When students imagine studying abroad, likely a romantic vision of France, Spain, or Italy comes to mind, and for good reason. However, in recent years, Germany has gained popularity as one of the top study abroad destinations.
Thanks in part to its world prestige and open-minded, welcoming population, Germany demands serious consideration when deciding on your ideal international study experience, and here’s the list to prove it!
1. Take Advantage of the Almost Non-Existent Tuition Fees
Where can you attend university and pay almost nothing? Look no further!
Since 2014, Germany has made public universities nearly free by abolishing tuition fees for both domestic and international students, including international students from outside the EU. For students from countries like the United States where tuition fees are a huge concern, Germany is the perfect alternative as a study abroad destination.
Although students are still responsible for small administrative fees, the end total to study at a university might only be a few thousand compared to the tens of thousands many students expect to pay in other countries.
2. Enjoy a Low Cost of Living
However, tuition fees are only one aspect a prospective study abroad student must consider when trying to determine if they have the budget to fund their studies.
Luckily, compared to other international study destinations, Germany as a whole remains relatively cheap when it comes to cost of living. According to the consulting firm, Mercer, who publishes data on the cost of living in 200 countries around the world, the German cities of Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, and Frankfurt all dropped into the bottom 100 of the world’s most expensive cities. Only Munich placed in the top 100 at spot 98.
Astoundingly, Berlin ranked in at spot 120, making it one of the cheapest European capitals!
3. Participate in One of the Many International Programs
As long as you have an academic proficiency of the English language, there will be programs to suit any interest.
Numerous German universities offer prestigious degree programs in business, sciences, and humanities, entirely in English. So, why not consider studying web development in Berlin or design thinking in Munich?
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is another great resource geared towards recruiting international students to German universities. There you can find extensive information meant to make transferring your studies to Germany as easy as possible.
4. Benefit from an Economic Powerhouse
Germany continues to be the driving force behind the European Union’s economy. As a leading economic power, it’s not hard to imagine that opportunities are abound to find work.
If companies such as BMW, Siemens, Adidas, or Bosch sound familiar, then you’ve already been introduced to the excellence that German industry has to offer.
Although Germany has very specific rules about international students working during their studies, many universities offer competitive internships and work experience that make students very marketable post-graduation. On top of that, Germany also offers international students with visas a generous 18-month extension after the conclusion of their program if they are interested in finding work and staying in Germany permanently.
5. Learn One of Europe’s Most Dynamic Languages
Perhaps you’ve been looking for the motivation to finally commit to learning a new language, or maybe you just want to improve the skills you learned in the classroom. Either way, living and studying abroad in Germany will be the perfect chance to solidify your German language skills.
For students wanting to learn German from native speakers, there are websites like Lingoda that offer 24/7 online classes for a small fee.
Why should you learn German? Although many Germans can communicate with international students using English, your experience is bound to be more personal if you’re able to communicate with the citizens of your host country in their native language.
Furthermore, from a practical standpoint, German is one of the official European Union languages, as well as the corporate language of most German companies. Therefore, you increase your post-graduate employability both in and outside of Germany by learning German. Additionally, many Germans have made huge strides in the arts and sciences, making German an admirable skill if you plan to study chemistry, physics, literature, or music, among other subjects, as well.
6. Immerse Yourself into a Remarkable Culture
With landscapes and lifestyles as diverse as its population, Germany offers a unique and multifaceted opportunity to immerse yourself in German culture in your own unique way.
Whether you prefer to settle in a more urban or rural environment, Germany offers something exciting for anyone to experience. Check out the pulsing nightlife of Berlin, the picturesque villages of the Black Forest, the art scene in Dresden, or the beer halls of Bavaria.
Therefore, you can mix and match your immersive German experience to get the most out of your time studying abroad.
7. Try All the Food and Drink Germany Has to Offer
No study abroad experience in Germany is complete without fully diving into the food culture.
No matter what your preference, Germany’s distinct food and beverage options are guaranteed to impress.
To start, Germany offers over 1,000 different kinds of sausages and 1,500 varieties of beers to choose from. Or, if instead you’re a fan of currywurst, schnitzel, pretzels, spätzle, black forest cake, or lebkuchen, you’ll be just as happy.
8. Experience Germany’s History Firsthand
No matter where you’re from, you are likely to recognize the important place Germany has in world history.
From World War II to the Cold War, Germany has been the stage for some of the most important conflicts in the 21st century. Throughout Germany, you will find reminders of the past everywhere in the form of monuments and memorials.
For example, many segments of the Berlin Wall still exist for visitors to get their own sense of the imposing wall that once divided the city.
9. Soak in the Arts
Germany is known as the land of “poets and thinkers,” and it couldn’t be more true. As proof, take the long list of artistic German minds, from Goethe to Beethoven to Kant. The long tradition of appreciation of the arts can still be seen today in the countless art exhibitions, museums, and concert venues which are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
Take, for example, the East Side Gallery, a large section of the Berlin Wall that has been covered by world-famous street art.
As an international student, you will often be granted discounts on admissions, so a study abroad experience in Germany will be the perfect way to enhance your knowledge on some of the finest artists in the world.
10. Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Travel
No matter where you choose to study abroad, you will likely want to travel as much as possible. Bordering nine different countries, Germany is the ideal study abroad destination to explore almost the entirety of Europe.
On top of having so many neighbors, public transportation is extensive throughout Germany. You can easily take advantage of one of the world’s most efficient train systems and see all that Germany has to offer. But it doesn’t stop there.
Germany is also connected to Europe and the rest of the world by bus, boat, and airplane. Plus, as a student, you are eligible for student discounts on most forms of transportation.