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Top 3 German Language Schools in Zurich

Top 3 German Language Schools in Zurich

While researching schools for intensive German courses in Zurich, we realized that there are different approaches and models, resulting in various quality levels of language education.

In order to save you the hassle of due diligence once you are ready to study Deutsch in Zürich, we have compiled our findings for what we propose to be the top 3 schools in Zurich. We are not affiliated with any of these schools and do not get a kick-back for referrals. We are simply providing an unbiased assessment of reviews readily available online.

Here are the top 3 German language schools in Zurich:

 

Alpha Sprachwelt

- Tuition (per 45 min. lesson): starting at CHF 15.90
- Class size: 4 to 10 students
- Description: Convenient location at Zurich Stadelhofen, flexible/pro-rated tuition based on starting date
- More information

 

EB Zurich

- Tuition (per 45 min. lesson): CHF 12.40
- Class size: 6 to 14 students
- Description: Mature and motivated student body, everyday situations and vocabulary take precedence over grammar, various locations around Zurich
- More information (Website is in German only)

 

UNUmondo

- Tuition (per 60 min. lesson): From CHF 85
- Class size: One-to-one coaching sessions
- Description: Based on personal needs and interests, you will be matched with a locally trained coach to learn German or Swiss German. You have the freedom to choose any location, and your coach will teach you real world language that is practical and relevant to you.
- More information (Mention Newly Swissed for a 60 franc discount off your first session!)

 

Bonus: Duolingo for Free Language Learning

Duolingo Language Learning AppDuolingo is an online community offering free language courses in more than 30 languages - including German, French and Italian. I have taken their French classes before and got sucked in by the built-in gamification elements ("Just one more level until you reach...").

I like Duolingo because it combines the traditional way of learning a language ("Basics") with interactive elements (eg. lists of top students). The best part is that language courses can be attended while on the go: The free mobile app contains much the same classes as the browser version.

 

Our conclusion about finding a German language school in Zürich

Although much seems to depend on the character and skill level of the particular teacher, the following schools are often reported to be of rather mediocre quality:

- Migros Klubschule (often too basic, or with many students at different skill levels)
- Alemania (class sizes tend to be large/course materials not adequate)
- Benedict (too commercial/low-paid teachers)

Please help to keep this post current by adding your own experiences in the comments below!

Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of the Swiss Travelwriters Club.

Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.

33 comments

  • Hi

    Alemania uses Them Aktuell by Hueber, which many of the leading schools also use. I have studied here and the class sizes have never been larger than 8 and the teachers very good, and excellent for the price.

    Migros Klbuschule I have also studied at and found it to be similar to Alemania, just more expensive.

    I found your message about quality (or lack of) in some schools to be bound in generalisations, something that one shold be careful of. Every persons experience is different at each of these schools, depending on who attends the class, who the teacher is etc.

    The top two you have mentioned is probably true, although I have no experience of them. You get what you pay for and you must pay top dollar for these schools. I am just not convinced the extra dollars improves your German faster than being self motivated in a good schooling environment which is possible at any school with the right teacher and class mates.

  • Hi James,
    Based on my research, I would agree with you that Alemania makes the Top 5 list, but I also think that the example of Migros Klubschule (eg. expensive) shows that top dollar does not automatically translate into top quality.

    Again, this ranking is only partially based on facts, such as class size and price level. Moreover, it is an analysis of customer satisfaction from people who have attended these schools… To your point, apart from hard facts, quality will come down to soft values such as the personality of your teacher and the configuration of your class.

  • This is my second intensive course at EB Zurich. I’m very satisfied with their price, course materials and teachers. By far, I believe EB Zurich offers well structured lessons for the lowest price. It uses “Deutsch in der Schweiz” (about CHF 70) for three intensive beginner courses. One intensive course costs about CHF 750-800.
    I took 1/3 (the first section), skipped the second one and now am taking the third section. At the end of the third intensive course, there will be an official test to measure students’ progress.

    Of course, how much we can learn depends on the chemistry between the students and teachers. At least, EB Zurich has two teachers per class. Some students prefer one teacher’s method, while others excel with the second teacher. This also gives students more chances to listen to “different” German.

