General information
What are the lessons like at IH Cologne?
  • All teachers have a great methodology training and work with our communicative teaching approach.
  • We speak a lot during the lessons and often work in pairs / small groups.
  • Pronunciation is an important part of our lessons right from the start.
  • We organise small excursions to cafés or a  market place to practice your German knowledge in a "real life situation".
  • Our students have lost of fun and leave our courses feeling confident.
Do I have to buy a course book?

No, at IH Cologne we work with our own teaching material. You will receive all material from your teacher during the course. Additionally, you will receive a list of course topics with your course confirmation, which will give you an overview. For your first course, you receive an IH Cologne folder, to sort your material into. You can buy further folders in the office.

Are all teachers at IH Cologne native speakers?

Yes, but sometimes this isn't an advantage. German teachers, who had to learn the language themselves, have experienced the difficulties in learning German grammar, which can be very helpful when planning a lesson. 

We would, therefore, also employ teachers who are not native speakers as long as they are fluent in the level they are teaching.

Which qualifications do the teachers at IH Cologne have?
  • All teachers have taken a course in our communicative methodology and are, for the main part, full time teachers, which is not common in Germany. 
  • All teachers regularly participate in further trainings and undergo course inspections.
  • IH schools regularly undergo inspections and coachings by IH World, to make sure they meet all quality expectations.
Can I have my course financed by external institutions?
Course organisation
Can I take a trial lesson before registering?
  • Of course you can try out our classes before you sign up!

How does it work?

  • First you talk to our office, then you take our placement test and we suggest courses for you to try out.
  • After the trial lesson, we ask you and the teacher for feedback and if everything fits, you can enrol.
  • You don't pay anything for the trial lesson if you decide not to take the course. If you register after the trial lesson, the trial lesson counts as the first day of the course and you will be charged for it.
What happens if there are not enough participants for a course?
  • We will inform you as soon as we can if we see that a course will not take place. However, especially in the intensive courses it is often quite short notice, the registration situation often changes significantly in the last days before the course starts.
  • Before we cancel a course completely, we always try to postpone it a little. When you register for an intensive course, you agree to accept a postponement of up to two weeks. For evening courses, we try to find a new date for the start of the course in consultation with all interested parties.
  • For the intensive courses, we offer the course in a mini-group format of guided self-study and lessons with a teacher for a minimum of 4 participants. When you register, you agree to this.
  • Unfortunately, we cannot give a guarantee. It can always happen that a course is cancelled. If this happens, we will refund the course fee in full, including the registration fee.
What happens if no one comes to class but me (and the teacher)?
  • Such a situation does not happen often, but when it does, it puts the teacher in a conflict: the one student who has reliably come to class has a right to be taught. However, if the teacher continues with the planned material, it becomes a problem in the next lesson because the class is not at the same level.
  • Our way of dealing with this is as follows: the teacher teaches a lesson 1:1 , directly on the needs of the student present.
  • Since it means considerable extra work for the teacher, we see the reduction in time as justified, especially since the pupil present naturally also receives a service that is clearly of higher value than a group course.
  • You can also find that information in our terms and conditions
What happens if we can't cover the full course contents?
  • As our teaching approach is to teach the class and not the plan, it may (rarely) happen that certain topics that were planned for the course level cannot be covered.
  • We always try to address such things directly in the course when it becomes visible and then offer a course extension of usually 1 or 2 weeks if necessary so that the transition to the next level can work smoothly.
Can I join a course that is already running?
  • If your placement test allows it, yes
  • If you are not quite up to scratch, you can book additional private lessons to get into the course well
  • You can join the course laterally, but not quit laterally (here our cancellation periods apply so that our courses don't fall apart).


Do I get a certificate at the end?
  • If you attend the course regularly (at least 80%), you will receive a certificate of attendance from us.
  • If you wish, we can also include the results of your intermediate and final test in the certificate.
  • Official certificates such as telc require good exam preparation, which you can also do with us, as well as the exams, but they are not part of a standard course.
How long does it take for me to reach B1 or B2?
  • This is difficult to say as it is different for each student. 
  • According to the Goethe institute, you need  350 to 650 lessons to reach a stable B1 level and 600 to 800 lessons for B2
  • At IH Cologne it takes a minimum of 23 weeks to finish B1 and a minimum of 32 weeks to finish B2. This can, however, vary for each student. We give regular feedback on where you are at and what we would recommend for you as a next step. 
What do I need to know BEFORE I apply for a visa?
  • A tourism visa (Schengen Visa, Travel Visa) can't be changed to a study visa once you're in Germany. It is easier and quicker to apply for / receive a tourism visa but you have to be aware that you have to leave Germany after the 3 months are up, even if your personal circumstances may have changed during that time.
  • In order to apply for a study visa, you have to fulfill certain requirements, which you can find out about at the German embassy in your country. These requirements are different for each country - sometimes you need to show that you already know some German. 

You can find further information here:


How does IH Cologne help me with my visa application?
  • If you want to apply for a language course visa, you mostly need to book a German language course with at least 20 lessons (of 45 minutes each) per week. Furthermore you need to show that you’ve made a down payment for the course. In some cases you actually have to have paid the entire course to qualify for a visa.

  • If you want to apply for a language course visa with us, it works like this:
    1) After having taken our placement test (http://www.insulakoeln.com/en/einstufungstest), you sign up for the recommended course(s) and provide us with a copy of your passport.
    2) You will receive an invoice (down payment of at least 2 courses).
    3) Once we have received your payment, we will send a letter of invitation, which you need for your appointment with the embassy.
    4) In case your visa application is rejected, we refund the down payment less 50,00 € processing fee, in accordance with our terms and conditons.

  • We do not have any influence on whether you receive your visa or not.

  • Next to the letter of invitation, you also need to show proof of an overseas health insurance. We recommend the following insurance, it's affordable and reliable: http://www.care-concept.de/sprachschueler.php?vmnr=002899000S&mail=info@insulakoeln.com