Frequently asked questions
When is the best time to take a language course?
How does TREFFPUNKT ensure the quality of its language lessons?
Before the course starts:
- On your registration, we want to know why you are learning German and which goal you have. Do you need to speak German for the job? Do you want to take an exam? Do you want to learn German for your own everyday life? Knowing your goals, we can respond to your needs in an optimum way.
- Placement test: The placement test is done before you arrive at TREFFPUNKT Bamberg, saving you course time. We will analyse your language level in advance, so you can directly attend the appropriate class on arrival.
During your course:
- Direct contact with the teachers and the directors of the school: During the numerous activities and in friendly atmosphere during the break you will always have the oportunity to give us feed back to your course, the books and the learning material. With this kind of informal feed back we were able to improve a lot to prepare the participants even better for their goals.
- Tests: Usually every other week you will write a test. So you will be able to see how much you learned in the past two weeks.
- Written evaluation: Participants of the intensive course will give us written feed back every week. We will react very quickly on your remarks, maximum within two days.
- Memberships: TREFFPUNKT language institute is a member of Fachverband Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache e.V. (FaDaF) and of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Bildungsmanagement e.V. (DGBiMa), and it is a center for Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF).
How do I know that TREFFPUNKT is a good language school? Do you have references?
TREFFPUNKT language institute has offered classes in German as a foreign language since more than 20 years. Numberless participants visited the school – around 20 % of them twice or even more often. You can benefit from their experiences reading their evaluations on our homepage or on facebook. To get an impression of the companies or institutions that have allready worked with us, take a look at our references.
A great deal of care is taken in finding the appropriate course level for you (according to the Common European Framework of the European Council for the Study of Foreign Languages), in selecting the right material and in employing well-qualified and committed teachers. In addition, accommodation close to the school and various activities offered throughout your stay ensure that there are many social opportunities outside of lesson times. At every stage of the course your objectives, aims and interests will be given the greatest consideration possible - of this you can be assured.
Last but not least, most of the TREFFPUNKT team have attended one or more language courses in various different countries - enabling us to observe how other language schools organise their courses and to determine what could be improved and what is particularly effective. Therefore we not only understand your expectations as a language student, but we have also been able to use our experiences to optimize the organisation of our own language institute.
That our methods are successful can be seen not only in the unusually high level of satisfaction shown by our students - as demonstrated by the analysis of our weekly student opinion questionnaires - but also in the outstanding results attained by students at TREFFPUNKT in Goethe-Institut exams and the TestDaF.
What qualifications do teachers at TREFFPUNKT have?
We are particularly lucky that "German as a foreign language" is taught at the University of Bamberg. Our teachers therefore possess the best qualifications for teaching German, using the most modern and pedagogically suitable methods. However, in addition to graduates of Bamberg University at TREFFPUNKT (who naturally know Bamberg life and culture inside out), you will also find teachers who have gained experience teaching at Goethe Institutes and other institutions offering language training and adult education.
What does the school look like? Where is it located and what sort of infrastructure is there?
How to get around Bamberg:
On foot: Walking from the school to the station takes 12 minutes; to the bus station, market, town hall and shopping centre 2-3 minutes; and to the cathedral 15 minutes.
By bike: The bike is a beloved form of transport in Bamberg, both as a means of getting around the town, and as an activity in its own right. Several cycle paths go directly past the school and so many course participants travel to school by bike. They either cycle through the town or avoid traffic by going through the park and along the canal. It is possible to hire bikes from the school for a small fee. There are also two bicycle shops situated near the school.
By car: In general it is not such a good idea to explore the over 200 year old street network of Bamberg by car. However, two charged multi-story car parks are situated 5 minutes walk away from the school.
We have made a conscious decision to do without our own cafeteria as there are so many typical coffee houses and bakeries surrounding the school. They are very popular with TREFFPUNKT students and we can thoroughly recommend them for a coffee or a snack during the morning break. This is, of course, also another opportunity to immerse yourself in day to day town life and is an excellent chance to apply the German you have learnt to a real situation.
