Mercator Alumni Language Learning Grant - cover image

"Language is the key to the world", Wilhelm von Humboldt already knew. That is why Mercator Foundation supports network members with the Alumni Language Learning Grant to expand their language and intercultural skills to be able to actively contribute to international understanding. The funding particularly supports young alumni from the foundation's network who want to broaden their competences through language courses and expand their knowledge and understanding of Germany, China or Turkey.

The grant is aimed at members Mercator alumni from the age of 16. We especially encourage highschool and university students, trainees and young professionals as well as multipliers in international exchange to apply for the grant and expand their language skills. (Current staff members of Stiftung Mercator, its partner associations or project partners are not eligible to apply.)

Morning exercises at School©Tilmann Herz Morning exercises at School©Tilmann Herz

Tilmann Herz (Alumnus Mercator Exchange 2020)

"Due to Corona, I unfortunately had to break off my student exchange in China early. Thanks to the alumni language course funding, I was able to register with my local Confucius Institute and continue learning Chinese after my year abroad without being in China myself. I find Chinese very exciting, since the language itself is actually very simple, the sentence structure is not very difficult and yet you can express everything with it. Besides, the characters are fascinating!

My favorite word/character: 家 - jiā

This character has several meanings, it can mean home or family, among other things. You can see the meaning well by the sign, above the roof, which symbolizes the protection of the family and the home. I like the character because I've found a second home in China too."

What does the grant include?
Alumni have the opportunity to receive a one-time grant to start or continue their language learning. Participation in the course (face-to-face course or online seminar) in the following target languages ​​can be supported:

Chinese, for example in courses on

* German, for example in courses on

* Turkish, for example in courses on

* The organizers listed here are not recommendations or evaluations on our part. Funding for courses at other recognized language institutes in Germany and abroad is possible upon review.

How can I apply for funding?
We are happy about your interest but our call for applications has ended on March 31, 2021. Stay tuned and look out for our next call starting in 2022! Updates follow via our alumni newsletter.

How would I receive the grant?

The costs will be reimbursed after the language course and after submitting the relevant receipts. After completing the course, you will receive a link to the online evaluation of the language course, which you should fill out before the reimbursement of costs. We need to receive the following documents by post within four weeks after the end of your language course to process the reimbursement:

  • Reimbursement form (use the template of Stiftung Mercator)

  • Original receipts

I still have a question about the grant - who can help me?
We are happy to answer any questions you may have - please email us at

A prior visit in Germany©Svetlana Kirova A prior visit in Germany©Svetlana Kirova

Svetlana Kirova, Alumna Future Forum Europe Turkey 2015

"I actually believe that the German language opens up new horizons - not only linguistically, of course. You get access to many sources of information and to people who speak the language. In order to be able to maintain my connection to Germany and to the socio-political processes in the country, I have I applied for language training grant for Mercator Alumni, because I missed German with the deep meaning of the idioms and its complicated constructions, which also say a lot about the way people think.

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I was unable to take a classroom course in Germany, but I'm still satisfied with the online alternative. I immersed myself in various topics related to Germany such as arts and culture, work, profession and environment and was able to make progress mainly through the submission tasks. At the end of the almost 100 hours I felt more confident in my written and oral expression, which is also important because German has become one of the hottest languages ​​in my home country and in all of Europe.

After the course I like to watch my favorite programs -  Germany news show Tagesthemen and Euromaxx - while I wait for the next, as they say in German, "Alumni-Treffen". "