Say "Guten Tag" to Germany and "Auf Wiedersehen" to Boring Education!
Original content kindly provided by DAAD
(Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst)
Edited by Megan Rothman
Published July 26, 2010
More than just incredible beers, sauerkraut and Mercedes Benz, Germany offers more than 13,500 degree programs at 394 institutions across a country smaller than the state of Montana! More than 240,000 international students choose Germany for their educational needs.
Erwin Dwi Sautra
Nicholas Brown, a graduate of The University of Rochester, is pursuing an internationally recognized Master of Science degree in Renewable Energy at the University of Oldenburg because of the incredibly low tuition fees.
Lots of students are choosing Germany to further their education. Here’s why:
- Internationally recognized Bachelor, Master and Doctorate degree programs
- Financial aid in the forms of Grants and Loans from the DAAD
- Top-ranked degree programs from Architecture to Zoology
- A diverse, multi-national student body with more than 12% hailing from another country
- Leading researchers and highly-qualified professors
- More than 800 degree programs taught in English
- State-of-the-art classrooms, labs and facilities
And those are just the educational benefits! Don’t forget about the cultural things you’ll learn through first-hand experience. The food, the history, the people – you’ll be so completely immersed in German culture that you’ll be ordering weinerschnitzel
like a local in no time. Beyond that, there are anthropological reasons to select a German Masters education. As Erwin Dwi Sautra points out, he chose the University of Regensburg
because Germany “has the largest economy in Europe and arguably the most sophisticated social security system in the world.”
In a similar vein, Joanne Buenaventura, who studied at the University of GÖttingen
in 2008, said her time in Germany gave her “intimate knowledge and appreciation for Europe’s deeply historical and cultural political dynamics.”
Plus, leading companies around the world are clamoring to hire employees with international experience. Even if your ultimate goal is to pursue a career in the North America, spending a period studying or researching in Germany may turn out to be skeleton key that can help you unlock professional doors for the rest of your life.
Need more reasons to choose Germany?
Always wanted to be the center of attention? Germany is located in the center of Europe
! Often as little as €30 can get you on a train or plane to visit anywhere in Europe
in just a few hours! Julianna B. studied in Munich via Rochester College from August to December 2005 and said that the best part of being there was that Germany is very centrally located within Europe. “My travel destinations were all within a 9 hr train ride. And the subway/tram/bus system was clean, safe and on time. France and Italy were fun to visit,” she said, “but after being crammed like a sardine into a dirty train in Rome, I was happy to get back to clean, organized Germany.” You could spend the weekend in Paris, a Saturday night in Amsterdam or travel to Budapest. Don’t forget to explore the culinary gems in Italy and Greece, or hop the pond to Great Britain on a semester break.
HINT: Get an unlimited Euro rail pass and use the Student Help offices within the main train stations. They speak English and will book your train reservations to make sure you get to places on time and without paying extra money.
Higher education in Germany used to be nearly free. And by American standards, it still is. The DAAD only requires that international students prove they have at least 643 euros per month available to them, which equates to 7,716 euros per academic year. In Dollars and Cents? That’s $645.99 a month and $9,979.31 per academic year, a mere fraction of the amount one might pay for the same caliber education here in the States.
Plus, the DAAD offers educational grants to help. Helen Tauc first studied in Germany as a DAAD RISE Intern in 2007. Upon graduation, she received a DAAD grant to continue the research she had been doing as an intern. “My initial ten month project actually ended up turning into a Master/PhD project, which is what I am working on now. I am really happy with my experience at the University of Ulm,” she said. “ The science is progressive, and the international graduate program is insightful and provides a lots of opportunities for young scientists.”
From the Semesterticket, which allows you to travel for free on most public transportation in your state or region, to €3 meals in the university cafeteria, Germany is incredibly student friendly. Depending on the city you’re in, you can expect to pay €200-€400 a month for rent, leaving plenty of money left over to enjoy the cafes, bars and clubs that surround the universities. Students also get significant discounts on everything from theater and opera tickets to subsidized outings via student clubs. Don’t forget about the museums that house works of art and important artifacts of German and world history. Pay attention to your incredible surroundings, too. Julianna said she didn’t expect Germany to be so beautiful. “The Black Forest, Neuschwanstein, gorgeous public parks, stunning architecture, Alps; anywhere you are in Germany, you're no more than an hour from a great hike!"
Contrary to what pop culture would have you believe, not all Europeans hate Americans. Most American students who study in Germany say that the people they met were all wonderful and understanding of their limited German. Julianna came to realize that more Germans speak English, or are willing to speak English to foreign students, than in other countries. “I spoke a bit of German, and was learning more while there, but it's a complex language that is spoken very quickly, so sometimes English was needed.” Hannah M. studied at the Goethe Institute in Berlin and Eberhard Karls Universitaet in Tuebingen while at Northwestern University. “No matter what,” she said, “people speak English there. So it’s up to you to speak German if you aim to learn it.” Stephanie M., who studied at the University of Dortmund from April 2008 to July 2008, agreed. “Everyone I encountered, at least in Dortmund, was extremely nice and helpful and very understanding when it came to speaking to me in German. When people corrected my language they weren’t rude or snippy.”
Many students choose to start their German education at the Goethe Institute
, learning the language for a month or two before venturing out to start their chosen degree program.
Pursue a degree in Germany and start building your international network. Go where your interests lie and find a degree program that not only suits your career goals, but also your lifestyle. If you want a quintessentially “German” place, it’s better to go to the smaller towns. But places like Berlin and Hamburg are more fast-paced and may suit you better.
As Hannah said, “My best advice is to have an open mind. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and use your German, no matter how much you know or what level you’re at. Try everything, food and drink wise - the Germans have some great food! And have fun! Honestly it was the best experience of my life!”