German universities have a quite good network with universities all over the world. Every year thousands of students have the opportunity to go abroad and spend some time in a different country, studying and living. This should be the same way for international students. Because of this, German universities and technical colleges try to provide enough university places for international students and they also make efforts to support them in many other questions concerning the time abroad.
But what is it that makes Germany that special and what can it offer to the students from all over the world? The Federal Republic of Germany proportionally is a quite small country but its history as well as its actual role in the world is something special. It is not only in Europe that Germany has an important position but it is also an important international trading partner and player, concerning political and economic questions.
German employees from different fields and disciplines are in great demand all over the world and have realistic chances to get a job in an international company in many different countries. Germany itself is also a good and attractive country to work there later.
These opportunities exist due to the good German educational system.
The universities and the obtained graduate degree are well-known all over the world and show the future employer that the student had a firm basic education and also got further knowledge. At German universities the practical part of the studies has an important part to play. Internships have to be done in many programs of study and every professor recommends doing one. The big industry and especially the large cities provide many opportunities for these internships. One can absolve them in the most different kinds of disciplines and companies.
Depending on which area in Germany one decides to study, there are numerous activities and journeys to do and go in the free time or on holidays. During this traveling one can see the different areas of the country and all its faces. With more time and a larger amount of money one can also start travelling Europe from Germany. The country gives the perfect start for this trip and one is able to see a lot of countries during the time abroad.
In Germany there are the sea and beaches of the Nord- and Ostsee, cultural and historic interesting towns or buildings and winter sports areas in the south. There will definitely be no boring time during the studies in Germany.
Studying in Germany has changed during the process of Bologna and the changes resulted in the Bachelor and Master system. The first graduate degree obtained is called Bachelor. After this there is the possibility to continue with a deepening or additional Master program. Both are independent and accepted graduates.
The large focus on research projects is also a reason for the good reputation of German universities. The state provides money for the research projects and this enables the student to do their own projects and learn in an actual real-life situation.
The study programs are furthermore considered as more difficult than the ones in other countries but this has a positive impact on the reputation.
With a semester abroad or a German graduate degree one has a very good chance for the future and with some more own initiative one can work all over the world.
Furthermore, studying in Germany not only provides interesting topics but also numerous free time activities and many travel opportunities. It is really worth, getting to know this country in the heart of Europe.
The educational system of Germany is underlying to continuous changes and reforms. Main point in the last years was the reorganization of the Gymnasium. The nine year education was changed into an eight year education to get the Abitur. Furthermore, the academic system had changed because of the Bologna reform. The degrees obtained are now called Bachelor and Master.
Studying in Germany requires the graduate degree Abitur or the advanced technical college entrance qualification. International students have to show a similar graduate degree. Until now it was not possible to build a central organization for application and award of university places. Because of this the applications still need to be sent to every university or advanced technical college.
The admission requirements are also defined by the universities. Therefore, they can be different for the same subjects at different universities. In Germany there are three different kinds of advanced colleges or universities. Arts, film or music advanced colleges offer practical education in the artistic subjects. Advanced technical colleges however, cover the scientific and social subjects. They also set value on practical experiences in their education. The third category is the so called university. They offer all different kinds of subjects. Practical experience is an important point as well but the universities are especially famous for their firm theoretical education.
Another differentiation can be made between public and private universities. Public universities are financed by the government and do not charge tuition fees or just small amounts of money. Private universities in contrast are financed by the fees paid by students and these can be quite expensive. In Germany can be found much more public universities than there are private ones. German law says that education should be offered to everyone and everyone should be able to afford adequate education. Therefore, in some areas tuition fees were abolished in other areas they are very small. Moreover, there are numerous possibilities to get help from the government, for example Bafög-money.