    I feel “conversation” is the hardest hurdle for beginners. In a group lesson, teachers usually let students practice German phrases with each other. In the beginning, it is very frustrating though. First off, we don’t have enough vocabulary.
    Secondly, we don’t quite understand each other’s pronunciation. Third, we’re not sure how to correct our own pronunciation or phrases.

    I believe it will be always the same in the beginning, unless you have a private conversation lesson. At EB Zurich, four teachers I know took at least 30 minutes for conversation. In my opinion, it’s enough time out of the 180 minutes lesson. Also, they are always open to have more conversation during the 20 minutes break. At this point, I try to calm myself, try not to be frustrated so much, and tell myself that it will take months… So, I should not be exhausted yet!

  • i take my first intensive class for German language at Migros Klub Schule. I will finish my A1/2 by this week. but after one month I still can not speak German. yes, it ‘s true I understand the grammar but I can’t speak and my listening is so bad too. there is a different among students in class because most of them can speak quite good German language while I am very new to German language. so I found it’s boring for me in class at Migros becos I still can not speak and my listening is still bad. therefore, i am thinking to find a new school. and i want something that is practical for me to speak and listening more than just a gramma. i think Migros is not that good as price we pay. i have a limited budget. i want a reasonable price for the school but helping me to speak out and listen better in real life. cos i really want to find a job very soon. i need a good suggestion to learn german. a best way that will help me to speak and understand german language will be appreciated. any shcool suggested with a reasonable price also.
    thanks
    aisha

    btw, I wondering why the language school cost in switzerland is so expensive. I have 3 friends who is now living in German and are studing German language too. they pay about 500 euro for 3 months learning german course and learning everyday. price is so cheap if you compare to price here in switzerland . why is it so cheap in German? it is also a famous language school there. but here in zurich, everywhere seems a higher cost for a language tuition.

    • I would suggest you look into EB Zürich, because you will get the best return on investment there. As a previous poster mentioned, they spend a decent amount of time on conversation during each class, and the focus is on learning everyday situations and language. Good luck with your Deutsch!

  • I found this great deal on a German class at the Zentrum ELCH in Zurich-Affoltern. It is $246 for 4 hours of classes per week starting next week through Feb. 10. It’s the best (only) deal I’ve found in Switzerland. The classes are Tues and Thursday mornings from 9-11am.

    It is called “Intercultural courses of German, for women beginners”. The course targets are:
    – acquiring a basic knowledge of the German language
    – being able to understand and have simple everyday conversations and to obtain information about different subjects
    – knowing methods of learning and working

    The course would be at Zentrum ELCH – CeCe-Areal, Wehntalerstr. 634, 8046 Zuerich.

    They do not currently have enough people to offer the class. Help! Take the class with me! I do believe, however, that it is only for women. Weird.

    website: http://www.ZentrumELCH.ch

  • I want to do some intensive courses during my time in Zurich and so I went for a language test at Alemania, , as I thought this school was a bargain. However, after completing my language level test the lady correcting it saw I had missed a couple of pages of the test. I have to say at this point I am a near beginner, and found the test 90% incomprehensible. My confidence was further knocked down by the condescension of the woman who told me how bad my test was, and there was no need to complete the two pages I had missed, as she could tell I was a beginner. I really never expected to to find someone there who would actually make me feel ashamed of being a beginner! Extraordinary behavior! Will look into the other options mentioned here. Thanks.

    • Hi Oli!
      I am very sorry about your recent experience, but I appreciate you sharing it with the community! All the best with your future Deutsch endeavours… And please report back about your experiences!

