Although communicating in English is not a problem in many German research institutes, living in Germany is not just work, but also everyday life and recreation. An adequate knowledge of German makes it easier to integrate in daily life, particularly for families, and it will make your stay in Germany more interesting. It is a very good idea to acquire a basic knowledge of German before you come and to develop some understanding of the written language and grammar.
If you or your accompanying family have little prior knowledge of German, several foundations will provide financial support for attending an intensive language course either before coming to Germany or during the first half of a scholarship. For example, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers language scholarships of up to 4 months to attend intensive German courses at a Goethe Institute or another recognized language institute in Germany.
You can find an overview of organizations offering German courses, online learning methods, possible funding and a list of all recognized German language tests in the Internet portal of the DAAD.
For further information on German courses, see "Language Courses at Bielefeld University".
If you are interested in a language tandem you can get more information at
Teutoburger World Tandem.
Another possibility to learn German is to participate in integration courses. These courses are interesting especially for partners, as they take place intensively during a long time period. More detailed information you will find here.
Moreover You have the opportunity to participate in the International Summer German Courses at Bielefeld University. They take place every August and You can choose among different language levels and themes.
When are the public holidays in North-Rhine Westphalia? Where do I open a bank account? Where can I buy a bicycle? And what is so special about a “Pfandflasche”?
The Welcome Centre has gathered lots of useful information on everyday life in Bielefeld and put it into a “Welcome Folder”, which can be collected in the Welcome Centre right after your arrival.
Additionally, you can find more information on living and working in Germany on the following websites:
In Germany, the opening hours of doctors are usually from Monday to Friday. A list of doctors familiar with languages other than German you can request from email@example.com.
If there is an emergency during the weekend you can call the following emergency hotlines:
There is a wide range of cultural events and excursions for students and doctoral candidates organized from the international office.
An overview of the current programme can be found here.
We are looking forward to your participation