The studies in Germany are in some aspects more theoretical than in other countries and they consist of many lectures from the professor. In the lecture there are all students of one year and there are just a few exercise lessons in which the theoretical part can be practiced and proofed in reality. At the end of every term the students get grades for their final examination and for speeches, assignments and practical projects. Depending on the subject the composition of these parts can differ. Practical education can also be offered in internships which are an obligation in some subjects. For some weeks or months the students have to work in a company and use their theoretical knowledge in real life situations to gain experience. This is also a good chance to find a job for the working life after university. The graduate degrees from university are accepted and estimated worldwide. The education at German universities is considered as a good one. The first graduate degree can be obtained after six to eight terms and is called Bachelor.
Afterwards it is followed by the Master degree after another two to four terms. Both degrees require passing the exams and writing a specific graduate thesis. For the subjects medicine, dentistry, law and pharmaceutics as well as the teaching degree another degree is required which is called Staatsexamen. After the Master degree students can also do their graduation to get their doctor’s degree. Academic education in Germany should give firm basic knowledge and theoretical background as well as specific details and practical application. After successful studies the alumni should be able to work successful in every part of the working environment.
International students who want to study in Germany need to know about the German grading system for two reasons.
First, one needs to translate the school certificate or report into the German grades for the application to the German university. Second, it is important to understand the grades one achieves during his or her studies for other applications and to pass the exams.
There are two different grading systems in Germany. The first one contains grades from one to six. One means very good, six means very poor. If one achieves only the grade four or worse he or she didn’t pass the exam. This system is mainly used in Germany. It is used in school from the first year till year ten and it is also used at advanced colleges and universities. Smaller steps in the grading system can be shown in decimal numbers.
The full translation of grades is:
1.0 Very Good
6.0 Very Poor
In the last years of Gymnasium, which means year 11 to year 13 in the old way and year 10 to year 12 after the reform of G8 there is another grading system. This system gives points from 0 to 15 and is used because in the exams of the Abitur there are points to show the final grade. Because it is easier to calculate the final degree the system is introduced earlier. This grading system is also the basic system for the application for university. But the points can also be expressed in grades from the first system.
15 Better than very good
14 Very Good
00 Very Poor
To get the average degree for the Abitur the points of all exams in the last years and the points from the final exams are summarized. The points from the final exams are worth more than the other ones. The solution can then be calculated as average grade.
To apply for a place at university it is necessary for German students to have the number of points. For international students who have a different grading system it is possible to “translate” their grades. The necessary documents can be found on the webpages of the German university.
Exams at German universities are evaluated after the first graduate degree (one to six). But thanks to the Bologna-reform and the changing to Bachelor and Master system there is a third characteristic. For every lecture or exercise with a passed exam at university the students get so called ECTS-points (European Credit Transfer System). These points are summarized at the end of the studies and put together with the final thesis and the average of all grades. Allocating these one gets his or her final degree.
This sounds really complicated at the beginning but as soon as one is in the system and gets own grades it isn’t that hard anymore.
Deciding to study abroad includes also to know what costs might be included and different to those who would exist when studying at home. Depending on where you come from the costs in Germany can be higher or cheaper than in your home country. It is also important to know that costs like those for the health insurance or for traveling home can arise.
Tuition fees in Germany are quite cheap when combined with other countries. Most universities and technical colleges are financed by the state and just a small amount is financed by the students. In Germany every state can decide if tuition fees are necessary or if they can be dismissed. The federal states Bayern, Hamburg and Niedersachsen do charge tuition fees which are about 500 Euros, which is quite cheap. The other federal states do not charge tuition fees but some have special regulations concerning long-time students or a second degree.
All students have to pay another amount of money called the semester fee. With this fee the administration costs for the own person are paid and cafeterias, residential homes or sport facilities are financed. In most cases with these fees one also gets a semester ticket that can be used for bus or train in the area. The semester fee is about 150 to 250 Euros.
To study at a private university or technical college is much more expensive because these are financed only by tuition fees. The fees for these universities can be up to 20.000 Euros per year.
