Part of mainland Europe, Germany offers itself perfectly for anybody wishing to study abroad in a top European destination. Boasting many universities within the World Rankings, Germany’s universities offer an unrivalled teaching expertise along with a reputation for superb research output. Renowned for their forward thinking and modern learning facilities, Germany’s higher education system makes it a great choice for anybody thinking of studying in Europe.
Germany is a welcoming nation, so you may find you won’t want to leave once you’re there anyway, and despite being slightly smaller than Japan, and much smaller than some other popular study abroad destinations such as the USA, it offers a wealth of cultural experiences.
Germany is also a great location to further your education if you already hold a degree, with the country offering many postgraduate opportunities, especially at doctoral level.
Bordering with France, Poland, Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Austria, it is also the ideal location for anyone wishing to explore whilst studying in Europe.
Germany’s higher education institutions are split into three main types; Universität (university), Fachhochschule (university of applied sciences) and Kunstschulen, Musikhochschulen, or Filmschulen (colleges of art, music, or film). Combined, they offer thousands of programs, meaning you can choose the course that best meets your aspirations. Whilst many of the institution types offer similar courses, their focuses are slightly different. Universitäts generally focus on research-driven programmes, whereas Fachhochschule offer a more practical approach to subjects.
Germany has the fourth largest GDP in the world, making it an excellent option for work opportunities too, both whilst studying and afterwards as a graduate, of course, this would depend on your visa status.
Germany also offers a wide range of unusual degrees, from Aerial Archaeology, which studies the history of the earth from a birdseye view, to Bionics, which teaches students to imitate nature as closely as possible, a field fusing technology, biology, and engineering.
Germany’s capital, Berlin, is one of the trendiest cities in Europe, and plays host to over twenty universities, offering a world-class education to anyone choosing to study there. With a population of over 80 million though, Germany has a lot more to offer than just it’s capital city. Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt are all favourites of international students looking for the best education in Europe.
Whilst the national language is German, there is no shortage of foreign languages that are being spoken across the country. English is widely spoken, especially across university campuses, and many courses are taught in English. Whilst the climate does change from the Northwestern and Coastal regions of the country as you head inland, the overall climate of Germany is moderate and tends not to have any long periods of cold or hot weather.
The top tourist attractions in Germany include:
Berlin Wall (Berlin)
Kölner Dom (Cologne)
Germany uses the Euro (€) for its currency. Germany is not an expensive European study destination, although the costs of studying and living in Germany do vary depending on what you choose to study, where you choose to live, and how much you plan on spending on luxuries. It will cost around €12,000 per year for an undergraduate student.
In many German cities, there are discounts available for students, especially international students, along with offers on many leisure activities.
Scholarships are available for study in Germany. DAAD maintains a comprehensive scholarship database that you can search through, although it is by no means exhaustive and it is worth looking elsewhere for other funding opportunities.
Many international students choose to work part-time in order to earn some extra money whilst studying. As an international student, you’ll be allowed to work a maximum of 120 full (or 240 half) days per year, although you can’t rely on this to see you through your study abroad experience, think of it more as a way of earning some extra spending money and funding those trips to Oktoberfest!
Depending on what country you’re from, you’ll most likely need a visa in order to study in Germany. You’ll need to make sure you apply for this in advance, as this can take a while to process and until you have it, you won’t be able to enter the country to start your course.
There are two main types of visas; Schengen-Visa and National Visa. Schengen-Visas are mainly issued for short-term visits, such as holidays or summer courses. The visa will allow you to be in Germany for no more than 3 months in a 6 month period. If you require to stay longer, which you most probably will if you are studying at undergraduate or higher level, you’ll need to gain a National Visa for German study. You will usually be required to have the following papers and documents and be able to present them to the German embassy or consulate in your country; a letter of admission from the university in Germany you plan to attend, your health insurance policy, proof of your academic achievements, proof of any German language skills you may have or of your plans to take a language course in Germany, proof that you have enough money to finance your studies and living.
You are able to study in Germany in either English or German. Many courses offer both choices, whilst others are restricted to one language only. If you choose to study in German, you’ll have to have good German language skills. International students will usually be required to have passed either the TestDaF or the DSH before being offered a place. You won’t need to pass either of these tests though if you choose to study in English. There are over 1,000 courses on offer in Germany that are taught in English, and this is growing all the time!
If you want to study in English in Germany, you’ll need to hold good English language skills. You will need to be able to prove this when you apply for your course by showing the results of an accepted English Language test. You will need a score of at least 6.0 IELTS or TOEFL 550 (Paper Based), 213 (Computer Based). Whilst other language tests may be accepted, it is best to check with your chosen institution before hand.
A city that confidently rivals London and New York in terms of trendiness, Berlin is the epitome of cool. A tolerant, diverse city, studying in Berlin is a great choice for any international student wishing to study in Europe. Situated near the German/Polish border, it offers a wide range of cultural and creative events to explore, Berlin can be a great place to study abroad in Germany. Along with it’s excellent culture and nightlife that help make the study abroad experience great, Berlin also boasts three universities that make the QS World University Rankings: Freie Universität Berlin (66, QS 2012), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (132, QS 2012) and Technische Universität Berlin (205, QS 2012).
Made famous by Oktoberfest, Munich is commonly associated with beer. Whilst the beer deserves a worthy mention, the city has much more to offer than just a drink, with two of the world’s best universities calling Munich home (Technische Universität München and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München). Located in the south of the country, it’s a hub for the German economy, which itself is a powerhouse throughout Europe and the rest of the world, and it’s just a stones throw away from the beautiful Bavarian countryside.
Famous for its university, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, which is Germany’s oldest, most prestigious, and highest ranked (53, QS 2012), Heidelberg is one of Germany’s most densely populated cities. Along with international students, it’s also popular with tourists, who are tempted in by the city’s rustic charm. The castle and red roofed town centre make for a beautiful backdrop for any study abroad experience.
The liberal city of Cologne boasts a plethora of art galleries, small boutiques and museums just waiting to be explored by culturally rich study abroad students. With excellent train links to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, studying in Cologne is a great choice for anyone who enjoys learning about new cultures, discovering new customs, and immersing themselves into different ways of life. For anybody wishing to study in Western Europe, Cologne offers great opportunities, with the Universität Köln, Germany’s largest university based in the city.
Frankfurt is the home of the European Central Bank, making the city central to not just the German economy, but also the whole of Europe. A city that is filled with skyscrapers, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d arrived in Manhattan, but Frankfurt also plays host to a number of other attractions suited perfectly to anybody wishing to study in Germany. With many festivals throughout the year, and great nightlife for students, studying in Frankfurt is a great option.
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