Why is Germany the perfect place to study abroad?

Recently Germany is becoming a magnet for international students from all over the world. Lets see some of the reasons why students prefer to study in this amazing country.

Study abroad

Germany is the ideal country to be studying abroad, it has a rich and complex history, an invigorating culture and fun loving people, and something every student looks forward to in a new country. On the other hand, its Universities are ranked among the best in the world, it offers innovative and international programs as well as the work discipline every professional shall dream of having. Germany is a very diverse and interesting country in almost every aspect therefore it’s worth exploring its natural as well as intellectual resources.

International Degree Programs

German Education system is highly focusing on its international domain, thus the number of international students coming to study in this country is ever-rising. Almost every University in Germany has incorporated in its curricula an international study program where lectures from all around the world come to share their expertise, mainly in English language as an international language but in German language as well.  In most of these Universities learning German language through intensive courses is a mandatory piece of the module, therefore the benefits double immediately.

Around 400 higher education institutions offer graduate and postgraduate programs for interested internationals depending on their aims and mode of studying. There are four main types of higher education institutions operating by different criteria, offering quite a wide range of possibilities for the students to choose from.

Universities, the classical approach to academia and research remain the highest and most prestigious institutes world-wide.

Technical universities or hochschule, as Germans call them, focus mainly on technology and engineering valuing not only the art of theory but also the art of practice. In fact, the emphasis in these institutions is on the practical skills their students will gain during their studies.

Colleges of fine arts, film and music focus mainly on engaging rare talents in their environments, therefore there are special admission requests in order to enroll in such institutions.

Last, but not the least Universities of applied sciences regard to applied social sciences and humanities.

In Germany it will commonly take a two year program to finish the Masters degree meanwhile PhD programs commonly last up to three academic years.

For most of the Postgraduate degrees you will have to take German Language University Entrance Examination in order to check if you have the necessary skills to enroll in the program.  Although international degrees are taught in English, many postgraduate courses will be taught in German as well.

International Courses offered regardless of the level, be it graduate or postgraduate are uniquely designed to contemplate with global criteria and attract as many international students as possible.

Once you’ve enrolled in a German university you can expect nothing less than:

  • High academic standards and well organized study programs
  • International degrees, i.e. Bachelor’s and Master’s
  • Courses taught in English, additional German language courses
  • Special Services: Academic and personal support, study counselling, study periods abroad

Aside from the quality of studies, no tuition fees and a remarkably affordable living standard adds up perfectly to the equation.

Low tuition fees

Regarding education, if you compare Germany to other well-developed neighboring countries one thing that strikes among others is the fact that German Universities are tuition free as of October, 2014. Such an advantage to higher education in Germany is not only offered to its citizens but to all international students willing to pursuit a degree in Germany irrespective of their origin, a free qualitative education taking pride on building experts and professionals for the global market.

However, this doesn’t apply to the private Universities around the country where there is no ground standard and tuition fees vary depending on the institution. Meanwhile, at the public Universities students are required to pay only the semester contributions (a symbolic fee) which includes free access to public transportation within the region. Free tuition applies only to undergraduates studying for a Bachelor’s degree; post-graduate degrees like Masters and PhD still charge the same tuition fees as in the past. Nevertheless, pursuing a postgraduate degree in a public University in Germany will save you a couple of thousands of euros you would otherwise be spending in a private institute.

Previously, tuition fees in Germany were made of two different parts. The Studiengebühren is the actual tuition fee that was commonly varied from nothing to 500 Euros per semester and the other part of the bargain is called, The Semesterbeitrag which charges for administration fees as well as fees for the General Students. Committee (AStA), the Studentenwerk (responsible for any kind of issues students might have, national and international). Aside from the administrative fees it’s common to find that the semester ticket for public transport within the city is mandatory as part of the Semeterbeitrag (sometimes you can also use the same ticket to cover the suburbia and maybe the certain region, it depends on the University). Never underestimate the benefits of having free access to public transportation; wherever you choose to live it will be lifesaving. Now students are charged only the second part, the semester contribution with all its benefits while the first part is abolished entirely.