      Vielen Dank,
      Dimitri

  • I am surprised no one has mentioned getting an online tutor. Both myself and my daughter work with language tutors through Skype. You get one on one attention and pay a reasonable fee (it helps if they are not located in Switzerland). Currently, I pay $20/hr, which is comparable to the Alpha at $14/45min.
    I started with Livemocha and used memory software like Mnemosyne (free) which helps you memorize vocabulary using spaced repetition. I think it is important to have a small foundation built up before starting classes…learn how to pronounce the words (best you can) by using livemocha and studying the pronunciation tables in a book, then build up a 300 to 400 word vocabulary (always memorize the article der, die, das with the corresponding noun) along with a few useful phrases that you know you need to say in class or just day to day. That way when you start class you won’t feel overwhelmed and the confidence you gain from being a little ahead of the game will help you keep going.
    Also, German grammar can be a little hard to wrap your head around, especially if you haven’t learned a second language before. Do yourself a favor and pick up a book such as German Grammar Drills by Ed Swick, that way when your teacher explains it, it won’t be the first time you’ve heard it.
    To find a tutor, look at Livemocha (they offer live tutors as well…this will cost you), VerbalPlanet, MyPLT, or google it and see what you can find.
    Good luck to everyone, especially those who have just arrived to Switzerland!

  • My teacher, Helene Roth, has her own language atelier in Oerlikon. She’s German/French and quadrilingual herself so she definitely knows the ins and outs of learning new languages and I find this gives her an added level of effectiveness when it comes to teaching.

    I started with her last January and I take semiprivate lessons once a week, for an hour. A year later I am preparing myself for the B2 (or C1 if can knuckle down with the studying) Goethe Exam in June. She maintains that it’s because I already spoke 3 languages and therefore have the brain for it, but she gets all the credit for pushing me in the right direction and accelerating my learning process to this extent. Not to mention for all the confidence she’s instilled in me.

    She’s also super nice and pleasant to talk to so I have never met a Tuesday evening with the thought, “not German class…I wish I had beer-drinking plans instead.” Not once!

    Should all this sound attractive, then check out her website:

    http://www.languageatelier.com/ENG_LangAtelier/Welcome.html

    • Hi Christine!

      Many thanks for sharing this valuable tip with Newly Swissed readers! Or shall I say “Vielen Dank, dass du diesen wertvollen Hinweis der Newly Swissed Leserschaft mitgeteilt hast!”? :-)

  • Hola!! empece en enero en Berlitz, porque no consegui lugar en HBS, Rapperswil, en el nivel B1 y la verdad es que yo siento que el nivel es realmente bajo, no avanzamos a frases más complejas y el libro parece para nenes de 10 años. El contenido de vocabulario me parece realmente muy pobre. Pero al ser una escuela de idiomas tan reconocida me surgen muchas dudas al respecto, nose que pensar. ALguien fue a Berlitz? puede darme un consejo? EStoy perdiendo tiempo y mucha plata. Sino he pensado en escribir una carta y al no ver verdaderos resultados pedir que me devuelvan la plata porque sinceramente el nivel de los profesores es muy bajo.
    Espero alguien me pueda ayudar. gracias!!!

  • Hi Everyone

    I tried SL&C Supercomm in Zurich and was very satisfied, first I attended a Group class (4students) then I went for private classes..and was happy!
    I think it’s also about quality not only about the money.
    good day
    sara

  • Guten Tag alle,

    I want to thank you Dimitri for your website. It is really nice to know there are people like you out there that want to help others settle into a foreign country.

    I came to this website a few months ago to help me decide on a German language school. I found all the posts helpful and I decided on the Alpha Sprachstudio in the Stadelhofen. I am in my 2nd month and I am and have been studying really hard. I get confused a lot and I am not speaking complete sentences very well. Grammar was never my strong point going through the American school system so learning Deutsch is really challenging for me (I have only spoke English until now). I think it is really important for me to tell you all that my experience at the Alpha Sprachstudio has not been a positive one. There have been many times when the teacher made me and other students leave the room in tears because she loses her patients and allows other students who understand a concept better to gang up on you. Today in class I really could not grasp what we were learning so I spoke up and said “Ich verstehe nicht”! The teacher lost her patients again and raised her voice at me. Then she thought it would be good to have all the other students ask me questions until I could figure it out and give the correct answer. I tried to play along and act as if I was strong enough to take it but I wasn’t. All eyes were on me for 10 minutes of question after question until I finally could answer correctly. Every time I answered incorrectly, I was yelled at by the teacher. It was horrible! I feel so bad about myself and I don’t want to ever go back. I am 39 years old and I am not someone who is a slacker. I go above and beyond to do my homework and learn in every way possible. I have everything in my house labeled, I use Rosetta Stone in addition to all the homework, I initiated a weekly study group. I am paying $1200 per 4 week course and now I am at home crying to my husband to help me understand before I have to go back there tomorrow. I do not wish this on anyone. Be aware of the Alpha Sprachstudio in the Stadelhofen.