Additionally, there are costs for a health insurance which is necessary in Germany and the normal living costs. Renting costs can differ a lot depending on where and how one wants to live. In the big industrial and university cities the rent can be quite expensive because there is not much space for all the people. For German students it is therefore normal to share a flat with other people and make an apartment-sharing community to lower the costs for everyone. Another cheap opportunity is the residential homes from the university. These are always strongly demanded and it is therefore important to apply for a place early. Costs for the rent are in residential homes 200 – 400 Euros, in apartment-sharing communities about 300 – 500 Euros and for a single apartment from 400 Euro upwards, these amounts can differ from town to town.
In addition to the rent there are also costs for food, books, copies, telephone, internet, clothing, free-time and many more. Combined with other countries Germany has EU-average costs in this area. How much money is needed depends on many coefficients. One can calculate with about 200 – 300 Euros.
To finance all these things it is important to know early enough what budget one has and what are the other alternatives.
A student-job in Germany cannot always be done by international students. First there have to be checked the rules and regulations for one’s home country. But then a student-job can be a good way to improve the budget. Job offers can be received from university as well.
Another opportunity is to apply for scholarships. It can either be a scholarship from one’s home country or a scholarship from Germany. In Germany there are different foundations and organizations that help international students. The scholarships from the DAAD ( German Academic Exchange Service ) are always good and on the webpage can be found a list of all scholarships to search and find the best one. For students from Europe there is also the possibility to get scholarships from the ERASMUS-program. It makes sense in every case to apply for a scholarship. Even if they just pay for a small part of the costs it can be a big help.
It is also that important to get the information about how to finance the studies early because in Germany there is needed a proof of financing. This proof is very important because it is needed for the application, for the visa and for the residence permit. There has to be a proof that one has 8.000 Euros per year from different sources.
The finance is a very important part that should not be underestimated and about which ne should think early if wanting to study abroad.
The question “And what does this cost?” is one of the first questions one is asking or is being asked by parents when their children want to study abroad. Not only a whole degree abroad but also a single term can include costs that wouldn’t be there in the home country.
The first point of the costing is the tuition fee. In Germany these are quite low compared to other countries and at some universities there are no fees. Most German universities are financed by the state and government and just a small amount of their money comes from tuition fees. How much has to be paid depends on the location of the university. Every federal state can decide on its own, if it has enough money to abolish tuition fees or if it needs additional fees. The federal states Bayern, Hamburg, Niedersachsen and Nordrhein-Westfalen still charge tuition fees. These are obligatory for most students and account about 500 Euros per semester. All other federal states do not charge tuition fees or just fees for long-time students and for a second degree.
Those who want to study at a private university have to calculate with much higher tuition fees. The private universities are financed only from tuition fees and therefore these are much higher. It is possible, that students have to pay up to 20.000 Euros per year.
In addition to the tuition fees it is normal in Germany that there is another amount called the semester fee. This amount has to be paid by every student and covers administration costs and the finance of cafeterias, sports areas and residential homes. Furthermore, it includes the money for a semester bus ticket. At most universities it is possible to use the students-card as a ticket for bus and train in the area. The semester fee can differ from university to university and costs about 150 to 250 Euros.
The second big part besides the tuition fees are the living-costs. Germany is not much more expensive than other countries but one needs quite a lot of additional money when not living at the parent’s house. Living-costs in Germany differ a lot depending on the area. It is a big difference living in a big industrial or university-city or in a small town which is not that overloaded with people. Especially in the areas with high housing shortage the students form apartment-sharing communities and share the basic costs.
The apartment-sharing is a cheap alternative to the own apartment. Universities also provide residential homes for their students in which one can live cheaply. In most cases the kitchen is shared with other students and one has a small single room. Applying early for a place at the residential home raises the chance to get one of the strongly demanded places. Residential homes cost between 200 and 400 Euros, a room in an apartment-sharing community between 300 and 500 Euros. A single apartment can cost from 400 Euros upwards.
