Language Center – History

Our History

  • 1978/79

    The Founding

    In 1978, the then rector of the “University for Educational Sciences in Klagenfurt”, now the Alpen-Adria University (AAU), provided the impetus to set up summer language courses for German as a foreign language (DaF). The association “German for holiday courses” was founded under the leadership of Robert Saxer of the Institute for German Studies. In the academic year 1978/79, a number of students majoring in German were trained for the first time for their work as language teachers, a practice that continues to this day at the German Studies Institute (DaF department).

    The first German courses were held in the summer of 1979; 44 participants were registered.

  • 1984

    The “Mundl” was “born”

    Mundl on the road

    Our mascot “Mundl” was created by the well-known Carinthian designer and graphic artist Johann “Brandy” Brandstätter. A little later it turned into our logo, which is still in use today – albeit in a slightly different form and color. In 2015 we had a 1.60 m rag doll made. So the “Mundl” now goes on excursions, sometimes sits in the classrooms and is available to the participants for photos at any time free of charge.

  • 1992

    Name Change

    The AAU Klagenfurt was the first Austrian university to offer systematic GFL teacher training. Accordingly, it was a leader in the further training of DaF teachers in Austria and numerous especially European countries, as well as in the development of DaF textbooks and DaF curricula in several of these countries (Albania, Denmark, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Turkey).

    In addition, the AAU Klagenfurt made a significant contribution to the foundation of the Austrian Association of Teachers of German as a Foreign Language (ÖDaF) and to the development of the internationally administered Austrian Language Diploma (ÖSD) – the head of which is Dr. Manuela Glaboniat, director of the DaF section of the Klagenfurt German Studies Institute. Initial contacts were made with the corresponding institutions in other German-speaking countries (especially the Goethe Institute in Germany, the Herder Institute in the then German Democratic Republic and the University of Friborg in Switzerland).

    Since the association was an important source of inspiration for these developments, it has meanwhile changed its name to “German in Austria. Language courses for foreigners”.

  • 1993/94

    Introduction of the University Course

    In 1993, the university management decided to organize the German courses for non-German speaking guest students in the form of a university course every semester in order to ensure the professional and organizational professionalism of these courses.

    In 1994 the statute for this university course was approved by the university college, and the implementation was entrusted to the association. On the basis of the University Act of 2002, it was renamed “University course for German as a foreign and second language”. The average number of participants per semester is 200. The specialty of the university course – which is also expressed in its designation German as a foreign and second language” – is the integrative teaching for foreign guest students and local non-German speaking participants.

  • 1997

    Extension of the Course Offer

    As there were always inquiries in the language course office of the association regarding the organization of foreign language courses (in addition to the German course offer), the association decided to expand its course offer and to change its name again, namely into German in Austria. Association for Foreign Language Courses”.

    In 1997, English courses were offered on a trial basis in close cooperation with the Institute for English and American Studies. The success of these courses encouraged the establishment of the language center and the launch of courses in English, Italian and Slovenian.

    While the English and Italian courses were “real hits” right from the start, the number of participants for Slovenian has increased only in more recent years. One attraction of these courses, in addition to the university atmosphere, is the fact that they are conducted exclusively by native speakers. This was possible because, among other things, the association was able to draw on the technical and human resources of the institutes for English and American Studies, Romance Studies and Slavic Studies.

    Today, the association uses exclusively its own know-how in this offer segment and recruits native speakers for the most part on its own. Since a few years we also offer Spanish courses.

  • 2016

    Death of our Founding Father

    In March 2016 we received the sad news that the founder and mentor of “German in Austria”, Oberrat Prof. Dr. Robert Saxer, passed away after a short but serious illness. We know what we owe to Robert: Without him we would not be what we are today. We miss his expertise, his wealth of experience, his tireless commitment and his humanity infinitely. We will always remember you, dear Robert.

  • 2017

    Introduction of the Preparatory Study Course (VAAU)

    In the winter semester 2017/2018, the association launched the preparatory study course for the supplementary exams of the Alpen-Adria-Universität (VAAU).

    The aim of the preparatory study course is to offer applicants with a non-German mother tongue courses at an international language level and to prepare them for and to organize the relative exams. The supplementary examinations test knowledge of the German language as well as content and requirements that establish equivalence to the Austrian high school leaving examination. The language transmission takes place by means of communicative language lessons with practice in the four language skills (listening, speaking, writing, reading) and separate pronunciation training. The course content is developed in courses with normally 14 participants using appropriate teaching materials, specifically tailored to the course group and its language level.

  • 2018

    ÖIF Certification + MORE Program

    At the beginning of 2018, as part of the certification as an ÖIF course provider, the offer was expanded to include ÖIF integration courses (in the form of intensive courses) and ÖIF integration tests. Integration courses are offered at language levels A1 and A2, integration tests for language levels A1, A2 and B1.

    In addition, the AAU commissioned the association to conduct German courses as part of the MORE program from the summer semester of 2018. The MORE program at the Alpen-Adria-Universität (AAU) enables people with a refugee background to gain access to the Austrian university system. The aim is to give them better future opportunities. Free German courses are offered for this target group as part of the MORE program.

  • 2019

    TÜV Certification

    On October 30, 2019 we finally made it: The quality of our courses was tested by TÜV AUSTRIA CERT GMBH in accordance with ISO 29990 and certified under certificate number 20285193005776.

  • 2020


    We are Ö-Cert quality providers in adult education. The Austrian-wide recognition of our quality measures has a name: Ö-Cert. It sets quality standards for adult education organizations across Austria and creates unbureaucratic transparency for those interested in education and for sponsors.

  • March 2020

    Corona – New Challenges

    The Covid-19 pandemic and the associated preventive measures make face-to-face classes impossible since March 10. We take the crisis as an opportunity. We were and still are proponents of face-to-face classes, but also our online classes meet our quality requirements and will form a (hopefully small) part of our offer even after the crisis.