International education has become a popular choice among students, especially those coming from developing and under-developed countries. Such education opens doors to international exposure, better educational and research facilities, placement opportunities, and reputation to flaunt.
There are many countries which have emerged as favorites of international applicants. One of them is Germany. Germany has been one of the top destinations for international higher education for a long time, and the interest of people towards it is only growing stronger. However, it is not as straightforward as we think it may be when it comes to going to Germany and studying over there.
Before you decide to study in Germany, there are a few things you must keep in mind. These things provide you the actual picture of how higher education has been institutionalized and operationalized in the country.
To make your life simple, I have enumerated 5 things which you should know beforehand in this regard.
- Free Tuition Fee Is Not Without Limitations
If you are interested in studying abroad, you must have known that tuition fee is generally free in Germany. However, we do not know the whole picture.
There are limitations for availing the benefits. For example, the tuition fee is free only if you apply to select programs in public universities. You will have to agree to the same conditions under which the natives will study. You may consider private institutions, which are quite good, but they are costly.
So, when someone says Germany is free education, give them a nice explanation.
- Learn German
There are degree programs which offer courses in English, but the number is not quite high. Germany speaks German, and while you can accommodate yourself within the societies of bigger cities without knowing much German, you may not be able to do that in smaller German cities.
It is highly recommended that you learn German, especially if you are looking forward to finding a job in the German market. Yes, the language is not easy to learn, but you cannot get anything without giving something in return—so work hard.
Also, keep in mind that there are multiple dialects within Germany so you may want to acquaint yourself with the dialect of the region where you want to study.
- Attendance is Not strictly enforced
In Germany, attendance is not mandatory in most of the universities. There are, however, a few universities which may insist on a certain attendance requirement.
Tempting it may sound, you should know that the way universities in Germany are operated, you would not have the heart to miss classes unnecessarily. German Universities do not spoon-feed students and can have a rigorous curriculum. Missing classes would cost you a lot, so avoid missing them as much as possible.
Not every Germany University offers accommodation facilities. Those which do provide them are usually meant for single-person accommodation. If you want to live in one of those, check with the university where you have got admission.
Alternatively, you can consider living with the locals. In Germany, this is called Wohngemeinschaft which is basically sharing of a flat. Living with Germans will help you understand the local culture, language and help you in socializing which is very important in a foreign country. It is to be noted, however, that finding a flat partner may take time so it is advised you start searching before you go to the country.
- A Lot of Paperwork
There is a lot of paperwork stored in for you, especially if you are a non-EU student. You will have to go to the foreigners’ office every now and then to make the necessary submissions.
There is one thing, which you should know about German bureaucracy—red-tapism is as much as anywhere else in the world. You will have to ensure that you do not give in to the regular snags and keep trying until you get your work done. Do not give the officials any reason to say “come tomorrow” and you can do so by keeping prepared all documents beforehand. Double-check them before you leave for the office.
In case you are coming from a developing country, be prepared for an arduous struggle to get your paperwork done.
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