Whether it be as part of an Erasmus or exchange program or to complete a doctorate, there’s a cornucopia of different courses to tickle your fancy. And when you take into account that the tuition fees in Germany are virtually non-existent, it soon becomes a no-brainer. That’s right - all university tuition is free for both national and international students at Germany’s highly ranked public universities. While the private universities may charge for their courses, this still remains a fairly insubstantial amount in comparison to the fees in other countries such as the U.S. or the UK. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) also offers some great scholarships for international students. But enough about the finances, here are some other reasons why you should take the plunge.
La Deutsche Vita
What to study
You may not have realised that Germany is one of the best countries in the world to study a STEM (Science, Technology Engineering or Maths) program. Many of the universities are considered some of the key players in these areas of research, given the large amount of investment they receive from the German government.
It’s also a pretty good place to study the arts too, with cultural icons such as Goethe, Beethoven, Kant and Heisenberg to inspire you, and there’s no doubt that having easy access to some of Europe’s best museums, libraries and music events will get those creative juices flowing.
While it’s very possible to get by without speaking much German as plenty of courses are taught in English, it’s definitely worth making the most of your time in Germany and getting your language skills up to scratch. Most universities offer free language courses for international students so you’ll be able to spreche Deutsch with the locals in no time.
German businesses also offer great concessions for students, so if you’re concerned about living costs at least you can be assured you can have a social life on the cheap. Students get discounted entry for almost everything; from cinema and theatre tickets to gym classes and club entry. Just remember to have your student I.D. on hand at all times.
Germany lies in the heart of mainland Europe and borders seven other countries, including France, Austria and the Czech Republic, so, with cheap rail travel, it’s the perfect place to go exploring from if you also fancy a few European weekend breaks from the books.
Finding a job
If you fancy raking in some extra cash to support your studies, you’re allowed to work up to 20 hours tax free and without a work permit if you come from another country in the EEA. All other international students can work up to 120 full days a year, or 240 half days, but must register with the Alien Registration Office in order to do so.
Before you go
Although course fees may be non-existent, you will still have to fund your food and accommodation costs. It can be quite difficult to take out a bank loan to support studies abroad, therefore you are currently advised to budget around 8,640 euros a year for all your living costs.
All EU residents and citizens from Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein can study in Germany without a visa. However, if you are in need of a student visa, you will have to prove you can support yourself financially. There are several ways you can provide proof of financial resources; the most common way is to deposit money into a blocked account.
It’s a legal requirement in Germany to prove that you have taken out health insurance before embarking on your studies. To learn more about how to get Proof of Student Health Insurance, check this article from Studying-in-Germany. If you come from a country within the EU, or one of the countries that Germany has social agreements with, (for more information on this check out the German Foreign Office's website), you should be able to register your insurance with a health insurer in Germany. It’s worth noting that in these circumstances you will also require an EHIC card to ensure that you remain covered.
If these rules don't apply to you, then you will need to prove that you have taken out separate health insurance to cover you during the entire length of your stay. If you’re only planning to spend a limited period of time in Germany, or would like to take advantage of being in the heart of Europe and do some travelling while you’re there, it may be worth considering taking out a specialised insurance package for expats. International health insurance companies like Cigna Global can tailor the package specifically to your needs, and you’ll still be covered whether you decide to go home, stay in Germany or move on elsewhere.
What are you waiting for?
So if you do plan to embark on a new adventure and take your further education further afield, Germany will be a great choice. With the option of lower higher education costs and the promise of a great quality of life, it’s easy to see why so many people are choosing to relocate. For more information about higher education requirements in Germany, just visit the embassy website. Viel Glück!