Hochschule Düsseldorf
University of Applied Sciences
Zentrum für Weiterbildung und Kompetenzentwicklung
Centre for Training and Competence Development

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Frequently asked questions for ZWEK language courses

General Information

Who can participate in ZWEK courses?

Only duly enrolled students of the HSD are eligible to participate. Unfortunately, guest students are not eligible.

The International Office of HSD offers free German courses for international students with and without a refugee background to prepare them for their studies. These courses aim to bring international students, regardless of their refugee background, who are ready to study, to level C1. For more information: https://www.hs-duesseldorf.de/prospectivestudents/refugees​ 

Do I have to pay for the language courses offered by the ZWEK?

No, the ZWEK offers free language courses for HSD students.

Which languages can I learn at ZWEK?

ZWEK currently offers language courses in Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German as a foreign language, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, and sign language. However, our language learning offerings vary from semester to semester.

I would like to learn a language that is not offered at ZWEK. Can ZWEK offer other language courses?

In principle, yes. In order for a course to take place, we need at least 10 participants in the course, who must also be present at the first session. Please feel free to contact us.

When will the language learning program be published?

The language learning program will be presented about three weeks before the semester starts. However, registration is only possible approximately two weeks before the start of the semester.

Where is the language learning program published?

It is published on our own website. However, the start of registration will be published via the News message on the main HSD page and via social media.

When do the ZWEK language courses start?

The language courses of the ZWEK can start one to two weeks after the official start of lectures (depending on the lecture period). The start and end dates can be found in the individual course boxes).

How many participants can take part in a course?

Some of the language courses are limited to 20 participants.

What are the prerequisites for a language course?

In order for a language course to take place, at least 10 participants must be registered and present at the first session.


Registration and cancellation

How do I register for a language course?

Only via SharePoint with the HSD account.

When can I register for a language course?

For each semester, the ZWEK usually presents its program on its own website three weeks before the semester begins and sets a registration time. Registration is possible within this time (usually, two weeks before the start of the semester). During this time you can register for the language courses.

I did not get a place in the desired course, can I be put on a waiting list?

Yes, if the maximum number of participants has been reached, you can be put on the waiting list and you can get a place by moving up. As soon as you have moved up, you will be automatically notified by the system.

Can I register after the registration deadline?

Unfortunately not. However, you can contact the ZWEK to find out if there are still places available in the course.

Can I go and attend the first session of a course without registering?

Unfortunately, no. Since many language courses are very popular and we want to remain fair, priority is given to registered students who have placed themselves on the waiting list. We also send the lists of participants to the lecturers. Those who are not on the course list will be turned away.

Can I take more than one course at a time or can I register for more than one course?

Yes and no. Multiple courses in different languages can be attended. Two different levels in one language cannot be attended. Since the language courses build on each other, it is not possible to attend language courses in the same language at different levels at the same time (for example, Japanese A1.1 and Japanese A1.2).

I have registered for a course, but I cannot or no longer wish to attend. Do I have to cancel my registration?

Yes, please do. If you cannot or do not want to participate in the course, please: send us an email to: sprachen.zwek@hs-duesseldorf.de. This way you give other students the chance to move up.

How do I know if the course I registered for is taking place or not?

We will usually contact you if the course has to be cancelled. In times of digital teaching we will send you all access data one week before the course starts.

CEFR levels, previous knowledge and placement test

What are CEFR levels and what is A1, A2, B1, B2 etc.?

These are the levels from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). ZWEK's language courses are based on the CEFR. The CEFR distinguishes six levels of proficiency and describes what learners can express and understand at each level. The levels tell about the level of difficulty of the course. A1 and A2: Elementary language use B1 and B2: Independent language use C1 and C2: Competent language use For more information see: Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages (europaeischer-referenzrahmen.de).

How do I determine which CEFR level I have?

The ZWEK uses textbook-based placement tests for this purpose. In order to register for a course at level A2 or higher, it is necessary to provide evidence of prior knowledge BEFORE the course begins. For this purpose, you can submit evidence that is not older than two years.

Some courses require prior knowledge, what exactly should I submit to prove this?

To prove prior knowledge of a language, you can submit school reports, certificates from language centers, certificates from language schools or institutes BEFORE the course begins. However, they must not be older than two years.

Can I attend an A1 beginner course even though I have previous knowledge?

For each language course there is a module description with the CEFR objectives and with the prerequisites for participation in the respective course. These must be adhered to. If your previous knowledge in oral or written form significantly exceeds the required level, you will unfortunately not be able to continue with the language course. Please understand this. This will free up your place for someone else.

