25 Truths You Didn’t Know About Studying in Germany
Most likely, you already know tuition fee is free in most public German universities. But is that all to know about studying in a country that is among the world’s top study destination for international students? Are there things that you will find disappointing about studying in Germany?
After digging deeper we discovered that there are some truths about studying in Germany that most people don’t know about.
So today, you will read 25 truths you probably didn’t know about studying in Germany. This post is brought to you by After School Africa on Youtube. Be sure to click the subscribe button and turn on the notification to continue exploring opportunities.
1. Studying in Germany is hard
Unlike in some countries where you can get a good score on an exam by just remembering the textbook; in Germany, one needs to understand the course material in depth to get good score. Get ready to work hard and spend time understanding each course in depth, which will cut into your time for partying, and enjoying summer.
WATCH: How to Apply to Win DAAD Scholarship in Germany
2. You need a part-time Job
Despite the education is free, the cost of living is high in Germany. If you don’t come from a wealthy family or have no scholarship, you will have to find a part-time job to support your education. This will cost time and energy that can otherwise be dedicated to studying. However, many employers are flexible with students and often have no problem if you take a week or two off during your exam time.
3. They run pre-degree programs called ‘Studienkolleg’
If you are worried about not meeting the entry requirements for your course of choice, relax. The ‘Studienkolleg’ is a preparatory course for individuals who aim to study in a German university, but whose immediate qualifications do not fulfil the minimum admission requirements. It runs for a period of one year. After the program, you can then apply directly into your desired program.
4. Get ready for unusual education system
Most courses (with exception of Thesis, guided research, and seminars) are solely graded on basis exams. There is no project work, exercises, presentation, etc contributing towards your grade. Your exam takes the score. Many exams, especially in Master’s courses, are oral. If you are not used to oral exams back home, you may struggle.
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5. The burden of learning is on the student
The ratio of Professors and lecturers to students is very low. Hence, students have to organize their own studies. There is no one to hold your hand and lead you through the study course. The burden of learning is on students and not the university.
6. Course duration may exceed expectation
In case of bachelor’s or Masters study, it often takes a semester or two longer for many students to complete their coursework than what is advertised by the university. This can be an issue if you have restricted funding.
7. A second masters degree is not tuition free
If you already have a master’s degree and apply for a second master’s in Germany, it will be counted as “Zweitstudium”. This could mean that you may have to pay tuition fees in public universities as well.
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8. You do not have to apply to universities by yourself
In Germany, Uni-assist helps with all admission inquiries, preparations and applications for intending students. On behalf of German Universities, they perform preliminary evaluations of students’ documents and application packages. Afterwards, they can also help the students apply directly to their desired program.
9. There are many courses taught in English
Good news for those who don’t know any German or if your German isn’t good enough yet. Many courses and degree programmes are offered in English, especially at the master’s degree level. According to the DAAD website, there are 1471 courses that are completely taught in English
10. You need TOEFL or IELTS to qualify for English study programs
Language tests are required in most institution around the world where higher education is offered. Germany is not an exception: to study any of their English Language programs, as a non-native English speaker, you are required to demonstrate English language proficiency by presenting IELTS or TOEFL test scores.
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11. GRE may be required
GRE is usually an optional requirement in German universities. But some courses may have GRE as a compulsory requirement. In such cases, a GRE score above 300 is recommended. You have to check the course website to find out.
12. Extended work-study options are available!
Students are eligible to work part-time for a total of 120 full days in a year. But, there are conditions and requirements attached to this option. It is recommended that intending students check with the local authorities before applying for work opportunities.
13. Study scholarships are available
Tuition-free or not, there are still a number of scholarships that students can take advantage of to study their desired programs in German universities. Several postgraduate and research programs receive a lot of funding from the government, institutes and third-party donors, all of which intending students can benefit from. Visit www.afterschoolafrica.com to explore scholarship opportunities in Germany.
14. Without sufficient knowledge of German language, finding work is difficult
There are opportunities for work, no doubt; but there is also the language barrier to finding good jobs. For instance, while it is possible to come across potential employers who understand English language, they almost always prefer to hire people who can speak their native German language, for easy communication.
15. You may have to pay tax, even as a student!
Students who are working part-time, who earn over 450 Euros per month, are required to pay tax contributions. If the student’s yearly total gross income is less than 8,130 euros, the taxes paid throughout the year will be refunded upon filing tax returns.
16. Admission is competitive!
Admission into German universities is very competitive. One main factor that has contributed to this is the ‘tuition-free’ status that German universities have floated for quite some time. Globally, student debt from tuition is increasing, and many would naturally choose a place where they can obtain quality education at minimal cost.
17. Finding Accommodation can be frustrating
There are two kinds of accommodation you can get in Germany as a student. The student union’s hall of residence, which is more economical; and the more expensive private accommodation. Interestingly, only about 10 percent of students are able to stay at the hall of residence. Most students have to share flats.
18. From Germany, you can visit several other European Countries
With a visa to study in Germany, you are also eligible to visit other countries within the Schengen area. This will definitely help your learning experience, and boost your exposure in Europe.
19. You still get to pay some fees to Study in Germany
While you may not get to pay for tuition at public German universities, there are usually administration fees to pay. But they are usually very small; administration fees at German public universities would be about 170 to 300 euro.
20. Cost of living in Germany is high
Though you might end up at a tuition-free university, you will still need a substantial amount of money to cater for your needs during the course of your study. The estimated amount needed to cover for all student expenses is well over 800 euros per month, which translates to nearly 9,900 euros every year!
21. From 2020, international students will need €10,236 Euros to study in Germany
Starting from January 2020, all international students who want to study in Germany have to deposit at least 10,236 euros to a blocked account in order to get their student visa. A blocked account is a unique type of bank account designed for international students to be able to provide reliable evidence they possess necessary financial funds to study and live in Germany. It can be opened prior to one’s arrival in Germany but can only be accessible after the student registers at the local residence authority in Germany.
22. You need to have a thin skin to Survive
Germans do not like beating around the bush. They are very direct and it may sound rude at times. It is easy to feel uncomfortable with this kind of approach, especially if you come from a culture where euphemism helps communicate uncomfortable messages. If you can’t take this blunt and direct attitude, better not come to Germany.
23. The cold and gloomy weather can be crazy
While summers days are long and warm. The winter days are short and brutally cold. The temperature can go as low as -10°C and stay there for a while. There is on an average, only 119 days of sunshine every year across Germany. Let’s not mention the rain. It will come when you least expect it.
24. World-class education
German higher education is one of the best in the world! Whether it’s cars or education, people everywhere recognize “Made in Germany” as a seal of quality. You can benefit from Germany‘s long and famous university tradition especially in the fields of engineering and science. A German university degree is highly respected by employers around the world.
25. There are job Opportunities
Germany provides excellent jobs and Ph.D. opportunities. After completing your degree in Germany, you can stay in the country for up to 18 months to look for a job related to your qualification. According to a study, Germany is likely to face a shortage of 3 million skilled workers by 2030. This means more job opportunities after studying in Germany.
There you have it. Which of these things about studying in Germany do you find most interesting? Tell us in the comment section. If you are yet to subscribe to After School Africa, now is the time to subscribe. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!!