Top Reasons to Study in Germany
Germany is the third most popular destination among international students in the world. More than twelve percent of students at German universities come from abroad – just like you. Germany is an attractive place to study and German university degrees are highly respected by employers worldwide.
High Quality Teaching and Research
German universities also offer a large number of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and doctorates aimed at international students. Depending on the university and availability, the students can take these courses in English or French, for example.
In 2013 about 282.000 international students were enrolled at a German university. This corresponds to a share of 11.1 percent among all students in Germany. Most of them come from China followed by the Russian Federation, Austria, Bulgaria and Poland.
For 2013, 612 international courses are listed in the fields of life science and information technology alone. There are 397 engineering courses and 117 in the field of medicine.
Good Career Prospects
Studying at a German university could be your first step towards a career in Germany. Because German companies are looking for university graduates in a variety of sectors – especially in the fields of engineering, medicine, the life sciences and information technology.
You are advised to build contacts with suitable companies – for example by means of an internship – during your course of study. With your German degree, you can score points with internationally operating companies, since by moving to Germany you have proven that you are flexible and keen to learn, and that you are at ease in an international environment.
Remember that as a rule, company employees have to pay social contributions and are protected by unemployment, health, nursing care, pension and accident insurance. In this case, the contributions are deducted directly from your salary.
Unlike many other countries, no tuition fees are charged for undergraduate degrees at most of the public universities in Germany.
The university year is usually divided into two semesters, and from the 2013/2014 winter semester only the universities in Lower Saxony will still be charging tuition fees. One semester costs 500 euros in fees; one trimester costs around 330 euros. In other words, German universities offer sound academic training for relatively low costs.
To live on, students in Germany need around 800 euros per month on average. You can earn something towards this by getting a student job.
High Quality of Life
Life in Germany is very good. If you study here, you will not only find Europe’s most dynamic economy. Germany is also a very safe country, with a high standard of living, a rich cultural history and a very diverse population.
The country also has an excellent infrastructure at the centre of Europe as well as numerous opportunities for recreational activities.
Also, at university you can do much more than just study: you can join a university sports club or theatre group, or engage in social or political activities. You can also go to university parties, music festivals, to the cinema or to night clubs with other students. You will soon make friends and through them get to know the country where you are studying even better.
Living Costs in Germany
While many students are able to study in Germany for free, living expenses are unavoidable. The cost of living in Germany is more expensive in some areas than others (big cities such as Munich as well as cities across western Germany tend to be more expensive), with costs ranging from €350 to €1,000 (~US$482 to US$1,377) per month. Rent will be your largest monthly expense, but is cheaper if you live in a shared flat (average rent of €298/US$340 per month) or a student hall of residence (€240/US$275 per month).
Based on data from the DAAD, other average monthly costs are as follows: €165 (~US$190) for food; €52 (US$60) for clothes; €82 (US$95) for transport; €33 (US$38) for telephone, internet and TV license; €30 (US$35) for work/study materials, and €68 (US$80) for leisure activities.
You won’t need a visa to study in Germany if you’re an EU national or a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Otherwise expect to pay around €60 (US$70) for your student visa, but there are also fee reductions or waivers for Schengen visas. In order to fulfill the visa requirements, you will need to show proof that you have, or have access to, around €8,040 per year (US$9,230) or €670 (US$770) per month to cover your living costs.
For more information on getting a German student visa, see this article.
You will also need health insurance as a pre-condition of registering at a German university. If you’re a resident of a country within the EU or EEA, there should be a social security agreement between your country and Germany. This means that if you have public health insurance, you should be covered in Germany as well (full list here). If your health insurance is not valid in Germany, expect to pay between €80 (US$90) and €160 (US$180) per month to cover this.