Germany draws loads of international students every year with its reputation for high quality and low costs. If you’re looking to do an exchange or degree program here, there are a few things you should know first.
The German higher education system stands out with the wide range of different kinds of higher education institutions that it offers. Many universities are focused on research and you can also enrol in specialised institutions that offer programmes in a certain field, like education or arts.
1.Tuition fees in Germany:
Most of the states in Germany do not charge any tuition fees to EU as well as non-EU students. Students usually just pay a semester fee of around 40 – 60 EUR that often includes a public transport ticket for the region or even the whole state. Additionally, the semester fee covers parts of the administration costs of your university as well as social contributions to the Student.
2.University entrance qualification:
To qualify for admission to studies at a German higher education institution you must prove that you hold a higher education entrance qualification with which you can be admitted to higher education in your home country.
- Firstly, this would be a secondary school leaving certificate (for example, High School Diploma, Gaokao, Matura, A-Levels, Bachillerato).
- You might also have to deliver proof that you have successfully taken a university entrance exam. To be able to study in Germany, your school leaving certificate must be recognised as equivalent to the German higher education entrance qualification .
3.Applicants from EU and EEA countries:
If your school leaving certificate entitles you to study in your home country, this is also accepted when you apply for a study place in Germany.The International Office or the student registration office at your chosen university will check whether your higher education entrance qualification enables you for a successful admission. If your certificate is not recognised as equivalent, you must take an assessment test. If you are from a non-EU country you should also check out German student visa requirements depending on your nationality.
4.German/English language proficiency:
Before you can take up a course of studies at a German university, you normally have to prove that your German language skills are good enough for studying. The most common German language tests are:
- “Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber” (DSH)
- “Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache” (TestDaF).
- You can only sit the DSH at your German university.
- TestDaF can be taken at many test centres located in Germany and abroad.
Other language certificates are also accepted, but you will first have to check with your chosen university.You can attend German language courses parallel to your normal studies once the academic year begins. Universities in Germany organise special German language courses for international students.
If you apply to an English-taught degree, unless you come from an English speaking country, you will have to prove your English language proficiency. Accepted English language tests are:
Selection procedures for international students:
Assessment International is a form of student advice that aims to support students worldwide in their decision to study in Germany. You can ask to find out more about the requirements and standards of degree programmes in technical subjects.Some universities have special academic subject-specific qualifications or require letters of motivation.
5.The immigrant struggle is real:
Unless you are an EU citizen, expect to spend a decent amount of time dealing with the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners’ office). If you are from the United States and have been accepted into a university program, the visa application should go fairly smoothly, and those who complete a degree in Germany are eligible for an extension of up to 18 months to stay and look for a job.
Still, be prepared for unexpected snags and understand that your starry-eyed dreams are of no interest to anybody within German bureaucracy. You are responsible for getting your act together and navigating the various hurdles of obtaining health insurance, demonstrating financial independence, finding an apartment, registering yourself at the Bürgeramt (local administrative office), scheduling a visa appointment, and having all your documents organized.
6. Speaking German helps immensely:
Sure, in the larger German cities you can get by without knowing the native language, and some degree programs are even available in English. Nonetheless, essentially every aspect of your life abroad will be easier with functional language skills, from dealing with government employees to making local friends. If you decide to stay to work, fluency will give you a crucial advantage in the job market. German is a lovely language and relatively easy for native English speakers.