RIYADH: Whether you want to learn to speak German, or want to experience the rich culture of the country, the place to go in Riyadh is the Saudi branch of the Goethe Institute. This is Germany’s national cultural institute, which promotes the German language and cultural exchanges worldwide.
Its Riyadh office has been based in a villa in Umm Al-Hamam district since 2016, where it offers German-language courses to suit all levels, from beginners to intermediate to advanced. Frank Herzig, the director of the institute, and his team of distinguished teachers help students to meet the requirements of the Common European Framework of References for Languages. Thus a strong motivation and profound expertise in language teaching are pillars of the Goethe Institute.
Learning a language is a basic tool for intercultural understanding, and as such it reflects the learner’s personal needs. Therefore, the Goethe Institute offers custom-made courses to suit all levels and requirements, including specialized courses for doctors and students of medicine, blended and e-learning courses that combine online learning with in-person classes, as well as courses for youngsters between the ages of 7 and 12.
In addition to language training, cultural events are an important part of the work of the Goethe Institute in Riyadh. In the past year, for example, several German authors have visited to give readings of their work, and Saudi and German musicians have performed at the institute.
In addition, the institute hosted talks about Germany and a German opportunities fair, in partnership with German companies, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs.
For many years, Germany has been a destination for Saudi students. Attracted by the country’s excellent reputation for medical training, large numbers of Saudi doctors have been trained in Germany over the decades.
An outstanding example of this cooperation is the medical-specialist training for talented young Saudi doctors at the Charité hospital in Berlin. As for undergraduate studies, the Saudi Ministry of Education and DAAD successfully established in 2005 a joint scholarship program for Saudi nationals in more than 400 German universities.
Focusing on a younger target group, the German International Schools in Riyadh and Jeddah can look back on a history spanning many decades. Parents and children alike enjoy and value an education “made in Germany,” from kindergarten to secondary school.
In at ll levels there is a particular focus on German-language teaching to ensure that children from all backgrounds, German-speaking or not, can attend. In addition, the schools put an emphasis on language tuition, in particular English in the higher grades. Thus they prepare their students for entry to English-language education systems, in addition to the exceptional opportunities offered by higher education in Germany. In addition to academic excellence, the schools help to build tight-knit community of pupils, teachers and parents.