Interview
Interview

did deutsch-institut Munich

The did deutsch-institut Munich can look back upon a long and successful past. It was founded in 1977 as the first of four institutions. In 1989, came the founding of the institute in Frankfurt, in 1990, the Berlin institute, and finally, in 2009, the institute in Hamburg.

With an average of 175 weekly participants in the high season and 75 in the low season, the institute is attended by a total of approximately 700 international students per year. The institute enjoys a brisk business and has an interesting, international atmosphere with participants from around the world – from Australia to Cyprus.

The institute, situated on two floors, with its eleven brightly appointed and friendly classrooms, first class, fully equipped multimedia room, Internet café, (free wireless Internet access throughout the entire building), modern independent study center, well-organized library and large, sunny roof terrace, invites students to enjoy a successful and relaxed learning experience.

Mr. Burghart, what distinguishes did deutsch-institut from other language schools in Germany?

Mr Burghart: "The combination of the following three points: First, the quality of our service, second, the possibility, in the context of a single language course, to get to know up to four metropolises, and third, the very comfortable and personal, practically familial atmosphere in our institutes. "

What advantages does the language student enjoy by learning German in Germany?

Mr Burghart: "Material learned in class can subsequently be used successfully to communicate with the host family, in conversation with German friends, or while shopping. Being immersed in the language leads to significantly more rapid internalization of new language structures, and increases motivation to continue with German studies after returning home.."

According to what guiding principles do you govern did deutsch-institut Munich? What school philosophy does the institute embody?

Mr Burghart: "The did deutsch-institut Munich has no particular school philosophy that would distinguish it from the other did institutes. An important principle for all of us is, to the best of our ability, to support our clients in attaining their individual language goals, and to retain flexibility in order to accomplish this objective. This necessitates a continual willingness to be available for communication and cooperation; and therefore, my door is always open to everyone."

How is the institute organized?

Mr Burghart: "Employed at did deutsch-institut Munich are approximately twenty teaching staff members, who work closely in cooperation with our director of pedagogy. In addition, another colleague from the administration takes care of the arrangements for housing students in host families and other accommodations. There is also a person responsible for the free-time program, a computer specialist, cleaning personnel and me. "

A qualified and motivated teaching staff builds an important foundation for the successful acquisition of a new language. The teaching staff is the “capital” of did deutsch-institut. Which important criteria must these teachers meet in teaching German as a foreign language?

Mr Burghart: "They are native speakers of German, possess a university diploma, preferably in “Teaching German as a Foreign Language”, and already have teaching experience. Also important is a basic enthusiasm for the teaching profession, as well as a personality that fits well with the team."

What are the teaching methods like at did deutsch institut?

Mr Burghart: "We do not see ourselves as being governed by one particular methodological dogma, but it is important to us that the students are at the center of instruction, not the teacher. Students should communicate and participate as much as possible in class, and will be assissted by the teacher as moderator, so that their linguistic understanding and expression can be continually and systematically expanded. Further essential characteristics of the teacher are attitude, communicative relevance of topics chosen, clarity and organization in planning and directing classes, as well as fun, vitality and success-orientation. "

How is a consistent quality standard of teaching guaranteed?

Mr Burghart: "Through regular visits to the classroom and an associated system of continuing professional education. Our membership in EAQUALS, the leading association for quality language schools in Europe, guarantees that these Quality Managment- elements are not only implemented, but also function properly. We are subject to periodic, rigorous inspections in order to prove this time and again. "

Participants on all different levels, from total beginners with no previous German knowledge to students with very advanced German skills, study at the institute. How do you do justice to their varying aspirations of learning German?

Mr Burghart: " For students without previous knowledge, we have ten scheduled start dates yearly. The courses begin at the ground level and follow a clearly defined progression: In 44 weeks level C2 can be completed. Some actually stay this long, while others stay for only two weeks. Participants who already speak some German can begin their language course every Monday. After a placement test to determine the linguistic knowledge and communicative ability of the student, they will be integrated into an appropriate course that may already be ongoing. This flexible system functions very well, because it insures that a suitable class is always available for every new student. "

My first day as a German student at the institute. What does the day look like?

Mr Burghart: " You arrive about 9:00 at the reception, where you will be warmly greeted; you receive a folder with information about the school and the city of Munich and will then be briefed about the placement testing process. After the placement test, we will tell you in which classroom your 11:00 instruction will begin. In the summer, there is a walking tour of the city instead of the first two hours of instruction and after the tour, there will be a small grill party on our beautiful roof terrace to welcome you. "

Which language courses are available at did deutsch-institut Munich?