    Tschuss!
    Raquel

    • Last year, upon consideration after some internet researches and with this page in mind as well, I enrolled for a couple of weeks on the daily intensive course at Alpha Studio in January 2014.

      Although I found the school to be good, the teacher I got was leaving something to be desired, she was one of these persons that would loose her temper just like someone stated her before, and eventually would stress the students (I particularly remember the case of another girl there who had more issues than the others). The teacher would often indulge in pink magazine type of conversations, perhaps her way of maintaining a conversation in german (although using the worst possible uninteresting topic for me) and it was pretty degrading.
      I was pretty confident and did good because I had previously made some self study on my own and to my surprise at the end of the first day of lesson the teacher approached me to badmouth the other students behind their back once they were away, needless to say I was perplexed.
      Another thing that left me with bad taste was that, there was another student there that was completely ignored by teacher, and this was at the A1 3 level, he was there, and somehow she had him going on somehow not learning and at this point everyone would speak some german and as he couldn’t participate he was just ignored, as I understood spanish I would try to help him, but it was just not possible for me, he was too far back in learning.
      I don’t remember her name anymore, she was a big blue eyed dark haired german lady in her thirties.

      The good thing is that she had to take a leave of one week or so so we got a temporary substitute teacher called Evelina and she was marvellous, the class mood drastically changed and the classes were actually fun to go to, because of Evelina and the class members had created a good environment. The students came to the automatical conclusion that they wanted Evelina to stay and not the other teacher and went to speak with someone responsible, but apparently for some reasons it was not possible.
      Then my time there came to an end and so did Evelina’s time, the other teacher resumed classes and everything returned to the same again, I wonder how it went for all of them.

      After some time studying on my own and realizing that it’s just not possible for several reasons, I’ll try EB

  • Dear Raquel,
    We are so sorry to hear what you have gone through. It is unheard of and we believe our friends who actually teach in Zürich would all agree that your current teacher has a very serious temper issue which should be addressed to the school. Please contact us through the form or report the teacher’s name so that we approach the school. We will revise our post.

    We hope you get refunded your tuition and will not be discouraged by this horrible experience. It is so sad that one teacher’s acts ruin reputation of a school. But, schools should be judged by students’ satisfaction and quality of what they learn.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

    Mamiko

    p.s. A personal tip. I am 33 years old learning German, with an incurable allergy against grammatic terms, even in my own mother tongue! After three years of trying, I just dropped worrying about terms and conditions. Instead, I started focusing on memorizing “useful phrases”. I have to fight against my shrinking memory :) It is especially hard learning Hochdeutsch in Switzerland, but it is a steady way to assimilate here. We will get there. We never give up!

  • Hello Raquel,

    That is an unfortunate incident. Many teachers try to teach in the direct method and only use the target language. This has the advantage of keeping students in the new language, but often means months of confusion, especially when they teach the language as they would to native speakers. For this reason I don’t believe in that method and try to explain Grammar in English to help people learn faster.

    Mamiko’s strategy of learning fixed phrases is a very good approach and you’ll learn variations on them quickly.

    If you’re looking for an online grammar reference try my blog: http://www.marathonsprachen.com/blog and visit our weekly Stammtisch to practice your speaking.

    Hope that helps and like Mamiko said, don’t give up.

    Schöne Grüsse
    Christian

  • Hello

    Now i wanna get a German courses in Switzerland for at least two months. I wanna get a job in Zurich but all my response from the interviewer are that they do not accept the people who could not speak fluently German. I want to get some helps here. Are there some full-time German courses? How much i have to pay for it and i really want to get a way to speak otherwise i am unable to enhance my spoken German.It would be best the school fee around 800-1000 per month. I really need help and i am in kind of emergency
    Thank you

  • hi guys,

    im moving to zurich in a few months and already have a job lined up and i want to be able to do a deutsch class but in the evenings. Is this possible on a consistent basis like 3 times a week do you know? Im having trouble finding this type of course at the minute.

    thanks in advance for any suggestions and good luck to everyone trying to learn this language.

