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What is it like to study in Germany for foreign students?

Is it your dream to study in a destination that is connected to all major European cities? Is a culturally and historically rich European country your preferred location for studying abroad? Then get ready to don your dirndl skirt and hike the Bavarian Alps, as it sounds like you are destined to study in Germany!



Germany enjoys a beautifully strategic location where the effects of contemporary history have been witnessed first-hand.  Germany is also known for its instructional and Western approach to education.  With a large pool of high-tech communities and options, international students opting to study in Germany undergo a rich and fulfilling experience.

So what is it really like to study in Germany for international students?


Here are some aspects that foreign students studying in Germany are likely to experience:

  • No tuition fees!

Yes, 16 Germany states nullified tuition fees for undergraduate students studying in public universities. Foreign students studying in Germany as well as domestic students only have to pay the administration and other miscellaneous costs per semester. Imagine receiving quality education for free!  That is quite an experience to take away. However, an international student interested to study in Germany must make haste. In 2017, the state of Baden-Württemberg reintroduced fees for students other than EU residents. Other states may follow suit-so we think foreign students must make the decision to study in Germany today!

  • Steep Living Expenses

While a foreign student can study for a nominal fee, accommodation costs are unavoidable!  Some areas in Germany, such a Munich, have considerably high living costs (roughly $14,000) each year. The cost of study in Germany thus goes up if you consider living expenses, especially in prime areas. While a number of German universities offer housing for students, you will have a much better life if you join the flatshare options- termed as Wohngemeinschaft or WG. With this option you can end up living in a larger apartment and get to nest with local German students-thus improving your social life. Living with locals can also help you in improving your German skills. Why, you might even learn where to find the best Spreewaldhof around you!

  • Programs Available in English

A major daunting factor that students may consider is the knowledge of a native language when opting to study abroad. For instance, when considering study abroad in Germany, one might be led to believe that as German is widely spoken and preferred; a foreign student must perfect their German skills. However, a number of German universities offer 100% English-taught courses. So if your German skills are not yet up to the mark, worry not. You can still apply for appropriate courses in Germany.

  • You can’t be a Workaholic!

Foreign students looking to obtain a work visa while studying in Germany may come across some limitations. Student work permits allow 240 half days or 190 full days of work per year.  Some foreign students who might be looking to work more hours have to adapt to the provided working hours. However, a number of top German universities follow a practice-oriented approach, and you can find out more about approaches of different programs in German universities.  You can opt for programs that offer placements, collaborations with leading companies, etc. which will benefit you in getting established in the job market.  A leading course pursued by international students are Engineering in Germany and MBA in Germany– the most pursued course!

  • No Activities vs. New Activities

This is a hindrance faced mostly in small towns. International students from city areas and not accustomed to living in small towns may find the social scene lacking. This might also lead to language barriers (know 5 secrets to overcome them!) which could be a major deterrent for foreign students studying in Germany.  To rectify this, you have two options-one is to simply move to a bigger German town/city. The other is to adopt the German way and become outdoorsy! You can try hiking, explore castles that look like they are straight out of a Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale, or take a swim in beautiful lakes and ponds that pepper the country!

  • No Spoon Feeding

German universities will not hold your hand and over-stuff you with freebies or support to ensure you are happy in your campus bubble! It is your prerogative to figure things out, put in your best, attend classes without backing up on someone to keep track of your attendance, and study. Other than this, Germans are highly professional, punctual, and immensely respect your privacy. Best to brush up on German etiquette before you land in Deutschland.

So here’s to getting ready to becoming more responsible, independent, and outdoorsy by opting to study in Germany! We are sure that as a foreign student, your study in Germany experience will be extremely rewarding.

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About Manmita G

Manmita Gondhali is a content developer, closet poet, bathroom pop-singer, and a fierce animal lover. When not chasing street cats and trying to pet them, you will find her lounging with a book in one hand and a freshly brewed coffee in another. Or going grammar Nazi on any and every content she finds. She cannot draw to save her life, but is recently hooked to doodling. She hopes to own a cottage in the mountains with at least 5 dogs and 13 cats by the time she stops working full-time.

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