Hamburg News: Trade and Finance. High-class shopping area in the city centre shown.
Englisch-Unterricht am Wallstreet Institute © Jan Gallas

English on the rise among firms in Hamburg

Language schools or distance learning institutes offer English refresher courses

English is a must as a corporate language and spreading in Hamburg where over 100 countries have consulates. The city is already a “gate to the world” and the commercial tradition is becoming more dynamic as markets and companies turn global.

More and more foreign firms settling in Hamburg

Hamburg is also an attractive location for foreign companies. By April 1, 2016, 389 new, foreign companies had been entered on the Hamburg commercial register for 2015, according to the Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF). This figure compares to 580 new companies in Hamburg in 2014.

Intense international networking

Dr. Uve Samuels, Director of HSBA, said: “Since the Hamburg School of Business Administration (HSBA) was founded 12 years ago, the importance of English as a corporate language has grown enormously.” The university of the Hamburg business community co-operates with over 250 companies and offers dual and extra-occupational Bachelor and Masters’ courses many of which are taught in English from the start. Seven new courses can be studied entirely in English. Samuels explained: “That has to do with the intense, international networking that modern information technology has facilitated.” More and more companies are holding video conferences in English, and use it in emails and on the intranet – making it difficult to get by without a good command of English.

30 countries at InnoGames

English as a corporate language is a must nowadays – in the Otto Group, Airbus and in smaller firms as more companies are hiring people from abroad. Their numbers are particularly high in the games sector and InnoGames, for instance, employs games developers from 30 nations.

Types of language courses

An update in a classic language course or per eLearning is no harm when new tasks or restructuring make higher demands on a person’s command of foreign languages. The teachers should be both native speakers and trained didactically. Trial lessons and entrances tests are one way of getting to know a school. The test at the Wall Street Institute (WSI) has three parts as well as an introductory talk. This leads to the start level and the placement can range from 1 (survival) to 20 (mastery). The timetable consists of a mix of blended learning and classic English lessons that can be adjusted to a person’s workday.

Demand for many languages in Hamburg’s economy

Otmar Tibes, Managing Director of the Colón Language Center, recommended a combination of an evening course and individual lessons for those in a hurry to brush up their English. “Although the practical use of the language is dealt with once a week in evening courses, individual lessons can help broaden specialist vocabulary.”

Colón offers classes in 18 languages ranging from European to Chinese and Arabic as a multitude of languages are in demand nowadays in Hamburg’s economy. Berlitz Language School offers lessons in 20 languages including Turkish, Russian or Japanese while Inlingua complements the languages taught with intercultural training to ensure that vocabulary matches the context. As promoters of their native culture, the Institut Français, Istituto Italiano di Cultura or the Instituto Cervantes also offer language courses.

Key to success for many sectors

Languages are important for tourism in Hamburg as the city is becoming one of the most popular destinations for city trips in Europe. A total of 6.3 million guests in 2015 accounted for 12.6 million overnight stays. The number of overnight stays by people from abroad also rose making English a must in catering and trade.

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