What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying in Germany?

Advantages:

1. TOP QUALITY



German universities offer excellent teaching and research, ranking among the best in the world. You will earn an internationally renowned degree, giving you excellent prospects on the global labour market.

2. GEARED TO PRACTICE

German universities provide outstanding academic programmes, while universities of applied sciences offer a range of attractive, practice-oriented options. Many study programmes combine theory and practice. This will greatly facilitate your career start.

3. POTENTIAL UNLOCKED

In Germany, you can make the most of yourself. Here you can develop your intellectual abilities and personal skills freely and reach your full potential. If you are out to achieve great things, you will find determination, motivation and commitment open many doors – both during your studies and after your studies.

4. SAFE COUNTRY

In comparison with other countries, Germany is a safe country. In town or in the countryside, by day or by night, you can move around freely here. Germany offers economic and political stability, which makes it an ideal place for you to study.

5. DIVERSITY

Discover the beauty and diversity Germany has to offer! When you take time off from your studies, there are 1001 ways of finding out more about your host country. For example, you can go to a museum, a cinema or a theatre, you can sit in a beer garden, you can go for a walk on a beach, you can swim in a lake, climb a mountain or visit an old castle.

6. COST OF LIVING :AROUND 850 EUROS A MONTH FOR LIVING EXPENSES

Compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Germany is quite reasonable. The prices for food, accommodation, clothing, cultural events, etc. are basically in line with the EU average. You will need around 850 euros a month to cover your living expenses. The largest expense is your monthly rent.

You should expect to pay the following expenses during your stay in Germany:

  • living expenses (rent, food, clothing, books,telephone, …)
  • semester contribution
  • health insurance
  • possible tuition fees

Students require around 850 euros per month to cover the cost of living in Germany. In large cities, costs can vary considerably depending on where you live. You should plan on spending more on living and studying in Munich than in Leipzig, for example. As a rule, students can live on less money in smaller cities than in larger ones. Naturally, the amount of money you need will ultimately depend on how economically you live.

Disadvantages:

I studied abroad in Germany for one semester during my Bachelor’s and then came back to Germany to complete my entire Master’s degree. And while I write a lot about all the great things about studying abroad in Germany, I think it’s important that I tell you the not-so-great things as well.

1. BUREAUCRACY
The stereotypes of the rule-abiding Germans and the redundancy of German bureaucracy are true. From registering with the city to registering for exams, you will probably spend a good amount of your time in Germany running around from office to office until you finally catch the right person during their unpredictable and infrequent office hours.

Tip: Save all of your emails (office workers tend to “forget” or “lose” things), triple-check your deadlines, keep a calendar with all of your important deadlines

2. NO STUDENT FACILITIES
Especially if you are going to a public university in Germany, you should not expect to have a variety of student resources available (for free) on campus. This means no high-tech computer lab, no super-modern student center, no team of personal counselors. Also, the resources thatare available will likely cost you. For example, a student membership to the on-campus gym at my university costs about 20€ per month.

Tip: Join a student organization and enjoy your university campus for what it is – a place of learning and research.

3. LEARNING GERMAN
I don’t care if your study program is in English – you need to learn German. Even if you are living in a big student city, getting through your day-to-day will come with a lot of uncertainty and confusion if you think you can get by on English alone. So, if you have absolutely no interest in taking a German course, stay home.



Now don’t get me wrong – you do not need to be fluent in German before coming to Germany. Germans are incredibly accommodating, and most young people do speak English. However, if you are planning on staying for a while, enroll in a German course (which will often be provided for free by your university).

Tip: Don’t be lazy! Just take a German course.

4. EXAMS
Depending on the system you are used to, the German grading/exam system can be quite confusing/aggravating. First of all, most classes base the grade for the entire course on the final exam/term paper. It’s stressful, and it means that the final exam period at the end of each semester is a very intense time for all the students on campus.

Another big difference that I noticed between the U.S. and German university systems was registering for exams. If you are registered for a course in the U.S., then you are automatically registered for the required exams. Not in Germany! You need to enroll in a course, then half-way though the semester, you need to enroll for the exam. Being the only foreigner in my degree program, I, of course, forgot to enroll for an exam during my first semester…

Tip: Read the exam regulations (Prüfungsordnung) at the beginning of the semester, and take every word to heart. Trust me, you do not want to have to deal with the dreaded Prüfungsamt later.

5. COURSE STRUCTURE

If most of this list could be wrapped up in one sentence it would be this: Do not study in Germany if you are not independent and disciplined. This especially goes for the courses themselves, which are usually structured much differently than university courses in the U.S.

Compared to the U.S., Germans spend much less time in class and much more time doing independent study. This means that you will have to be independent in structuring your time efficiently and disciplined about doing the outside reading, studying, and research.

Tip: Keep up on your reading and studying throughout the semester! Otherwise, you will end up cramming hardcore at the end of the semester as you study for exams that make up 100% of your grade and that you know nothing about.

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