Mr Burghart: " Our offerings include individual and group lessons in German for everyday life, for professional life and for university study, as well as test preparation courses (TestDaF, DSH, or college entrance language exams). Our courses encompass all of the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, in other words, A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. "

Which examinations can be taken at the institute?

Mr Burghart: " Diploma examinations for the Association for the German Language (GfdS) can be taken at the end of levels B1, B2, C1 and C2. The exams take place over a period of two consecutive days, specifically in the last week of the month. In addition, we are also a licensed TestDaF, TestAS and DaF testing institution. "

The well appointed school offers everything for successful language learning. Which extra services are offered in addition to the language course offerings?

Mr Burghart: " Course participants who would like to study at a German university are extensively advised and supported during their application process. In addition, we organize internships for those who would like to apply and improve their German skills in a professional occupational setting. "

In order to learn the German language as well and as quickly as possible, it is important to apply the knowledge learned in class and practice it outside of school. Getting to know the German culture is an efficient and meaningful supplement to in-class learning. To this end, the institute offers a monthly culture and free-time program in and around Munich...

Mr Burghart: " Yes, our free-time adviser organizes and leads it. It is comprised of several escorted excursions every week, as well as numerous tips for the remaining days of the month. Whether it be art, architecture, technology, sports or nature, there is something for every taste. Some of the most popular activities are a day trip to Castle Neuschwanstein, a brewery tour or a visit to the Allianz Arena. Because language and culture are so inextricably intertwined, this free-time program plays an important role in the context of our overall service and mission. "

The central location of the institute, close to the city center and the main train station, offers course participants the best possible opportunity to get to know Munich. What is there of interest to discover in the immediate vicinity of the institute?

Mr Burghart: " Our students repeatedly praise the convenient location of the institute. We are very easily reached by public transportation, and from the institute, all of the important and interesting destinations in Munich are easy to access. What is there of interest to discover in the immediate vicinity of the institute? Hm, perhaps the newspaper salesman in the main train station who walks around barefoot, even in the dead of winter, or the many different snacks to buy in the shops near the institute. "

What do you see as your most important duty/function as director of a language school?

Mr Burghart: " I am never sure whether I can ascribe superior significance to any one individual function of my job. They are all important, and often it just comes down to attention to small details. Honestly, I would probably answer: To keep a fresh, analytical view of things and to remain flexible in the context of customer orientation. "

What motivates you?

Mr Burghart: " To work in a professional and collegial team."

Mr. Burghart, you have been employed at did deutsch-institut Munich for 12 years now. What have you experienced in this time?

Mr Burghart: " Looking at it in hindsight, the time passed rather quickly, but there was never a dull moment. There were many meaningful times with my wonderful colleagues, exciting organizational tasks to accomplish, and above all, interesting people from all different nationalities to meet. That I can collect so many intercultural experiences and regularly continue learning from them without having to leave Munich, is absolutely one of the most wonderful aspects of my employment here. "

Many everyday and not so everyday challenges, the “clash” of different cultures and mentalities and the direction and organization of a language school – Are there any particular events or experiences that you have never forgotten?

Mr Burghart: " I remember fondly several wonderful artists from Korea and China who were with us in a course at the institute and also displayed their artwork. And also the nice Italian student taking evening courses who successfully held his teacher’s hand – she was female, by the way. "

Why would you recommend Munich as a course location?

Mr Burghart: " Whether you believe it or not: In Munich, we speak first-class standard German. Today, in order to hear the Bavarian dialect, you must go out into the countryside. And the city has much more to offer than the stereotypical image of the red-cheeked man, beer stein in hand, wearing lederhosen: A wonderful, historic old city with extensive green spaces, parks and gardens, innumerable magnificent museums, gems of baroque architecture, theaters, concert halls and movie theaters, a shopperÂ’s paradise with a variety of superior German and international restaurants, but also many nice little cafes, trendy bars and clubs with live music. Furthermore, Munich is the high-tech capital of Germany, has three first-class universities, cutting-edge research centers and is nationally recognized and respected as occupying the top spot when it comes to quality of life, educational level and safety and security. Modern flair and traditional charm combine here to produce a totally unique atmosphere that you absolutely must experience at least once. "

What do you love about Munich?

Mr Burghart: " Personally, my favorite places in Munich are the Old Botanical Garden, the Valentin-Karlstadt-Musäum and the 59:1."

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