Is It Hard to Study Abroad in Germany?
Germany is a popular study abroad destination for students from all over the world. Many students have questions about studying in Germany. This article will show some of the common challenges you may experience while studying in Germany.
It is not hard to study in Germany depending on the school or course of study. Some programs are straightforward while others can be pretty testing and some schools can be more expensive than others. However, studying in Germany can be done without unbearable challenges. This means that with the right resource and information, you can make your study in Germany easy and possible.
Finding ease in your study in Germany will depend on different factors which include the type of university you choose and the city or region in which you study or live. Different people find their programs and school easy while others don’t. You want to choose a straightforward program to find ease in your studies.
However, if you are interested in difficult programs, you should prepare for them and bring your best so that things don’t take you by surprise.
How easy you find your studies in Germany also depends on the level of degree you want and how well you can balance your academic workload and social life. Some students find it hard to achieve this balance so one aspect affects the other. You should be able to find this balance while studying at any level.
Let’s take a look at some information about studying in Germany such as the educational standard, cultural differences, and how you can overcome these challenges regardless of where you are coming from.
Germany is a country with a standard educational system different from other European countries. To study in Germany, you need to have certain qualities and educational background which I will point out in this section.
To begin undergraduate studies in Germany as an international student, you need to have your education certified as comparable with the German education standard. There is an authority set up to conduct this so you can have your certificate approved or disapproved depending on the results.
If your qualification does not match the German standard, you will be required to take additional courses before the commencement of your bachelor’s program or diploma in Germany.
There are many English-taught programs in German schools so you need to prove your proficiency in English. While applying to German schools, most programs will require that you submit either meet their English proficiency requirement by submitting your English proficiency results especially if they are English courses.
You can take IELTS or TOEFL to prove this and you can also take other proficiency exams depending on the requirement of your school or the program
To enroll for Master’s studies in Germany, you should have an internationally recognized bachelor’s degree that has lasted for at least 3 years.
The degree should be officially recognized by your state and can either be public or private. For your doctorate programs such as your Ph.D., you must either have completed a German master’s degree or your previous degree needs to be recognized and accepted by the German academic authorities.
German higher institutions are one of the most universally recognized and highly regarded schools in the world and so their education system can be demanding but attainable.
When you arrive in Germany for your studies as an international student, you will meet and experience a different culture from what you are used to in your home country especially if you are coming from a country outside Europe.
This new and different culture and way of life is usually the western culture so you may need to keep an open mind when leaving your home country.
Germans are serious-minded people but also friendly. They put important things first and get right into it before other things. They know how to relax and have a good time but they prioritize doing things with more value over those with lesser value.
Germans are always willing to help especially if you are new. They are not new to having international students around so they are used to this already. They understand that you are in a new environment and are happy to help you get around.
Even though In Germany, citizens speak German, you will find a handful of people that speak English so you won’t find it hard to communicate. If you live in the popular and big cities, you can survive with English unlike if you live in the smaller cities where people communicate in local languages.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t survive in Germany without being able to converse in German. There are lots of international students who have settled in Germany so you will find a good number of people speaking English.
Another important thing that Germans respect is punctuality. They keep to time and expect others to do the same. If you want to get on the good side of people in German society or in your school, you should try your best to be punctual.
There is barely any dress code for students in Germany. However, during winter, everyone’s wearing jackets and lots of clothing which invites people to flaunt.
You would do good to dress professionally for certain events like fairs and presentations.
Cost of living/Financial barrier
You need to have at least €10,332 in your account before you can be issued a student visa or residence permit. This should serve as a guide in determining your living costs in Germany. This shows that living expenses in Germany will be around this amount.
When you apply to a program in a German school, like in most countries, you are required to have enough money in a blocked account to cover your living expenses.
To show proof of financial stability, you need to have €10,332 in your block account to cover your living costs over a year as required by the German government. And you are limited to withdrawing just €861 each month till your studies in Germany are over.
Your living expenses include things such as your accommodation, feeding, and others. With €800-€1000, you can cover your living costs in Germany including transportation and personal expenses.
Accommodation is often the highest expense that you have to take care of as an international student in a new country especially if you don’t have friends or relatives that you can stay with. You may want to start cutting expenses down from your rent so it can positively affect the rest of your living costs.
You can get accommodation in school halls for about €300-€350 and €400-€500 per room in shared houses. It is advisable to avoid expensive cities such as Munich and Frankfurt as accommodation can go up to €700 per room.
It is not expensive to get food in Germany as food is incredibly cheap there. You can get a liter of milk for less than €1 in Germany. Basic foodstuffs are between €1-€10 which means that you can budget up to €40-€50 weekly to get your groceries and basic food needs.
This is an estimate for students who don’t eat out as opposed to those who eat out frequently. Eating out can cost you about €10 per day. You can also get a decent meal for as low as $10 if you decide to eat out sometimes. However, cooking at home can help you save much more than eating out so you can get groceries and make food at home.
For transportation, you can budget around €100-€120 per month for transportation as a one-way ticket usually costs about €3 in Germany. You can also cut transportation costs by getting accommodation in school dormitories or on-campus lodging.
This way, you won’t have to take buses or trains since you only have to walk a few minutes to the school. However, you will need transportation to go to other places that are not close to the school.
Best Practices While Studying in Germany.
Now that you have enough information about studying in Germany, let’s take a look at some of the best practices that can help you get the best from living in Germany.
- You should keep an open mind while studying and living in Germany. To make the best out of your stay in Germany, stay open-minded and expect things to be done differently than you were used to. When you keep an open mind, you will not experience too much culture shock and you will be able to embrace the German culture with ease.
- Another way to make things easy for you while living and studying in Germany is to make German friends or friends from your country who are now used to the German culture so they can hint you on how to behave. You can also stay observant by watching them and from continuous interaction with them, you will be able to catch up fast.
- You can also try to live in your school’s hall of residence as there will be many students like yourself in there and you’ll be able to relate freely with time.
- Seeking counseling from the school is also a good way to get by. The school understands that you are new and are always welcoming to new or international students who need help.
- Watching more German shows or movies before coming to Germany can help. You get to see how things are done and how people behave and react to certain things.
- Ask questions and be polite. When you are not sure about what to do or say, you are free to ask people and they’ll be happy to help.
Many international students studying in Germany have been able to blend in the society and culture so you can do so too by following these guidelines and staying positive.