  • Hello everybody!

    Does any of you might know if EB Zurich can provide student visa for foreigners from a Non-EU/EFTA-country?

    Thanks for your answers! :)

  • Based upon reading these recommendations last year, I began courses at Alpha Sprachstudio and then later switched to EB Zurich. I would highly recommend the latter due to the high quality and level of experience of the teachers and more reasonable/affordable prices. I think it is the best deal you can get for your German studies! At Alpha I had one highly experienced teacher who worked us hard, but was great, and one less experienced teacher who had more trouble keeping the class on track (partly the teacher’s fault, partly unmotivated students). This school offered more materials, but definitely had a more “commercial” to it. At EB Zurich the teachers seem more focused on helping you get to where you need to be with your German. It was a bit more difficult at Alpha because they stuck some highly advanced students who needed grammar help but could already speak quite well in my A2 course. This made it a bit tough and discouraging at times. It simply doesn’t work when the students are at such different levels and I think the private schools are more likely to do such things than a school like EB Zurich, or perhaps it is just a bit less significant/noticeable/difficult when one student can already speak pretty well (is much more advanced) at the B1 or B2 levels. I do occasionally hear complaints about teachers and have actually to my surprise, experienced some shocking affronts from some, but nevertheless, if you can see past all of that and are determined to learn German no matter the obstacles, you will do well at EB Zurich.

    • I realize this post in many years old, so I am just hoping to get an answer! Thank you for the information, but I would like to ask – what do you mean you have “experienced some shocking affronts from some” teachers? That makes me a little nervous about attending EB Zurich…

  • Another difference between the schools Alpha Sprachstudio and EB Zurich worth mentioning is that at Alpha I always had the same teacher every day of class, while at EB Zurich they have a system set up that often provides for 2 teachers per class. So, for example, you will have the first teacher for Monday and Tuesday, and the second teacher for the other 3 days of the work week for example. This has its advantages and disadvantages. You get too hear the German of more than one teacher, you get exposed to different teaching methods and styles, and it helps break up the week a bit because there is a built in “change of pace.” On the other hand, for some it can be a bit confusing with the homework, but as long as you are organized it’s easy to manage. Sorry for the mistakes in the last post! I tried to add in the word “feel’ before commercial, but I must have used too many words in my post!

    • Dear Pearl,
      Thank you very much for taking the time to following up. It is very valuable to know how EB Zürich and Alpha operate in terms of teaching styles.

      Good luck on your quest to learning Deutsch, and thanks again for your support!

      Dimitri

  • Hello everyone!
    I read almost all your comments and are impressed by the wealth of info you’ve been providing. I am a professional interpreter and I am planning to add German to my working languages in a not too distant future.. Does anyone have more up-to-date information on these schools? I’ve already sent enquiries to a bunch of schools bur am not able to find more recent reviews!
    Thank you!

  • Thank you and I took Migros courses for about a year and agree with the mediocre rating as many students are at different levels and they are expensive for the basic slow moving courses. I’ve been looking for a better one so thanks for the recommendations now that I’ve been in Zurich over a year. :)

    http://www.savvyspice.com

  • I went to both EB and Professional Language School on private basis to learn German.
    I didn’t like EB classic German class because there were too many people (15+), and the level of the class was lower than advertised. However, their thematic Schreibwerkstatt class, although again with 12-15 people in the class, was very good based on the teacher, and the amount of home work that had to be done.
    I liked best the classic German class at Professional Language School http://www.plc-group.ch we were only maximum 6 persons, the class was an intense weekly 90-minute course, with about 3 hours of additional home work per week.

  • I was participating in an activity organised by Flexilingo German Courses ( http://www.flexilingo.com ) : they offer quite a special course consisting of online private lessons AND social group activities (offline). I liked the activity (we visited the National Museum and also I went to a conversation meeting), however I am not sure if I should book a full course with them as 395 CHF per month is quite a lot of money for me. Did anyone study with them? Any advise? Danke! :-P

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