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1October2015

Plan to study in Germany? Here’s what you should know

by Originally Published in The Hindustan Times Education Supplement

Lately Indian students have become attracted to studies in Germany. There are many reasons for the recent spike in interest, not the least of which are reports that higher education in German universities is free. While technically this is true, there is a lot more to the picture. If you’re thinking about studying in Germany, here is what you need to know.

As the third largest country in the world in terms of GDP and the largest country in Europe, there are lots of good reasons to study in Germany. Add to this a high quality and low cost of education and the option seems too good to ignore. These benefits have already been discovered by the 11,000 Indian students currently studying in Germany who make up the second largest cohort of students in the country. Public universities in Germany are indeed free of cost, while private colleges have a much lower price tag than other parts of the world (Germany on average between 7-18 lakhs per year in comparison to 25-37 Lakhs per year in the US). Germany also offers a relatively friendly post-degree work policy and does not limit the amount of time a foreign passport holder can stay on and work or search for work after completing their degree.  

 

However entry to German universities is no joke. For public universities the selectivity rate is about 5%. And to be competitive students enrolled in the IB curriculum are required to meet the usual IB diploma requirements, plus they must take either a science or math course at higher level and achieve a minimum score of 4 on all six exams. Students must also take a social science. For students studying in a national curriculum such as the CBSE or HSC, entrance exams must be given upon application.

 

Though public universities in Germany are free, very few of them offer courses where English is the medium of instruction. Also, for admission, a student must have completed study of German language, even if the course is in English (some Universities offer a German-preparation course for students who have not studied the language). Private universities do offer more English medium courses, but the cultural environment is still predominantly German so, non-German-speaking students may feel alienated from the context both socially and professionally if they are not proficient in the language. On the plus side, however German universities do offer career placement services. And some new, innovative programs, such as Macromedia University incorporate company projects and internships into their curriculum, so graduates are guaranteed to have work experience once they complete their course.

 

The major drawbacks to higher education in Germany are the long visa processing time of three months and the fact that accommodation is not offered by most universities. This means students must plan ahead and also take on the burden of the logistics of settling down to study for 3-4 years in an unfamiliar country.

 

If you think you can tackle these hurdles, then take a close look at education in Germany. You just might find the right fit at the right price!  

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