Advisory Services Welcome Center

Learning German and other languages

English is the language of communication and research in numerous departments at the University of Bern, and you will often meet Swiss whose English is excellent. Nonetheless, a command of basic German will help you handle everyday situations with confidence.

Learning German at the University

Currently there are two options for learning German at the university:

  1. The Welcome Center offers a course in German for beginners (level A0) aimed at new doctoral students and postdocs. Participating in the course gives you an opportunity to acquire basic language skills and meet colleagues from other departments. Group size: 10-11 persons. The course is announced on the course list of "Transferable Skills"
  2. The German as a Foreign Language unit currently runs courses at levels A1 to C2 (from beginners up to advanced level). The courses are free of charge for registered students, doctoral students and continuing education students. If places are available, members of staff of the University of Bern may attend our courses for a fee.


Berndeutsch (Bernese German) 

Even if you already speak German, you may have a hard time understanding the local dialect at first. Be patient. Talk with colleagues and friends as much as you can until your ear adjusts. But you may want to consider taking a formal course in Berndeutsch. A systematic approach simplifies learning its grammar, vocabulary, and idioms – but only if you already have good knowledge of German.

The Institute of Linguistics offers a course in "Bernese German".