How does the programme operate in Germany?
The Language Assistants Programme is a bi-lateral mobility programme. We work with our partner organisation, Pädagogischer Austauschdienst des Sekretariats der Kultusministerkonferenz (PAD), to send English Language Assistants to primary and secondary schools in Germany.
The PAD administers the programme in Germany and manage the relationship with regional authorities and schools on our behalf. As part of our allocation process, we will be sharing the information you include in your application with the PAD and the regional authorities and schools that they work with. By submitting an application, you are agreeing to us sharing the information with all parties listed above.
Am I eligible for a placement in Germany?
To be a Language Assistant in Germany, you must:
- fulfil the general eligibility criteria
- hold a UK, Irish or EU passport
- have A2-level German. Please note however that Assistants will be expected to be able to communicate and complete the necessary administration procedures in German.
- be aged 35 or under
As well as fulfilling all the general eligibility criteria, please note that our German partners also require candidates to have completed their secondary school education in the UK.
Will I need a visa?
Assistants going to Germany who do not have an EU passport or pre-existing residency in Germany will be required to apply for a Residence Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) once you have arrived at your destination
No entry visa is required; however, you must ensure you have a sufficient number of visa-free days in the Schengen area remaining to enter Germany and apply for the Residence Permit.
The Residence Permit does not allow Language Assistants to obtain official secondary employment in Germany.
Please ensure your passport is valid 6 months beyond the end of your assistantship and has been issued within the last ten years (even if it has six months or more left).
Please note that visa requirements can change at short notice, and the British Council cannot be held responsible for any changes to the visa process or to the approximate costs listed above which have been given as a guide only. If allocated a placement, you will receive the most up-to-date information for the processes. You should not apply until you have been instructed to do so by the team.
When will I start my placement?
Posts in Germany run from early-to-mid September 2023 to 31 May 2024.
Shorter posts are available for the first semester of the year, usually running from early-to-mid September 2023 to 28 February 2024.
Will there be an induction course?
A compulsory four-day induction course is usually held near Cologne, run by our partner agency in Germany, the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD). This is likely to take place in August or September, and Assistants will take up their placements once the induction course has finished.
You will be invited to the induction course by the PAD via email.
The course will cover all the necessary administration for living in Germany and give Assistants the opportunity to learn and practise teaching skills. On arrival, Assistants will need to pay a small cost (about €35) to cover accommodation and meals.
Applicants who have recently been an Assistant in Germany (within the past five years) may not be invited to the induction course.
Please note that this information is subject to change. Since August 2020, the induction course has been organised as a virtual event but is expected to return as a face-to-face event in 2024. Please note that this information is subject to change.
How many hours will I work per week?
Language Assistants in Germany can expect to work approximately 12 hours per week. Please be aware that the number of hours and your specific timetable can vary depending on the region and institution that you are allocated to.
How many posts are available in Germany?
Every year there are approximately 260 posts available in Germany in all areas of the 16 Bundesländer (federal states).
Posts are available for undergraduates and graduates, however, undergraduates on a compulsory year abroad will be prioritised during the matching process.
What type of institution will I be working in?
The majority of placements in Germany are in secondary schools, with a small number of postings in the primary schools.
How much will I be paid?
Assistants will receive a grant of approximately €1,000 net per month.
Please note that our overseas partners and employing institutions are ultimately responsible for setting the salary of Language Assistants and this amount should therefore be treated as indicative and may be subject to change.
What are the costs involved?
Applicants should also be aware that there are costs associated with moving to Germany. However, these costs should not come all at once as they will occur at different stages of the process, from visa application to arrival in Germany. Costs are likely to include:
- International Child Protection Certificate (£75)
- Travel costs to placement location
- Health and travel insurance to cover your stay in Germany before the start of your placement
In post (before receiving first payment)
- Accommodation costs including initial temporary accommodation and deposit for permanent accommodation in Germany. ELAs in Germany are eligible to apply for Wohngeld, a type of housing benefit, to help cover the costs of accommodation.
- Costs for initial few months – You may not receive your first payment until late November, so you will need sufficient funds for this time. Previous assistants have recommended budgeting for at least two months without pay (approx. €1.000-1.500)
- Health insurance for any conditions not covered by the health insurance provided by PAD and Bernhard Assekuranzmakler GmbH (see document at the bottom of this page)
We encourage you to read more about the monthly allowance and how much money we recommend budgeting for Germany in section 8 of the destination guide (available to downloaded from the bottom of this page).
What holidays will I have?
In Germany the academic calendar runs from September to June. Typically, Assistants can expect to receive the same school and national holidays as their institution.
Holidays often vary by region and sometimes institution. Your institution will give you full details of your term dates when you begin your post. Germany has many official public holidays every year, some observed nationwide, some local. To get an idea what the academic calendar may look like, you can browse this website.
Where can I go in Germany?
Although the general perception of Germany is that of a heavily urbanised country, many of the assistantships are located in rural areas. Please be prepared to be allocated to such areas.
You can choose three options from the list of geographical regions in bold below, ranking them in your order of preference. You may also select 'No Preference'.
You should expect to be allocated anywhere within the given region, as the town and school allocation will be decided by the educational authorities of the Bundesländer, not the British Council. If you wish to be allocated to a particular Bundesland within one of the geographical regions, we recommend that you state this preference clearly in your application.
Please note you will only be considered for Berlin if it is your first choice. Berlin is heavily oversubscribed each year and consequently many applicants are allocated elsewhere even if they put Berlin as their first choice. Please keep this in mind when choosing your preferences. Placements in the geographical region ‘Ost’ may be close to Berlin, so we recommend considering ‘Ost’ as one of your preferences if you wish to be allocated near Berlin.
- Nord: Bremen (HB) - Hamburg (HH) - Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV) - Niedersachsen (NI) - Schleswig-Holstein (SH)
- Süd: Baden-Württemberg (BW) - Bayern (BY) - Hessen (HE)
- Ost: Brandenburg (BB) - Sachsen (SN) - Sachsen-Anhalt (ST) - Thüringen (TH)
- West: Nordrhein-Westfalen (NW) - Rheinland-Pfalz (RP) - Saarland (SL)
- Berlin: Berlin (BE)
If you have already had contact with a particular school in Germany, you should enclose a letter from them with your application form. You will be able to explain and give reasons for your preferences in the application form.
The final decision on where you will be placed rests with our German partner organisation and the Bundesländer. We are not able to guarantee any particular region or school. We recommend you research the different regions of Germany before applying.
I've worked as a Language Assistant in Germany – can I apply again?
Assistants currently working in Germany can apply for a consecutive year. This is not done through the British Council: please refer to our partner organisation’s website (the PAD) for more information on how to apply for a consecutive year.
Consecutive year Assistants can ask to remain at the same school or request a change to their school or region.
Please note all consecutive year Assistants must apply again for an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) for the new academic year.
Measles Protection Act (“Masernschutzgesetz”)
In accordance with the German Measles Protection Act (“Masernschutzgesetz”), Assistants in Germany will be required to obtain and provide evidence in relation to their immunity to or vaccination against measles prior to the start of their placement. Obtaining such documentation is necessary only once the placement has been confirmed.
Please carefully consult the information provided by our German partner organisation, the PAD, about the “Masernschutzgesetz” and its impact on the Language Assistants programme in Germany.
Where can I get information about my placement from?
The guide for Language Assistants in Germany 2023-24 is available to download in PDF format below. This information has been provided for reference and is subject to change each year. Updated guidance for Assistants going out on placement in 2024-25 will be available in summer 2024.
Last updated on 23/10/2023.