In case of financial turmoil funding the studies in Germany can be done in several ways. There are scholarships offered to exceptional students, and as much as the process can be tiring it can be very rewarding in the end. Another option would be loaning money to pay for you education yet that is quite a long shot.

You can always look for a part-time job in your area that will alleviate daily costs and allow you to enjoy you study abroad time in Germany.

Affordable Accommodation

As in every other country student residencies are way more affordable than a rental yet quality is undisputable. Residence halls commonly are old, worn buildings where everything is usually shared and you can’t really choose with whom you’ll be sharing your most intimate life. However, there are new facilities’ build recently that are way more comfortable and vivid yet sharing is always the issue.

Even so, it pretty difficult to find a room in such facilities since they tend to be pre booked quite in advance.  If you are counting on a room in a dormitory you will have to contact the Studentenwerk quite early in order for them to get you accommodated. Be careful, the student services might as well put you on the waiting list and get your hopes high yet sometimes it happens for people to remain in those waiting lists for a whole year round, so one must have a back-up plan.

Another alternative, however would be the private student halls of residence; rooms are in good shape and relatively affordable. You can ask around for more information or address the student service offices.

University guest houses are a long shot yet worth trying. They are usually reserved for the visiting lecturers and professors and other university guests throughout the year, however you just might get lucky and get a room there. You can apply for an apartment at a university guest-house through the Foreign Students’ Advisory Office. Another “waiting in the line” won’t do much harm, now will it?

As for private accommodation, it’s always wise to rent a place somewhere in the campus region so you don’t have to travel for miles back and forth every day. Commonly there are some notice boards in the university area where people post information about vacant rooms or apartments in the area. Usually it’s, single rooms and the notes are from people who are looking to share the rent.

If you are looking for a whole apartment and you are able to afford it, check out the local newspapers as well as student unions at your university that offer information on the matter. This way you will get access to a number of facilities where you can choose from, and also learn about the terms and conditions of renting.

Travel Europe on a student visa

If you are a European student and want to study and live in Germany, you will cherish the same rights as a German citizen and EU\EFTA citizen regarding free entry, the opportunity to study and work without any additional permits.

If you are not however, a European citizen and you want to study in Germany, you will have to apply for a Schengen Visa. Unless you are enrolled on a summer school language program, you will need to apply for a student visa that allows you to reside in Germany for more than 90 days and also get a residency permit to become able to live and move around the country. The residency permit will also allow you to travel visa free in the whole Schengen Area, which makes for a wonderful opportunity to visit the countries you are interested in within the time-frame.

Once you receive the letter of acceptance from the designated german University, it is recommendable to apply for a student visa at least 3 months prior to your intended departure (the time you are expected to be in Germany).

As for the residency permit, all your documentation will be sent to the Immigration Office of the German region where your University is stationed, and after every bureaucratic procedure is done you will be issued the residency permit.

In order to obtain the student visa, however there are certain criteria that need be met.   If you are travelling to Europe on such a permit, you will have to inform the designated authorities prior to your departure.

Mandatory Health Insurance

In Germany you are obliged to have health insurance in order to reside in the country. In fact you won’t be able to enroll in a University in Germany without having purchased health insurance that covers basic healthcare services. So one needs to consider the issue before moving to study in Germany.

If you already have health insurance that covers services internationally in accordance to the health Insurance system in Germany, you might as well not need to get a new one. However, make sure you are content with the coverage and the services your International Health Policy offers in the deal.

In case you are purchasing health insurance in Germany you must be aware of the two different domains, the public and the private one. Commonly public health insurance is recommended to the students since its cheaper and has a suitable coverage however this mustn’t always be the case; in case you are able to afford it, private health insurance is worth 5 stars.

Another thing you need to consider if you will be travelling to Europe, is if the Health Insurance policy you are purchasing has international access to the EU/ Schengen State health care in case of any emergencies. Most insurance companies offer such a deal so you just have to be vigilant about it.

Dual studies, a great opportunity

Dual studies have proven to be very successful in the round of innovative study methods of the century. Combining studying and working simultaneously brings students to put in practice their theoretical gains at their educational institutions of the sort, be it Universities, Academies or Professional Schools, which saves time and money and gives a chance of early emancipation.