Language schools are often situated on the outskirts of towns, at a distance from the inhabitants' daily life. This relatively isolated environment can result in a rather artificial atmosphere. We, however, are in the fortunate position of being able to offer a location at the heart of Bamberg's life and culture.
Teaching rooms, design and layout:
The teaching rooms are situated on the 1st and 2nd floors of 19, Hauptwachstraße. All our teaching rooms are purpose-built - they were designed and built in 2004. The atmosphere is one of space, light and warmth. In addition to teaching rooms, there is an events room/common room with a DVD player and beamer. Furthermore, students are able to use our internet PCs and W-LAN free of charge.
Which services are included in the course price and which cost extra?
The course price includes:
- Placement test
- Instruction material
- Individual learning advice
- Interim tests
- TREFFPUNKT course certificate
- At least three accompanied leisure activities per week
- Advice and the option of learning online
All the material you need for the course is covered by the course fee. There are no hidden additional costs. If you have chosen a Seminar, please add these costs to your fee. Many of the activities in Bamberg are also included in the price: lunch together with the teachers, short walks around Bamberg with a cultural theme, TREFFPUNKT stammtisch, bicycle tours or afternoon film showings in the school.
Our photographs give a good overall impression of the varied group activities of the TREFFPUNKT participants and teachers. You can find them on facebook.
What is the minimum and maximum lengths of stay?
The minimum stay for those choosing group instruction is one week. However, we wouldn't usually recommend such a short time as most people need 2-3 days to acclimatize and to get into a "learning rhythm". (You should also take possible jet lag into account.) Therefore, we generally recommend that you stay at least two weeks. After 3 to 4 weeks the enormous progress you will have made will be clearly apparent.
We don't set a maximum duration - you may stay as long as you wish and progress through the different course levels according to the standard you have reached. We have had a number of course participants at TREFFPUNKT who started as complete beginners but who wished to prepare for a course of study at a German university. They stayed at TREFFPUNKT for eleven months.
If you have made a longer course booking, you may wish to interrupt your studies - for example to travel around Germany. We would be happy to work around such plans, provided you give us prior notice. After the break you can continue your studies with renewed energy.
If you decide in favour of private tuition, you can effectively stay as long or as short a time as you wish. The individual programme is particularly popular with business people who often have very little time available - an example of a popular course is a "crash course" from Friday to Monday with 6-8 hours of one-to-one teaching a day. Then it's off to the customer again...
Who takes part in language courses in Bamberg?
TREFFPUNKT is a language institute for adults (18 years and over).Adults from many different countries and often for very different reasons come to us. Be ready for great and interesting encounters with open people who have one common interest: German language and culture.
A few statistics: around 40 % of our participants are studying at university and 40 % are professionals or are currently undergoing a change of career.
Most of our participants in the general courses are between the ages of 25 and 40 and in the business German courses between 28 and 50. Altogether the ages range from 18 to 68. It can truly be said that we are a thoroughly international language institute: there are never more than 15 % of participants from one single country. The advantage of this is that the common language for everybody is German and that you will therefore be less likely to speak your own language.
Most of our participants come to TREFFPUNKT alone, rather than in small groups. They often come on the recommendation of friends or acquaintances, or the course may have been arranged for them by their company or university.
The school has a maximum capacity of 60 participants who will then be divided into up to 8 different course levels. As a result, TREFFPUNKT specializes in courses for those who wish to get away from the anonymity of the mass business.
What instruction materials are used in class?
At advanced levels we mainly use authentic material, sometimes in conjunction with Mittelpunkt C1. In this way we can orientate teaching material around the special interests and aims of the group.
Do you offer official tests and exams at TREFFPUNKT Bamberg?
Yes. At TREFFPUNKT Bamberg, you can take the TestDaF exam for university admission. We offer this standardized exam that is taken at the same time worldwide six times per year. We are officially certified as a test center by TestDaF institute.
