Don’t Get Ripped Off For “Materials” At German Classes

by Cecily on February 21, 2012


Don’t Get Ripped Off For “Materials” At German Classes


Recently I started a Language class at the Alemania Deutchschule. While the course is quite reasonably priced at 580CHF for 4 weeks of intensive beginners classes, I was not prepared for the additional charge of 70CHF for the "materials". Assuming the materials were books I decided to do some of my own research and try and source some cheap or second hand books from the internet before the class started.

My search was not too fruitful, especially as the schools secretary had not been very forthcoming with details as to what constituted 70CHF of materials and had not provided me with the exact name of the book we would be using. But there was the suggestion that any German course book would be available in the Orell Fussli bookshop here in Zurich, but unfortunately I had left it too late to go shopping

as it was Sunday and I did not even specifically know what books I should be buying.

As a result I ended up attending the first day of class empty handed and was given a book, cheap ugly school bag with "alemania" written on it and a pencil. Since I then knew exactly what book I needed I later that day went to the Orell Fussli on Fusslistrasse 4, this is the biggest bookshop in Zurich and has 4 floors of books. Armed with a photograph the cover of the book I found it for 21.90CHF there. A massive saving of 48.10 CHF.

Then when I went to pay on day 2 I said I had bought my own book and returned the brand new one I had just bought along with the other "materials", the receptionist really didn't give me any problems about this, and I only paid 580CHF for the classes.

The "materials" cost quoted on my invoice was 70CHF, which I find ridiculous consideringthat the book is 21.90 CHF and the only other materials I received during 3 weeks are a pencil, a really ugly cheap school bag (which I returned) and 10 photo copied pages. This book (A1/1) is used until half way through the second month of classes, when at this point the school will once again try to charge 60CHF for the next level book (A1/2) which is also just 21.90CHF .

I would recommend that anybody doing any German classes at any school here in Zurich purchase their own books, especially if they are not included in the price of the classes. Make sure to tell the person that you book the class with that you intend to buy your own book and would like to know the exact name of the book you will be using. Zurich is already so over priced that you should not let yourself be massively over charged because you were to lazy to buy your own books.

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  • I was told at Flexilingo German Courses ( all the learning material is included in the course price (neither is there any other administrative fee or similar). However, I haven’t started my course with them yet. Any experiences with them anyone?

    • Hi Roland, \r\nFirst I have heard of this Flexilingo Class. After having a quick glance at the website I am not too impressed at how poorly the German is translated to English. \r\nI am a big fan of regular sit down in a classroom style classes so I would probably not do this style of class for the following reasons.\r\n1. too little class time per week to make real progress\r\n2. no meeting class members (networking)\r\n3. event might be expensive e.g. Fondue (or easy to skip)\r\n4. social events when you are at a basic German level can be demotivating as you cant express yourself or understand.\r\n\r\nof course I could be completely wrong and I would be very interested to hear how it goes. \r\nThe classes however are reasonably priced.\r\nPlease do write back with feedback!

  • Hello,\r\nThank you for your useful post!\r\nI will take an intensive course at Alemania Deutschschule starting in November the level A1 Anfänger Teil C. \r\nDo you know what book they are using at that level? I already have the green book A1/1.\r\nThank you

    • Hey Ana,\n\nIt was a while since I attended the classes (nearly 2 years, wow) so not sure what book they are doing at what level. As I mention in the article, the best idea might be to get the book on the first day take it with you to the shop, buy the exact same new. Return the new one the next day saying you had it at home already or something. Or go into the office and ask to see the book before hand and take a picture.\nGood luck with the classes. \nI only ever did one months intensive for complete beginner.\nI met some really cool people but I found the class a little big and some people in the group slowed things down a bit. \nMy teacher Andreas was good though.\n\nCecily

  • At Berlitz the books are sold at the same price as they are in the stores..\nThe materials for levels A1-A2 are Berlitz own materials and can’t be bought anywhere else.

  • Thankyou so much for the information it will come in very handy for my migration to Zurich next month. I would like your recommendation on a good German class for beginners. 

  • Unless they  changed it my A2 class from there came with a book created by Alemania. is a great place to get practice books from. You save more than half on some.

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