Working while studying has also an important psychological impact on the process of maturation.

In getting accepted in a dual study program, students need to be in possession of a valid high school diploma, equivalent to the certificate for entrance in Germany. Additional to the diploma, German language skills, an academic level in this case, is required in order to proceed the admission request.

If you own a German High School diploma from any other country it will be accepted just like it was obtained in Germany. All other non-German diplomas must must go through the acknowledgment procedures by the appropriate authorities in the country of origin and become legit, as is the office for the recognition of diplomas (Zeugnisanerkennungsstelle). It is always preferable to double check these documents with DAAD or the German Embassy in the country of origin so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises. As for the German language certificate, an essential document in the process, one can be obtained in every Goethe Institute closeby your hometown; of course after passing the certain German language exams.

If you are able to manage the crowded itinerary and finish your tasks according to the deadlines you will greatly benefit of such an opportunity and even earn some pocket money on the side from the working experience.

Cultural Revelations

Germany is right in the heart of Europe which makes it a culturally vivid and intriguing country, influenced by the surrounding diverse ethnicities. Its past makes it an iconic figure in world’s most ravishing history, one truly challenging feature to all the people that decide to live and understand its roots. Living in Germany comes in many colors; as a student you will find it very hard to get bored even for an instant as there are always stimulating activities happening around you regardless of the city you are living in.

For starters, Germany is divided into regions and every region is unique and fascinating in their own way. There is something for everyone; opera, rock&roll, great Italian food, Turkish delight, outdoor sports, latest cinematic happenings, festivals, yoga, art and what not. Nightlife in Germany tends to be the trendiest in the world at the moment, especially if Berlin is your destiny.

Depending on the field of studies, your abilities to cope with the itinerary and time management skills you will be able to enjoy the perks of such a beautiful country. Though studies will most probably take most of your time and energy, you will still be able to go out, travel and get to know ze Germans one-on-one.  If you are learning German language simultaneously with your studies, which is usually the case, you will be definitely overloaded with homework yet what better way could you practice what you’ve been preached than around Germans.

As a possibility, staying with a host family is one true German experience. Around Germans it’s recommendable to be forthcoming, attentive and of course punctual.  In the beginning you might feel a bit uncomfortable with the level of honesty, sometimes you will even feel threatened; however you will most definitely learn to respect and admire such a quality, and with some luck embrace it yourself. Remember to always bring a gift when invited for the first time at some German home.

Learn a new language

There are many reasons why you should learn German language. Below you will find some of them that will justify your efforts, and it’s quite some effort as German language tends to be quite a complex language to learn. Nevertheless, it is one strong and powerful language.

  • The German economy ranks number one in Europe and number four worldwide.
  • Germany is home to numerous international corporations.
  • German has the largest number of native speakers in the European Union (far more than English, Spanish, or French).
  • German is among the ten most commonly spoken languages in the world. It is also a lingua franca of Central and Eastern Europe. And as for “all Germans speak English anyway”? That’s pure myth.
  • 22 Nobel Prizes in Physics, 30 in Chemistry, and 25 in Medicine have gone to scientists from the three major German-speaking countries, while many laureates from other countries received their training in German universities. Eleven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to German-language writers, and seven Germans and Austrians have received the Peace Prize.
  • Germans are world leaders in engineering.
  • The German-speaking world has produced some of the most revered filmmakers of the 20th century – from Fritz Lang to Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders and a new generation of transnational directors such as Tom Tykwer and Fatih Akin. German and Austrian filmmakers such as Lang, Billy Wilder and Ernst Lubitsch also shaped the history of Hollywood.
  • German is the language of Goethe, Marx, Nietzsche, and Kafka, of Mann, Brecht, and Grass. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Schubert, Brahms, Schumann, Wagner, Mahler, and Schoenberg spoke and wrote German, as did Freud, Weber, Einstein, and Heisenberg, Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger.
  • German is the second most commonly used scientific language in the world.
  • 18% of the world’s books are published in German, and relatively few of these ever appear in English translation.
  • Many of the Western world’s most important works of philosophy, literature, music, art history, theology, psychology, chemistry, physics, engineering and medicine are written in German and continue to be produced in German.