Poor knowledge of the German language is an important reason for international students dropping out of their studies
Dropouts are a well-known problem for international students in Germany. As Times Higher Education has now reported, the results of a survey by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) confirm the assumption that poor knowledge of the German language is a major factor in the dropout of international students.
Lack of knowledge of German for studies and everyday life
The DAAD survey of more than 4,500 international students at 125 universities showed that many lack the necessary knowledge of German and that some students only realize during their studies that their knowledge is not sufficient for a thesis.
For example, only about a third of the international bachelor’s or master’s students in German-language courses stated that they took part in class discussions or asked questions.
The situation is somewhat better in the English-language degree programs, where more than half of the students answered yes to the question of participation in class. On the other hand, the students in these courses complained that they often lacked the German language skills to cope with their everyday life in Germany.
International students overestimate their knowledge of German
Despite this, many international students overestimate their language skills. As another study conducted by Professor Katrin Wisniewski at the University of Bamberg shows. Because according to this study, 80 percent of the students examined believed that they had reached the required language level, while this was actually the case for only around 20 percent.
Recommendations for linguistic study preparation
The authors of the DAAD report conclude that when preparing for a degree in Germany, it is particularly important to focus on the entire range of language skills and to prepare the students for authentic language challenges in a German-language seminar or lecture hall.
Likewise, clear expectations should be formulated and stricter tests carried out, since a generous grade can make it easier to get started in Germany, but there is a risk that the students will stop in the middle of their studies.
Study preparation in the German College
The findings of the two studies fully correspond to our 40 years of experience in language preparation for studying in Germany.
That is why we at the Deutschkolleg attach particular importance to the systematic development of all language skills of our course participants, i.e. oral (“speaking”) and written expression (“writing”), listening and reading comprehension (“listening” and “reading”).
Written and oral reports and lectures, taking notes while listening or formulating questions or independent contributions to discussions in the higher course levels help our course participants to independently cope with the later requirements of the course.
Weekly performance tests in the courses show our course participants regularly and honestly where they actually stand in terms of developing their language skills.