If you wish to take the TestDaF (for example in order to study at a German university), you can both attend a preparation course specifically for this exam and take the exam at TREFFPUNKT Bamberg. For more detailed information please see our TestDaF page.
If you would like to take a telc or Goethe Institut exam, please note the following: For the Zertifikat A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2.1, C2.2, C2+ we prepare you with our exam preparation courses. Additionally, we organize your exam date at a co-operating exam center in Bamberg.
Why do group courses only begin every 2 weeks?
Experience has shown us that newly formed groups usually require 2-3 days to get to know each other, to adjust to the different personalities and to find a learning pace that suits everyone. This is also the case when their level of German is very similar. After this initial period participants are usually highly motivated and have lots of fun together.
If courses begin every week, it means that groups are constantly having to change and therefor the learning pace is slowed down. Our decision to begin courses every 2 weeks has resulted in a higher course quality and an excellent level of student satisfaction.
If you should require more flexible course times, we recommend individual tuition to begin with. After a few days, you still have the opportunity to switch over to a group course once you have reached the required level.
Do classes take place on public holidays?
According to our terms and conditions, no group classes are offered on Sundays or public holidays: no courses on public holidays, no charge for bank holidays. You only pay for the group lessons that actually take place!
Can I obtain academic credits for a German course at TREFFPUNKT?
Where will I stay during the course and how is my accommodation organized?
You can either live in your own room in a German household (with or without catering), in a hotel or in a self-catered apartment. It is a pleasure for us to book your accommodation in Bamberg! Please refer to accommodation for a more detailed description.
If we carry out a hotel booking for you, we will send you the booking confirmation as soon as possible.
If you have opted for private accommodation, we will send you the address at the very latest one week before your journey to Bamberg. Please let your landlord know at least 4 days in advance what time you will be arriving on Sunday. Please also ensure that you arrive before 21:00. If this is not possible, we would ask you to spend the first night in a hotel.
How do I get to my accommodation from Bamberg station?
Why is Bamberg a particularly good place to take a German course?
Bamberg is a medium-sized town with around 70 000 inhabitants and really is one of the most picturesque towns in Germany. Many people - locals and visitors alike - feel that Bamberg is a romantic idyll. In a relatively confined space, it exhibits a range of characteristics which are especially typical of the German people and the country. When walking through Bamberg you will pass over 2500 buildings placed under a protection order by UNESCO. You can stroll past historical buildings up the hill towards the cathedral, the churches and the cloisters, and then make your way back down to the river. However, despite the importance history and tradition have in the town, wherever you go there is always plenty of activity. Life in Bamberg is not hectic, but pleasant and invigorating.
People in Bamberg are always happy to talk. Young and old alike enjoy spending a bit of social time in the breweries and beer gardens. You can quickly get into a conversation with locals in these places as it is quite common to share a table with strangers.
The people of Bamberg also show their joie de vivre in the many festivals that are spread out throughout the year. There is always a reason to celebrate. The most popular meeting places are always the breweries and beer gardens: sit under a chestnut tree and enjoy the jazz music over a beer or simply chat with friends or people at your table. As you will see very quickly, culture is very important to life in Bamberg and is expressed through music, theatre and art. There are six theatre stages and many performances from the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra to choose from.
Bamberg's geographic position is ideal for excursions of all kinds. It's not far from Bamberg to attractive cities such as Nuremberg, Würzburg, Coburg and Rothenburg - to name just a few. Those who love nature will find scenic landscapes right on Bamberg's doorstep - including the Steigerwald, the Fränkische Schweiz, the Haßberge, the Fichtelgebirge and the Frankenwald.
You can feel safe on the streeets. All the main parts of town can be quickly reached on foot and you won't have to breathe polluted city air. Not far from the busy town centre you can find a quiet place to rest in the extensive park area known as the Hain.