There are some more things that are needed to live besides a room. Starting with food and clothing, continuing with books for university and free-time activities these costs form another part in the costing. Depending on the subject one has to buy a lot of books or copy the lecture material, these costs can be about 50 Euros per semester. The money needed for food depends on every person. Is it enough to have the food from the cafeteria or do you want to cook wholefood products at your home? Additionally to the food there are free-time activities. It doesn’t matter if one prefers sport and has to pay for club memberships or if one likes to go out with friends and needs money for this. In total, it is a good way to look at the own lifestyle and calculate with about 200 Euros more.
Coming from a different country means that one wants to go home sometimes to see the family at Christmas or on holidays. For these travels there are more costs to be calculated, which can be quite expensive depending on the distance to the home country.
Everyone should calculate for his or her own needs and make a list what he or she needs to live. Just if the finance is secure it is possible to study in Germany.
There are many reasons why you should learn German language – below we highlight 15 of those reasons:
1. Germany is the world’s second-largest exporter. 2. The German economy ranks number one in Europe and number four worldwide. Its economy is comparable to that of all the world’s Spanish-speaking countries combined. 3. Germany is home to numerous international corporations. 4. Direct investment by Germany in the United States is over ten billion dollars.
1. German has the largest number of native speakers in the European Union (far more than English, Spanish, or French). 2. 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. 3. 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.
4. Germans are world leaders in engineering. 5. German and English are similar. Many words in German sound and/or look the same as equivalent English words, because the two languages share the same “grandparent.” For example, look at these words:
Haus = house, Buch = book, Finger = finger, Hand = hand,
Name = name, Mutter = mother, schwimmen = to swim,
singen = to sing, kommen = to come, blau = blue, alt = old,
windig = windy. 6. 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.
1. German is the language of Goethe, Marx, Nietzsche, and Kafka, of Mann, Brecht, and Grass. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Schubert, Schumann, Wagner, Mahler, and Schoenberg spoke and wrote German, as did Freud, Weber, Einstein, and Heisenberg, Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger. 2. German is the second most commonly used scientific language in the world. 3. 18% of the world’s books are published in German, and relatively few of these ever appear in English translation. 4. 68% of all Japanese students study German. What do they know that you don’t? 5. 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.
You should get a student visa if you are planning to study in Germany. If you have been accepted at German University then it is advisable you apply for a student visa in person for at least 3 months in advance before going to Germany.
All your documents and application will be send to the Immigration Office (Ausländeramt) where you will study. After the application gets approved by the Immigration Office the consulate will issue you a residence permit in the form of visa. You are required to register upon your first arrival in Germany.
Completed application form
Valid Passport (read our page on passport requirements)
2 photographs (strict requirements, read our photo requirements page)
Letter of Admission
Transcript of academic record
Proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while living in Germany
Declaration of authenticity of documents submitted
You will also need to provide photocopies of all these documents, get proper insurance and pay a fee of 60 Euros for the visa.
Where and how to apply?
You should apply at your home country’s German Embassy. Except for rare instances you have to submit the application along with the required documents in person. It is recommended you apply for a visa very well in advance before your departure because the application of student visas can take up to 25 days to be processed.
Paying your visa
Applicants have to pay the visa fees by a bank transfer. Student visa as of 2008 is 60 Euro. Cheques or credit cards are not accepted. The money order must be in the name of the Consulate in your home country and not older than two months.
Please be aware that you will not get reimburse the visa fee if your application for a student visa gets rejected.
Please note that we assist you with paper work at all steps, however we cannot assist you with any form of funding arrangement or obtaining of bank loan.
My Smart Education (MSE) was established in 2012 as a brand new international initiative to make a difference in the lives of aspiring students and youngsters. MSE started its first office in Hyderabad (India), the fourth most populous city of South India. MORE