One of the easiest places to find a basic German course in South Africa is the friendly city of Port Elizabeth. In fact, no matter where you are learning additional foreign languages is becoming increasingly common, and in this article, we will at why!

Firstly, learning the German language is very popular amongst South Africans because of the deep roots between the two nations that go back centuries. This connection dates back to when German migrants and missionaries settled in the Western Cape during the time of Dutch Rule. This is one of the reasons why there is such a profound German influence in and around Cape Town today, however, there is also a very active community of Germans in Port Elizabeth.

One only needs to consider the highly regarded  German Club in Lorraine as proof of this. The club is known for its excellent restaurant, beer garden, and function venues and if often booked by members of the public for private events.

It makes sense that with so many German people living in all corners of the country, many South Africans want to connect with them through their native language by finding a German teacher or taking German classes.

There are many other reasons why German classes are so popular, and indeed beneficial, and in this article, we will look at those, as well as a few suggestions on how to get started. Keep reading!

The Thriving German Communities of South Africa

Germans are a nation that loves to not only travel (they reportedly spend more annually on travel than they do on their motor vehicles) and also settle in other parts of the world. In fact, there are about 100 million German people living all over the world.

As already mentioned, the strong contingent of Germans dates back a number of centuries when German settlers were included into the existing French and Dutch communities already in the country, but since then their interest in South Africa has continued unabated.

It makes sense that with so many German people travelling, they simply fall in love with the culture, lifestyle, and climate of South Africa when on holiday. Many of these German visitors to South Africa return to set up residence for at least six months of the year, if not more.

Did you know that there are actually about 600 German companies based in South Africa? Some of these are Lufthansa, Bayer, Volkswagen, and Siemens. In fact, Volkswagen actually has a large manufacturing plant in Uitenhage, just outside of Port Elizabeth.

With all this German influence in South Africa’s commerce and industry, it stands to reason that a German teacher can benefit the ambitious, career-minded South African.

Boost Your Career with a Basic German Course

With this great number of German companies in the country, thousands of employees are exposed to German on a daily basis. Many of these recognise that a basic German course, or indeed a private German teacher could greatly advance their careers. There are actually many sectors in South Africa where German is very helpful and the German Chamber of Commerce has gone so far as to say that German fluency is highly sought after in the education, tourism and culture sectors.

woman using laptop in office
Boost your career by taking German lessons. - Source: Unsplash

Further afield, it is common for professionals to further their careers with overseas work stints, or secondments. This means that adding foreign languages to an already impressive CV greatly enhances employability.  

One of the most popular work destinations for South Africa in the UK, which incidentally has very strong commercial ties with Germany. Not only that, in terms of Europe’s business reputation, German is considered to be the economic powerhouse of the continent.

If any of this sounds appealing to you, consider a basic German course and add a level of foreign language proficiency to the skillsets section of your CV.

When it comes to acquiring a new language as an adult, there is no doubt that private tuition with a German teacher for instance is the best way to fast-track progress. Websites like Superprof offer tutors all over South Africa, including German tutors in Port Elizabeth for around R300 per hour.

The Advantages of a Private German Tutor

The benefits of a private, dedicated German teacher are fairly obvious, but one of the main ones is that you can learn at a pace that suits you. Not only that, but it’s possible that you could take your German classes in the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you.

Alternatively, if you find a tutor on Superprof you could easily find someone to give you online German classes from anywhere in the world.

The key thing about choosing a private German teacher is to choose one that suits both your goals and level of ability. If for instance, you are a first language German student, but having difficulty with certain parts of your syllabus, you may not need a basic German course, but rather a native German, highly qualified teacher who can assist you with exam preparation, German literature or other more complex language issues.

Using another example, you may require a German teacher to help you with business phrases, terminology, and email writing. By explaining this need to your tutor upfront, you could even use your industry as the canvas, so to speak, for your lessons!

Using Superprof comes with a few benefits, one of these is that in many cases the first lesson is offered for free. This is a good opportunity to establish whether you connect with the tutor, to explain your reasons for wanting to learn German and to find out more about them.

Tutors on Superprof who have been using the platform for some time, whether that has been to offer a basic German course, or tailor-made lessons according to the student’s requests, also have reviews on their profile page. Make sure you look out for those and check out what others have had to say.

Find a Language Buddy

There’s no doubt that the best way to learn a foreign language is through total language immersion. The best way to do this is to pack up and move to a foreign country where the language is spoken. This is when your whole life becomes one long German lesson – every trip to the deli, chemist, or taxi ride is an opportunity, to speak and to listen. Except, of course, this is all a lot more fun, and probably more beneficial than sitting in a classroom.

Language immersions in German-speaking countries are popular with university exchange students, or work-aways who take up jobs, like au pairing German children, where English is sought after.

fresh produce market in Germany
Visit Germany and communicate with confidence, after taking German lessons. - Source: Unsplash

Not everyone who is wanting to improve their German can go and live in Germany. However, there is one next best thing, and that is to take up a mutually beneficial relationship with a language buddy!

The reason a language buddy is so important is that you need a way to practise speaking and also listening, reading, and writing. Having that buddy makes all this possible.

But if you don’t know a German native from your own community, where would you find a language buddy? You could start by asking your own network of family and friends, but there is another option too – social media!

What better way to practise your German than to make a language buddy out of someone who already follows the same interests as you on social media. Simply follow German Instagram or Facebook accounts of things you are interested in whether that is sport, cooking, or charities, and reach out to a German native. It’s likely that they will want to learn English and be equally enthused by the idea!

Other Fun Ways to Learn German

At the end of the day, learning any new language will take more than weekly classes with your tutor, but besides a language buddy, there are many ways to supplement your studies. Firstly, try and read German books (even if they are children’s books), newspapers and magazines. You could also watch German TV or films.

Try listening to German radio, which you can live stream these days regardless of which corner in the world you find yourself.

Don’t forget that you can download audiobooks and podcasts on subjects that interest you too. If you are into multiplayer gaming, find German players with whom you can chat!

When it comes to adding creative methods to supplement your German lessons the list is endless. Try taking sticky notes and placing them on common objects around your home. Every time you open the fridge, you will be reminded that is in fact a Kühlschrank.

Your German teacher probably has a host of other ideas to add to these fun ideas.

Learning a new language, like German, will make you part of a community of 55 million people who speak it as a second language. So what are you waiting for? Viel Glük!

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.