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Life As An International Student In Germany

studying abroad in Germany

Whether it is world politics or history, Germany has reared its head and made its mark. Its cities such as Berlin or Munich are very well known amongst almost all folks. But the best part is how widely spoken English language has become over the years hence if you are someone who is looking for internships abroad and do not really possess a mastery of the German language yet then you could opt for Germany easily without being scared of not being able to immerse in the culture. According to the statistical studies conducted in 2019, Germany has fast made its own prominent place as a great study abroad destination and is on par with other top choices for international studies looking for higher education abroad.

This was portrayed in them having completed early their target of achieving at least 350k international students in Germany by 2020. Germany is quite enthralling for students and some aspects of it are discussed here.

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Tuition fee was abolished across 16 states in Germany in the year 2014. Free tuition is available in almost all states in Germany and it still has some of the best undergraduate universities in Europe even though English is not the first language. Both international and local students can avail this opportunity to get high class education at any university in Germany all free of cost. German universities are on par with some of the best universities in the world be it British universities or America’s Ivy Leagues. They have a dual education system where not only academic and theory is taught but also research and hands-on practice of the learned principle is implemented in order to make better professionals out of these students. It says a lot that international students studying in Europe would rather toil over learning the German language than opt for any other university.

1.      Technische Universität München
2.      Humboldt University of Berlin
3.      Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
4.      Freie Universität Berlin
5.      University of Hamburg
6.      Heidelberg University
7.      University of Cologne
8.      Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
9.      Goethe University Frankfurt
10.  University of Bonn

University experience in Germany

If you are an international student in Germany and do not have a school diploma that allows you to adapt to a new degree on any study levels in Germany than you can take part in “Studienkolleg” which is a year preparation program that allows you to gain enough academic experience in order to later gain higher education in Germany.

It covers the education regarding the degree you plan to pursue as a foreign student in Germany and also helps with the learning of the German language. Passing this allows you to move on to higher education in Germany.

For international students who would like to partake into higher education in the English language there are plenty of options available as well. The student is allowed to take this English language based program while they get a better grasp of the German language through various courses offered during the program as well in order to hone in on their German language skills better. On all study levels be it undergraduate, postgraduate or doctorate. English language based programs are available to make your international student life in Germany all-the-more exciting and enlightening.

In order to take admission into the universities in Germany it is essential that international students have taken their IELTS or TOEFL exam beforehand. This however is not needed for those who are applying at post-graduate levels and had their undergraduate degree in English language.

There are several internship opportunities from startup businesses to arts provided by organization such as Corkscrew and Art Bound Initiative or you could design your own internship with Cultural Vistas that dabbles in some of the major enterprises such as automotive which Germany is very well known for or even Science and Technology.

There are many options for housing and accommodation available for international students in Germany and most students don’t prefer living on-campus. Other options such as shared housing are preferable options however the competition to acquire them is tough and hence it is advised that you look for accommodation before the beginning of your academic year. However, if you are choosing one of the smaller towns than housing while studying in the local universities won’t be such an issue and good apartments can be acquired by anyone.

Higher education in Germany for international students

Another interesting thing, although quite paradoxical of the rest of the German culture is that attendance is never an issue. Genuine interest in the academic course and a palpable presence during the classes and discussions are preferred above all the hustle to get perfect attendance.

Making friends while studying abroad in Germany is also something to consider as you will be spending plenty of time in the dorms or in your classes and it’s better to have a support system. You can either just choose to hang out with your classmates and house mates or you could partake in various activities that allow you to interact with local as well as international students with the benefit of having a shared interest.

Contrary to the popular belief Germans aren’t serious no-nonsense people and actually love to party. This is apparent by the number of music festivals and crocuses are available for everyone to enjoy especially during summers. There’s a summer festival that takes place yearly as well.

EEA students are free to take up any kind of job placements for part-time work while studying abroad and most rules and regulations apply to the non-EEA students. These restrictions being, work allowed for 90 whole days or 180 whole days over the course of a year. This will not require any documentation from the employment officials. However, if you plan to work more than this time period during your studies abroad then you have to put in a special request in the Federal Employment Agency. More than the allotted time of work hours can also be undertaken by those who have found job placements within the institute they are studying at.

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This requires appropriate documentation as well. Students undertaking language course in Germany can only work full time during their vacations. Foreign students in Germany who are also working while studying in Germany are exempted from the taxes if either their stay is less than 6 months long or if they don’t earn under €450/month.

The tuition fees might be abolished but the cost of accommodation and the rest is still there and some cities such as Munich are thought to be more expensive than others. However, cheaper and much more affordable options such as Leipzig are available as well. Groceries and monthly essentials don’t cost more than a 100EUR especially when you are with housemates who can share the costs with you.

Foreign student's life in Germany

It is generally advised to cook at home as eating out is quite expensive in German restaurants. Some of the daily costs are:

    • food – 168 €
    • clothes – 42 €
    • transport – 94 €
    • telephone, internet and TV license – 31 €
    • work/study materials – 20 €
    • leisure activities – 61 €
    • Milk (liter) – 0.69 €
    • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 1.25 €
    • Rice (1kg) – 1.70 €
    • Eggs (12) – 2.00 €
    • Local Cheese (1kg) – 8.00 €
    • Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless) (1kg) – 7.00 €
    • Apples (1kg) – 2.00 €
    • Oranges (1kg) – 2.00 €
    • Tomato (1kg) – 2.00 €
    • Potato (1kg) – 1.00 €
    • Lettuce (1 head) – 0.99 €
    • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 0.55 €
    • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 5.00 €
    • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 0.80 €
    • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 1.00 €

There are many scholarship opportunities available as well for both local and students in Germany. The German Academic Exchange Service, is one such funding body. They are not only offered to students studying in Germany on all levels but can also be availed by academics and research enthusiasts.

Germany has one of the finest public transport systems in the world, with their efficient and on-time services, making your international student life in Germany so much easier and hassle-free. These can not only be used for the daily commute but international students there who would like to get the full study abroad experience can use it for travelling and touring services as well as tickets are quite cheap.

Foreign students in Germany can avail discounts on tickets as well and touring places such as museums, theatres, clubs and musicals is sometimes even free or extremely cheap. There are many options for those who are interested in partying and different carnivals and film festivals are always around the corner for both the locals and the tourists to enjoy. Not only this but international student life in Germany is made better by universities themselves organizing parties for students on several occasions and different sports festivals are also there to enjoy and take part in.

International student experience in Germany

People studying abroad in Germany will find that it has a very strict set of rules and strongly adhered to as penalties for not following are tough. In the beginning they might prove tough to adjust to but it’s better in the long run if you get used to it as soon as possible.

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