online courses? >>

Costs for learning German at Goethe Institut? >>

What is Goethe Institut Certificate (B1, B2, C1)? >>

Who was Goethe?

Johan Wolfgang von Goethe was a German multi-talented man that lived between 1749 to 1832. He was a poet, novelist, scientist, statesman, theater director, playwright, and critic. His influence on the German language, poetry, and literature is significant.

He is often compared to Shakespeare and Dante. Some of his best-known literary pieces are “The Sorrows of Young Werther “(1774) and Faust (Part I in 1808, Part II in 1832).

The effect of all the work that he created during his lifetime was so significant that it lasted far beyond the 19th century. If you want to learn more about this German poet and writer, please consider looking at this Wikipedia about him.

So, to name one of the most significant German-language schools after his name and establish the A1 to C2 levels as a worldwide standard does make sense to me.

Can you learn German at Goethe Institut in Germany?

Yes, you can learn German at Goethe Institut in Germany. But does Goethe Institut exactly do? They are not only a language school, even if their primary service is to provide courses and certificates to learn German.

Goethe Institut also has some political influence because, in the end, they support immigrants learning German. Since Goethe Institut operates internationally – more on that in the next paragraph – they also help people, who may have plans to work in Germany, learn German.

But let me focus on the essentials for now.

Courses for immigrants

As mentioned, you can learn German in Germany at Goethe Institut. Their courses are specifically designed for immigrants who already live in Germany.

Courses for companies

The Goethe Institut also offers special courses for companies that hire foreigners to support them in integrating their staff into the local communities. But it’s not only about the workforce but also for students who want to study in Germany.

Courses for exam preparation

You can find courses tailored to your needs on their website. There are evening and weekend classes and intensive courses that help you reach your goal faster. You can also take special exam preparation courses if you prepare for your exams (B1 to C2).

Goethe Institut offers in-person courses in 12 different cities in Germany. Among those cities are Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt, and Göttingen, among others. You can quickly sign up by submitting an online form at the bottom of the following page.

Where is Goethe Institut internationally?

If you are not yet living in Germany but are considering spending some time there to work or study, I recommend going to one of the Goethe Institut schools abroad. You can find one of their offices in more than 97 countries worldwide, including:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • China
  • Japan
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • and many more

If you wonder what Goethe Institut is, you should look at its long history. As a German institute, it already expanded to Athens in 1952. The Goethe Institut has about 158 institutes worldwide that you can visit to learn German.

From a historical standpoint, this date is very interesting because Germany needed much workforce after WWII. In theory, it’s an association affiliated with the federal foreign office of Germany.

On their website, you can check almost at the bottom of the page whether Goethe Institut does have a school in your country.

Does Goethe Institut offer online courses?

Besides offering in-person classes, the Goethe Institut also offers online German language courses. From my knowledge, they are structured similarly to face-to-face classes in one of their schools.

There are dedicated lessons with instructors, assignments without instructors, specific courses for getting ready to take one of the exams, and virtual group sessions. The instructors will also assign some homework and prepare you for the tests.

Those online sessions are suitable for all levels, from A1 to C2. It would help if you continued learning at home in addition to the online courses.

What are the fees for learning German at Goethe Institut?

In Germany, online courses start at 159 euros for ten conversation training sessions. Dedicated group training begins at 399 euros and can get as expensive as 849 euros for an intense period with 74 daily sessions.

If you feel comfortable learning without an instructor, other courses start at 239 euros for 70 hours of learning material. But the price varies between countries, and it may make sense to begin learning German outside of Germany.

To give you an example, in Spain, an online course for language training in German at Goethe Institut currently costs only 79 euros.

In-person courses, on the other hand, for example, in Barcelona, start at 290 euros.

If you took a similar path in Germany, you would have to pay at least 399 euros.

I can tell you from my experience that it may make sense to check the pricing before you consider moving to Germany.

Start learning in the country of origin instead of beginning your German training when you arrive in Germany.

What is Goethe Institut Certificate (B1, B2, C1)

Goethe Institut offers a wide variety of certificates to learners who complete their German language courses.

Those certificates are A1 and A2 for beginners, B1 and B2 for advanced, and C1 or C2 for experts in German. You will always have the option to learn for those exams online or in-person with or without teachers.

The certificates are recognized worldwide as proof of your knowledge of German.

Let me briefly introduce some of the certificates I obtained by taking the exams at Goethe Institut.

Goethe-Zertifikat B1

The Goethe B1 Certificate is a German exam for adults and children. Passing the exam means showing an independent use of the German language. By passing it, you indicate that you can:

  1. Understand the primary information when standard language is used. At that level, you still have to be familiar with the topic.
  2. Get along well enough to travel through German-speaking countries
  3. Express yourself coherently about familiar topics and other areas of interest.
  4. Report on experiences and events. In addition, you can also describe dreams, hopes, and goals and give brief explanations and reasons.

Goethe-Zertifikat B2

Achieving the Goethe-Zertifikat B2 is essential when you either want to study in Germany or apply for a job in Germany where advanced knowledge of German is required. Also, getting a B2 level certificate is crucial if you have a medical profession. By passing the exam, you show that you are:

  1. Able to understand complex content on either concrete or abstract topics. You also show that you understand conversations between specialists in your area of expertise.
  2. Able to communicate spontaneously and fluently. A typical conversation with native speakers should be possible without significant efforts on both sides.
  3. Able to express yourself in detail on a broader range of topics and explain your point of view. You can also define the advantages and disadvantages of different options.

Goethe-Zertifikat C1

Obtaining the Goethe Certificate C1 is highly recommended for people who want to study in Germany. If you want to show proof of your comprehensive knowledge of the German language or work in the medical field, it’s good to have that level. As soon as you pass the exam, every employer will understand that you can:

  1. Understand a wide range of demanding and longer texts. You are also able to grasp implicit meanings.
  2. Express yourself spontaneously and fluently without having to search for words a lot.
  3. Effectively and flexibly use the language in social and professional life. This should also include training and studies.
  4. Express yourself clearly and in a structured manner and detail complex issues.


Passing the Goethe Certificate B1, B2, and C1 significantly improved my German and helped me get to where I am today.

I highly recommend spending the time and effort to learn for those exams and get them.

That way, you can prove your experience to yourself and future employers in Germany.

I hope you found this introduction about Goethe Institut and how it can be beneficial for your career helpful.