All these facts together lead to an environment in which you can readily get into contact with Germans at every level and immerse yourself in the German language quickly, easily and intensively. Perhaps the best prerequisites for a German course.
Visit Bamberg and its sunny streets cafes and beer gardens. Enjoy the views from the hills or the river. People know how to enjoy life in Bamberg.
See for yourself: Bamberg is worth more than just one visit.
What can I do during my freetime in Bamberg?
As you will be able to gather from our description of TREFFPUNKT, the activity programme is particularly important to us. We don't know what you like to do in your leisure time butTREFFPUNKT is able to offer a real variety of activities in Bamberg and the surrounding area. We offer a wide range of cultural activities such as
- all kinds of sports
- afternoon excursions to some of the many interesting towns in the area: Nuremberg, Würzburg, Coburg and Bayreuth, among others
- weekend trips to cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Heidelberg, Prague or Rothenburg are definitely worthwhile. Or you could simply travel to the Alps in order to see beautiful and varied mountainscapes.
Leisure time is also viewed from a different perspective at TREFFPUNKT: Leisure activities are an excellent opportunity to practise what you have learnt in class and to improve your spoken language. During joint activities together with people of all age groups from Bamberg, you can
- play volleyball
- walk up to the castle at the hightest point of Bamberg or
- go on a bike ride
- in the evenings we often meet up in one of the traditional breweries for a beer together with many other people from Bamberg - breweries are popular with young and old, students and families.
Which sporting activities are available to me?
There are almost endless sporting possibilities in and around Bamberg.
One big advantage is that you are unlikely to need to travel far in order to practise your favourite sport. Bamberg is nestled in the hills between the Steigerwald, the Haßberge and the beautiful Fränkischen Schweiz. In this countryside you will find an extensive web of footpaths and cycle ways. You can also play golf, canoe, ride the mountain bike, and go riding in and around Bamberg.
In Bamberg there are many fitness centres, parks, tennis courts, mini golf parks and squash and badminton courts. Even a hall for indoor soccer is available during winter time.
In the summer 5 open air swimming pools offer grassy spaces for sunbathing and refreshment. You can also swim in the river Regnitz in the nearby "Luisenhain" park. Those who have had enough of swimming can relax in the adjacent beer garden.
Is dialect spoken in Bamberg?
Which region doesn’t have its own language peculiarities and therefore its own dialect? Yes. The dialect spoken in our region (Franconia = north Bavaria) is known as Fränkisch (Franconian). You hear different dialects all over Germany and some are harder, some easier to understand. Typically with this dialect the ‘T’ is spoken almost like a ‘D’ and the ‘P’ like a ‘B’, making it all sound relatively soft. It is a friendly dialect, which is not difficult to understand and which makes you smile.
For anybody who is sceptical: in a university town like Bamberg, everybody can speak high German. So don’t worry. We teach high German and you will have every opportunity to speak it. Dialect is mainly spoken at the market and in the more traditional breweries.
What are the prices like in Bamberg?
Germans visiting Bamberg are often quite surprised by the prices, which they consider to be very reasonable in comparison to the rest of Germany. Equally, the people from Bamberg are often shocked at the high prices in other areas of Germany - particularly in cities like Berlin, Munich, Hamburg or Frankfurt. A typical Franconian lunch costs € 8 - € 10 and a “Brotzeit” (bread with cold meat or cheese) between € 4 - € 7. On Sundays many go out for lunch. This is typically roast pork, duck, goose or braised beef with dumplings and savoy cabbage. Such a meal is usually around €10. Beer is usually served in 0.5 l glasses and costs between € 2.20 and € 2.70. If a typical bratwurst in a roll will do, then you only need to allow € 3. Falafels and kebabs have also become popular and are available at many snack stalls. For € 3- € 4 this will make a ‘complete’ lunch. For those who like international food, we do have McDonalds, Burger King and Subway.
How is the the weather in Germany?
