The language of instruction as well as the lingua franca in our faculties is normally German. However, in almost all of Germany you will find that people are fluent in English, and many visiting scholars manage quite well with little or no knowledge of German. Before arriving at the University of Duisburg-Essen it would be good to check with the department with which you will be working about its language requirements.
If you want to learn German or improve your German, you can take advantage of the language courses offered at the University: Institut für Kultur und Sprache e.V. offers a language course commissioned by the Science Support Centre (SSC) with the title "Deutsche als Fremdsprache" (DaF) [German as a Foreign Language] for visiting scholars and their life partners at the UDE. You can register for this course by completing an electronic registration form on the Web site of the Institute for Culture and Language: http://www.uni-due.de/iks/sprachkurse/gastwiss_anm.php.
An invitation to a language course stating the room and time will be sent to you automatically by email. The aim of the course is to foster communicative competency in everyday German. At the beginning of the course the teacher will ask the students about their expectations, priorities and knowledge of German so that they can increase their proficiency in a short time. The course is also an opportunity to meet colleagues.
There are also various German courses held in the vicinity of the University to prepare foreign students for their studies or to help them increase their proficiency in German after courses start. At the beginning of the course, a proficiency test is administered; students are then assigned to courses at the appropriate level on the basis of the test results. Further information can be found at: http://www.uni-duisburg-essen.de/international/deutschkurse.shtml
Information on courses offered in several languages can be found in the Vorlesungsverzeichnis [Course Directory]: http://www.uni-duisburg-essen.de/vv/Furthermore,
the International Office of the UDE organizes tandem language learning. This kind of language learning allows you to see the world from a different perspective. The idea is to work with a native speaker of your chosen foreign language to improve your language skills. You not only learn the language, but also get a first-hand account of everyday life, work and leisure in another culture. Tandem language learning can turn into a lifelong friendship that builds valuable bridges between different cultures.
The flexibility of tandem language learning offers you the greatest possible freedom to learn according to your needs: you and your tandem language partner alone are responsible for setting the timeframe for your partnership and what you wish to learn. All you need is an interest in a different language and culture, and a desire to expand your knowledge through self-regulated learning.
You can learn more about additional possibilities at http://www.eracareers-germany.de/portal/sprachkurse_in.html