I am an international student in a German university. I have participated in an online seminar (in English),in which lecture notes are given. There are lectures in my university discussing the notes and related stuff, I want to join it but it is conducted in German. I basically don't understand what the professor talks about. The course is not mandatory, but the course description said it is in German. Should I ask the professor giving his talk in English?

I have participated in the first lecture (but I was late) and said nothing about the language problem and I skipped the second lecture. Am I in the right position to ask for switching languages?

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    Does the course description or program rules specify the default language? For example, in my case, undergrad was taught in the local language, grad courses in English (in case non-speakers were present) – Mark Nov 16 '20 at 16:20
  • However I notice there are courses state in the description is in German but using English when teaching for my university – Ken.Wong Nov 16 '20 at 16:33
  • So the actual seminar is conducted in English and the discussions are conducted in German? – GoodDeeds Nov 16 '20 at 16:49
  • Just ask. Many profs (not all) are willing to switch to English if nobody objects. – user111388 Nov 16 '20 at 16:57
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    @GoodDeeds Yes, the seminar are in English. There are actually an English discussion forum online. However the discussion session I mentioned in the post is the session hosted by our university itself. – Ken.Wong Nov 16 '20 at 18:28

You can ask, of course. But if the description states that it is in German, then you probably won't see a change. There may be others in the course depending on it being in German, of course.

But giving the professor a heads up that you are having a lot of trouble following because of language issues might possibly result in some accommodation.

  • What kind of accommodation might be possible, given that the course was officially meant to be in German? – GoodDeeds Nov 16 '20 at 16:50
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    That a course is stated by the course description to be in German might or might not meaningful. In my university, courses were seemingly random given (by the course description) in the local language or English - in reality, often profs would switch to English if people did not speak the local language (even if announced in the local language) or just say "I don't feel like teaching in English, the people who only speak English should just look for an English textbook and read that" even if the course was announced to be in English. – user111388 Nov 16 '20 at 16:56
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    @GoodDeeds For example, the professor may have a copy of material translated to English, which they can share with the student. Or they can run their source file with lecture notes through an auto translate tool, and share the result (as pdf) with the student. – Dmitry Savostyanov Nov 16 '20 at 17:10

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