A recent survey named Germany as the most attractive destination for international students. It is certainly a contender whether you want to do a full-time degree, or just get out to the continent on a year abroad. In this guide explore what it’s like to study in Germany and the recent changes that have taken place to make it an even better place to complete your degree.
Germany has a different university calendar from most other countries within the European Union and they enjoy very different holiday periods. While some may see this as a negative, it can prove beneficial for a number of reasons.
Courses in Germany begin in mid-October for the first semester and end in mid-February of the following year. A two-month holiday period is then granted, with examinations taking place in early February.
The second semester then begins in mid-April and ends in mid-July. Once again, two months of vacation are granted and the cycle continues.
An update on student status was modified in 2017, Students can now take a break from 6 months to one year while maintaining their student status. It was not possible in 2016, thus granting the possibility to validate the skills acquired as part of their commitment.
Introduction of tuition fees for university students
In 2016, there was no payment of tuition fees for international students, but this has been reintroduced to autumn 2017. Even though the promise was made not to introduce general fees, the Baden-Württemberg state government announced the reintroduction of tuition fees to international students.
Students from UK going to some German institutions like the University of Stuttgart and the University of Heidelberg, would have to pay fees of €1,500 (£1,256) per semester.
Students going in for a second degree would have a reduced fee of €650 (£544) per semester. It is likely that the introduction of tuition fees would extend across the rest of Germany soon.
Facilitated transport means
Under the impetus of Germany, scholarship on transport such as the BAYHOST budget increased by 40% compared to 2016.
39,305 German students were mobile thanks to improvements on the scholarship transport program in 2017, compared with 37,598 in 2016 and before.
The goal is to attain 600,000 beneficiaries of the program (university students) between 2017and 2020.
On the public transport side, some universities offer a subscription that facilitates transport for €30 to €100 per semester, depending on the city in 2017. In Cologne, the Semester ticket makes it possible to travel throughout the Land in 2017, including by train. For around €300 per semester, you can spend your weekends discovering the region with the person of your choice, which was not the case in 2016. The Cologne tram runs all night, thus making it possible to enjoy the student festivities on weekends.
Affordable accommodation prices
According to a survey of the German University Scholars (Deutsches Studentenwerk), a student spends an average of per month to lodge. The places in university residences are cheaper (214 €), but waiting lists are long.
In 2017, Germany observes a general €20 reduction on student lodging facilities regardless of it being a public one or private. This is done with the aim to increasing the market on German student accommodation.