German Universities have had a great allure for students from all over Europe (and beyond) for at least the last couple of centuries. But what is it that makes Germany that special and what can it offer to the students from all over the world?
The reasons for this upsurge in interest are not difficult to find:
The Global Importance of Germany
With its central location in the heart of the continent (it shares a border with nine different countries), Germany is the hub of Europe; to use a cliché: All roads lead through Germany. It is the economic and technological powerhouse of the united Europe, that is increasingly coming to occupy the place it justly deserves in the world political arena.
The Interactive Web of Academia, Research and Industry
German universities, dispersed all over the country, form a web of higher education institutions (numbering over 300) with the density unparalleled anywhere in the world. Conveniently located near focal points of interaction between industrial plants and scientific/technological research centers, these universities provide opportunities that seldom exist elsewhere for students: find employment upon graduation and live & work in the same city where they studied.
Academic standards at German universities are top-notch; not only are the renowned technical institutes, such as TU Darmstadt, RWTH Aachen, and others, ranked as some of the best in the world, but the study courses offered in a variety of other disciplines such as: medicine, law, social sciences, arts etc., are highly acclaimed internationally.
Funding of Research
The three preeminent funding sources for research projects at German universities are: German Government, the industrial sector, and the European Union; having this giant pool of funding to draw from, researchers from a wide variety of disciplines have virtually limitless possibilities to conduct research and come up with innovative solutions in their respective fields.
Availability of Courses in English and International Recognition of Credentials
Although the vast majority of courses offered by German universities are predominantly German taught, there are, due to a growing demand and a steady rise in the influx of foreign students, various universities that are switching to English taught courses, today numbering a total of over 350 university courses taught in English. These courses, offered across the spectrum of disciplines, are internationally recognized, a fact which lays to rest whatever concerns foreign students may have about the validity of their degrees earned in Germany.
No Tuition Fees and Living Costs
The vast majority of universities and colleges in Germany are state-financed, and as of October 2014 literally free of charge meaning that there are no tuition fees whatsoever charged in all public universities throughout the country. Just as in the past, higher education in Germany has become virtually free again– the tuition fees are entirely waived for all students regarding undergraduate studies.
In the last couple of years, some changes have taken place in this regard; a relatively low tuition fee has been charged (the amount, rarely exceeding €500 per semester, was set by respective Federal States) on the excuse of it being necessary to maintain the facilities and the general quality of services. However even with these tuition fees higher education was still significantly less expensive than in most other developed western countries, and with many student benefits and discounts available across the board, the total living costs for students in Germany can be kept well below €1000 per month.
In 2014 the decision has been made however; tuition fees for undergraduates have been waived making it even more affordable to pursuit a degree in Germany.
Good career prospects
Studying at a German university could be your first step towards a career in Germany. Because German companies are looking for university graduates in a variety of sectors – especially in the fields of engineering, medicine, the life sciences and information technology.
You are advised to build contacts with suitable companies – for example by means of an internship – during your course of study. With your German degree, you can score points with internationally operating companies, since by moving to Germany you have proven that you are flexible and keen to learn, and that you are at ease in an international environment.
Studying in Germany can also pay off financially. Just remember that salaries differ from sector to sector and the amount depends on different factors such as the need on the labour market for certain qualifications or professional experience. On average, university graduates aged between 25 and 30 earned a gross salary of 3,537 euros in 2010. Salaries usually rise the more professional experience you have, and so the 30-35 age category were earning an average gross salary of 4,768 euros a month. Students of mathematical and technical subjects, including information technology, have better salary prospects compared with the average for graduates.
High quality of life
Life in Germany is very good. If you study here, you will not only find Europe’s most dynamic economy. Germany is also a very safe country, with a high standard of living, a rich cultural history and a very diverse population.
The country also has an excellent infrastructure at the centre of Europe as well as numerous opportunities for recreational activities.
Also, at university you can do much more than just study: you can join a university sports club or theatre group, or engage in social or political activities. You can also go to university parties, music festivals, to the cinema or to night clubs with other students. You will soon make friends and through them get to know the country where you are studying even better.