I already have previous knowledge of French or Spanish from school (B1-B2), can I still attend an A2 course?

Here it also applies: For each language course there is a module description with the CEFR objectives and with the prerequisites for participation in the respective course. These must be adhered to. If your previous knowledge in oral or written form significantly exceeds the required level, you will unfortunately not be able to continue with the language course. Please have understanding for this.

Attendance and active participation

I have registered for a course, but I cannot be present on the first date. Do I lose my place?

Basically, if you do not come to the course on the first day, you will lose your place. Therefore, it is important to apologize to ZWEK or the lecturers beforehand. The day/date will still count as missed.

My course takes place on two days. Do I have to attend both days?

Yes, for language courses with two listed days/dates there is no choice, both days together make up the 4 SWS. What does 80% compulsory attendance mean? This means that of the total number of class dates (usually 17 or 34), you must be present for 80%. This usually means a maximum of 3 absences, depending on the semester. The summer semester is shorter than the winter semester.

Can I be absent more than 20% with a medical certificate?

No. Since regular attendance in language courses is necessary for the evaluation of active participation in class, the allowed absences should not be exceeded. Not even with a doctor's certificate or similar.

I joined a language course as a latecomer and missed the first two dates. Are these absences?

Yes, the attendance requirement of 80% is a prerequisite for successful participation in the course and for the evaluation of active participation.

What does active participation in class mean?

Active participation means: you have completed your homework and are prepared in class, you turn in your homework on time in Moodle (essays or similar), you give a presentation, you actively participate in class, dialogues and activities, and you participate in group work. Active participation will be assessed.

Written exam

Do I have to register for the written exam?

No, you do not need any additional registration. All participants of the language courses complete the course with a written exam.

When does the exam take place?

The exams usually takes place in the last week of class.

I cannot or could not take the exam. Can I retake the exam?

Only in very exceptional cases can you retake the exam. If you do not show up for the exam without a valid reason, you will be considered to have failed the exam.

Certificates, creditability and results

Which course certificate form can I receive for the language courses with levels?

As of winter semester 2021/22, students at ZWEK can only receive certificates of attendance. The following requirements must be met for this: 80% attendance, active participation in class, and taking notes and passing the final written exam.

Can I only receive a certificate of attendance?

We do not issue attendance certificates only.

When will I receive my language course certificate?

We try to issue certificates as soon as possible after the end of the semester. However, this may take two to three months. Why? Only after we receive the exams and attendance records from the lecturers, we can start reviewing all the documents.

When and how will I know the result of my exam or the final grade?

Depending on the receipt of the grades from the lecturer and after reviewing the exams and attendance lists, we publish the results anonymously. You can find out the results of your exam via our infobox on the website.

How will I know that my certificate is ready?

You will be notified by email when they are ready for pickup. You can also find out this info via our infobox on the website.

Where do I get my certificate?

Due to the Corona Pandemic, some procedures have unfortunately changed and the usual personal collection of certificates at ZWEK is currently not possible. However, we offer you the possibility to receive the certificates by mail if you send us a sufficiently addressed and stamped envelope (DIN A4). Please provide us with the following data: Name, matriculation number, language course taken with level and the semester in which you took the course.
Please address the letter to:

Hochschule Düsseldorf
Münsterstraße 156
40476 Düsseldorf

As a rule, you will receive the respective certificate at the end of the semester at the premises of the ZWEK. We kindly ask you to call us before you go.

Can I receive my language course certificate by e-mail?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to send it by e-mail.

Can I get credit for a ZWEK language course?

Depending on the subject area, you can have the courses credited. In which form and with how many CreditPoints this can be done, you have to ask (best in advance) in your respective examination/study office. This differs from one Faculty to another.

My passed examination has not yet been registered with the OSSC. What is the procedure? What do I have to do?

The registration of the passed examination performance is not automatic. Some Faculties have a form for the crediting of language courses as elective modules, which is filled out by you and can be confirmed by us. Please send us the completed form, we will stamp it and forward it to the relevant examination office by internal mail upon request.

Who signs my department's form at the end of the course?

ZWEK Sprachen (Languages) ​​​confirms your participation in the language course on behalf of the lecturer and stamps this form for you, which you fill out in advance and send to us digitally or by mail. We will then forward it to the respective examination office by internal mail.

Language tandem

Who can participate in the language tandem?

All duly enrolled students of the HSD as well as employees of the HSD are eligible to participate.

How can I participate in the language tandem?

Via the Padlet platform. For this you need an HSD account and a password, which we will provide. At the moment our language tandem is not yet functional.