Our study abroad destination series aims to help prospective international students choose wisely. We look to cover various destinations in different parts of the world, from the Middle East to Down Under, and leading names across North America, Asia, and Europe. This week, we will take you to the heart of the EU and one of the cheapest study abroad destinations in the world. You guessed it right, we’ll highlight Germany!
It comes as no surprise that the country ranks among the top names in the international education domain and has thousands of foreign students seeking to apply for higher education here every year. Apart from a long and rich history and a vibrant lifestyle, it offers everything an international student may look for, and the best part is that it comes on a budget. Here are some valid reasons to add Germany to your wish list.
Believe it or not, you can study at a German university for free. Surprising as it sounds, the country made public universities nearly free in 2014, abolishing tuition fees for domestic and international students. You can study at no cost or low cost even if you hail from a non-EU country. It comes as welcome news for study abroad aspirants running on a tight budget because the country gets your dreams within reach.
You may have to pay small administrative fees but still end up saving a fortune compared to other destinations like the UK, USA, and Australia. Apart from zero or low tuition fee costs in the country, you also have the advantage of a reasonable cost of living. You can easily cover the costs of food, housing, transport, and cultural activities in around 850 euros a month, which is not very expensive in comparison to some other European countries.
Even as you can study in Germany on a budget, quality is not a concern because many of the country’s universities feature among the global A-listers. There are more than 400 public higher education institutions here, among which there are more than a hundred universities. Many are among the oldest in Europe. The German universities offer a blend of high-quality education and a safe and friendly environment. Some of the best options you can explore here include:
Besides having a large number of universities, Germany also offers countless degree programmes to match diverse interests. Since it is an industrialized country, you can find several Engineering universities here. You can explore a wide range of courses in science as well. Moreover, the list of traditional programmes in universities here is growing phenomenally. Further, you can also find options in fields such as medicine and pharmacy.
Apart from offering diversity in programmes, German universities also focus on an advanced curriculum that takes a comprehensive approach to teach and research. You can rest assured about getting a globally recognized and valued degree that opens opportunities to work with the most reputed employers around the world.
Students hailing from a country that needs a student visa to study in Germany need to provide proof of financial means in addition to the necessary documents for visa approval. As of 2020, you will require €10,236 per year to cover living costs, and it has to be validated through a blocked account. Visa processing takes two weeks under normal circumstances, which isn’t a long time.
Admission requirements depend on the university you choose. You will need to have a recognized higher education qualification. If the certificate is not recognized in the country, you will have to attend Studienkolleg, a one-year preparatory course. Some universities may require international students from non-EU countries to appear for TestAS, an aptitude test. You may also have to fulfil some language requirements depending on the programme. For example, TestDaF or Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH) is a requirement for those planning to pursue a degree programme in German. Alternatively, you will have to provide IELTS or TOEFL scores if opting for a course taught in English.
As an international student, you are permitted to work part-time while studying in Germany. You can work for up to 20 hours per week, but also have the option to work for 120 full days of a year. The best part is that you can work without a formal qualification because there is an array of jobs available in the country. International students here pick jobs in roles such as tutors, bartenders, babysitters, and administrative staff, so there is no dearth of opportunities.
Even as Germany is far more affordable than other study-abroad destinations, you must not miss out on the chance of working while studying here. Apart from providing an income boost, it gives you foreign working experience which increases your future employability. You can adopt a better lifestyle and build connections while living independently and learning the value of discipline.
You also have the option to stay and work in Germany after graduating from a local university, but you need to plan in advance. Proficiency in the German language boosts your chances of finding work in the country. EU citizens can seek employment even without a work permit, while students from non-EU countries can apply for an extension of their residence permit for up to 18 months after graduating. But they have to find work relating to their education.
If you wish to stay in Germany after this period, you will have to apply for a residence permit or EU Blue Card. You can stay here even while the application is pending. The EU Blue Card makes you eligible to live and work in another EU state as well. You will need to fulfil specific criteria for annual income from your job to apply for the Blue Card. International students can also explore the option of permanent residence in Germany by applying for a settlement permit.
While quality education within a budget is the main reason that makes international students land in Germany, you are bound to fall in love with the culture and lifestyle as well. Don’t be surprised if you wish to settle down and live in this incredible country even after completing your degree.