How to Study abroad in Germany (international students guide)
Are you an international student thinking about how to study abroad in Germany but you’re not sure, because you only speak English?
Don’t worry, here you will know some important guide on how to study abroad in Germany even if you only speak English.
Since the system has changed to the international Bachelor/Master system, many Germans now speak the English language even more amongst the younger generation.
As an international student, do not let your lack of German language skills hold you back from considering Germany as a destination for your semester abroad, as there are many perks to choosing this country as the destination for your studies abroad.
There are more than 2.5 million students enrolled in German universities and more than a quarter of a million of these are international students.
About 85 percent of these students arrange to study in Germany themselves while the remaining 15 percent come to Germany on exchange programs. Additionally, some 15 percent of TU9 top technological universities in Germany are international students.
In September 2014, all tuition fees for undergraduate courses at state universities were abolished for international students as well as German students.
The German government continues to invest large sums €2.4bn approved in the last two years alone – in its higher education institutions as part of its Excellence Initiative and has a focus on technology.
There are around 450 state-accredited universities in Germany, offering more than 17,500 programs, including more than 1,000 courses taught in English. Search for university courses in Germany here.
The academic year is divided into two semesters at German universities, generally from September/October to February/March and then March/April to August/September. Dates vary from university to university.
How to Study Abroad in Germany
There are more several things you need to know as an international students when considering Germany for your study. Students who want to enroll in German universities from international environment should take our guide on how to study abroad in Germany below:
Understand the Types of Universities In Germany
There are state-funded and private universities in Germany, including universities, universities of applied science, and colleges of art, film, and music. Some universities were founded back in the Middle Ages, while others were established after World War II.
The majority of universities in Germany are state-funded and the responsibility of individual states (länder). Most German students go to state universities.
About 5 percent of universities are private but recognized by the state and are usually universities of applied sciences, which have strong links with industry and an international focus.
A few universities are run by either the Protestant or Catholic church and usually specialize in specific subjects, like social work, education, and, obviously, theology.
Get Student Visas and Permits to Study in Germany
If you’re a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you don’t need a visa or German residence permit to live and study in Germany. However, if your stay will be longer than three months, you must register with your the registration office, Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt, in your area. Read more in our guide for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens moving to Germany.
If you’re from other country like Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea or the United States you can also go to Germany without a visa and register at the local Residents’ Registration Office and the Aliens’ Registration Office (Ausländeramt) to get a German residence permit after your arrival.
Students from other part of the world need visa and student permit to study in Germany.
Note: All students should be able to prove that they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their course, hold health insurance valid in Germany.
Know How to Apply to German University
You can apply for most courses directly through the universities or through the University Application Service for International Students (uni-assist) which is run by the German Student Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
If you want to apply to any of the 169 uni-assist member universities on this list you have to apply online through uni-assit.
Places are limited on some courses, such as medicine, dentistry and pharmacy and other life sciences, and you have to apply through the Foundation for Higher Education Admissions.
Always check procedures and deadlines with individual universities; as well as varying between different universities they can also vary between degree courses and whether or not you are from the EU/EEA/Switzerland.
Know Requirement to Study in Germany
If you hold either the German Arbitur or a European higher education entrance qualification that would allow you to enter university in your home country (e.g., British A Levels, European Baccalaureate) you can apply directly to a German university and start your degree.
You may need to prove you can speak German and there may be other requirements, depending on your country of origin. You can find out about special requirements for students from different countries on the uni-assist admissions database.
If you have qualifications from outside Europe, you may be asked to go on a one-year Studienkolleg course at a university, which focuses on different core subjects and ends in a Feststellungsprüfung assessment of your suitability for a degree course.
If you pass, you can then go on to study for a degree in that subject area anywhere in Germany. You can find out more about Studienkolleg courses here. Your qualifications also influence whether you can study any subject or only subjects in specific fields.
Some universities offer students who have been accepted onto a degree course a place on a preparatory course called a propädeutikum.
Usually lasting one semester, these courses prepare students for study in their chosen area in Germany and may include information on degree course content, German teaching methods, and language skills.
Get Language skills
Most undergraduate courses will be taught in German although there are some courses taught in English, and English-language Master’s courses are quite common especially in business-related subjects and social sciences.
Check the language requirements with the university before applying.
While very few universities will accept students with no prior knowledge of German, language requirements do vary from place to place. Some require only a small amount of German; others a lot. Some universities offer language courses for students but not all.
You may need to take a private language course to reach the standard before applying to your chosen university or take a pre-study language course lasting one semester and ending with a DSH exam (a DSH 2 certificate will allow you onto a degree course).
Understand the Cost of Studying in Germany
Since September 2014, tuition fees for undergraduates at state have been abolished, although some states charge fees, usually around €500 per semester, for long-term students, i.e., those who exceed the standard period of study by more than four semesters.
Master’s degrees are usually free for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree at a German university within the past two years, otherwise, they can cost around €2,000 per semester. PhDs are usually free.
Private universities continue to charge and set their own tuition fees for all students and can charge up to around €20,000 per year for undergraduates and €30,000 per year for Master’s degrees.
The Federal Student Financial Aid Program (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz or BAföG) offers grants and loans primarily to German and EU students but occasionally those from elsewhere.
You can ask the Student Services Organization (Studentenwerk) for help to apply. Every student in Germany also has to pay semester fees at the beginning of each semester.
These fees are for the student union, student administration and sometimes for tickets on local transport. The amount varies between universities but is typically between €100–250.
Know How to Get Student Accommodation in Germany
German universities do not automatically organize accommodation for students – it’s up to you to sort out. There will be university halls of residence in every university town.
Rooms will be cheap – around €240 per month – conveniently located and, as a result, in great demand. Around 40% of international students live in halls of residence.
You can look for a hall of residence here. You’ll need to apply as soon as you receive your notice of admission from the university. You can apply through the Student Services Organisation Studentenwerk.
If you don’t want to stay in a student residence you can rent a room in a shared apartment expect to pay around EUR 280 per month.
Look on university notice boards, through the Studentenwerk room exchange scheme or on the Internet:
- Search www.wg-gesucht.de,
- Search www.studenten-wg.de,
- Search www.wgfinden.de
- Search www.wg-cast.de.
For private apartments, check out www.immobilienscout24.de, www.immowelt.de and www.immonet.de.
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