Give the weather in Germany a chance – it’s not as bad as people say. A German summer can also offer a lot of sun and warmth. Every year there are always plenty of glorious summer days – particularly where we are in southern Germany. On occasion even some of the Spanish and Italians have complained about the heat!
We enjoy balmy evenings in beer gardens and hot sunny days by the river. Bamberg’s location means that the weather is much more favourable than that of the cities in the north or on the Rhine, where it rains considerably more often.
I would like to bring my car. What is the parking situation?
As Bamberg has a protected medieval town centre and the infrastructure must take this into account, parking in Bamberg is often a problem. Generally you will be living in the town centre throughout your language course. As parking places in the centre are either costly or limited to residents with special permits, you will have to expect to park your vehicle at a distance of up to 10 minutes walk away.
How do I get in contact with Germans?
As we know from our own experience, it is not always easy to make contacts – even in your own country. We therefore offer regular opportunities to come into contact with local Germans. Every Thursday we hold Stammtisch in different local restaurants. Our course participants come to this event, as well as friends, acquaintances, students, people with a language interest or just those who are curious. This results in a relaxed atmosphere in which everybody can talk to everybody. Occasionally it has also resulted in close friendships and even weddings!
I require a visa. What do I need to know?
For information about the visa regulations for Germany please check the website of the Federal Foreign Office.
Is it possible to work and to take a language course in Bamberg?
Basically yes. But you should consider the following points before you try:
You should stay a minimum of 4 months in Bamberg if you want a job while studying. The reason for this is that most businesses are not willing to train you if you stay for a shorter period.
Command of German:
You should already have a reasonable command of German (from level B1) when starting a job.
European citizens will not face any difficulties. If you are a non-European citizen, please contact the German embassy in your country before your trip.
When is the best time to take a language course?
If you can manage it, try to avoid the busy months of July and August. For one thing the school is often booked up at this time and for another, there are more cultural events in Bamberg outside the holiday season – you only need think of the breaks that many theatres and the orchestra take over the summer.
Here are a few things that you can expect during the year:
- From January to April there are a variety of cultural events. The problem is not so much getting bored as being unable to decide which activity to choose…
- At Easter there are Easter concerts, theatre performances and processions. This lasts until Whitsun.
- In the summer months there are street festivals, church consecrations and visits to beer gardens.
- October is the time for village and wine festivals and of course wine tasting. It is also a particularly good time for hiking.
- In November the students return to the town and this has an effect on both the day and the night life. A great attraction is the drafting of the strong Bock beer in each brewery.
- From the end of November and December the Christmas markets open, with mulled wine, spicy Lebkuchen, Stollen and Plätzchen fresh from the ovens. All of Bamberg emanates Christmas charm. There are also countless tours, exhibitions and concerts during this time.
How can I travel around Germany
Germany is well known for its extensive road network and Bamberg is also not far away from several motorways. Most of our participants come either by train or by a combination of plane and train. We think that this is the best decision as a car is really not necessary in Bamberg. In fact it is usually in your way as there is very little free parking available. The German rail network offer excellent deals for weekend trips, e.g. the weekend ticket which is a reasonably priced all-inclusive ticket for up to 5 people. It is valid for one day on the weekend and with it, you may travel to any location within Germany. The services and journey times of Deutschen Bahn have also improved recently, so that rail can be a cheap, stress-free and speedy way to travel. There are trains between Bamberg and Würzburg/Frankfurt or Nurnberg/Munich at least every hour. For information on the train timetable, please refer to online schedule of the Deutsche Bahn.Have a nice trip!
Can I bring my partner along?
Your partner would like to accompany you to Germany but not take a language course? No problem, we will find suitable accommodation for both of you. If your partner has any particular special interests that they would like to pursue during their stay, we will be glad to find more information for you. Your partner is welcome to all the activities and events organized by the school. Whilst you take your classes, your partner can explore the town. Some couples have already tried this combination and have enjoyed it.