Overview

Germany is one of the most sought-after destinations for international education. This is because of its rich history and cultural heritage, top-notch educational system, and recognized research excellence. The country is safe and the environment is very friendly to all walks of life.

Germany

Germany or Bundesrepublik Deutschland is one of the largest in Europe. The capital is Berlin as it is the chief urban centre of the country. Other famous cities in Germany are Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart in which international students can find top universities and institutions.

Population: 83,783,942
GDP per capita: $3,806,073 million
Total area: 357, 104 sq km

Why Study in Germany?

Climate and Weather

One of the best things about Germany is its beautiful and pleasant climate. The country has warm summers and winters are usually cold but tolerable. Rainfall is expected throughout the year. The country’s terrain is full of hills and mountains that is why weather varies to different areas. There may be big weather differences among the cities, but the country enjoys a temperate climate from May to September. These are also the best months for travel and outdoor exploration.

Quality of Life

Germany ranks fourth in the top 10 countries with a high quality of life. This is based on the 2019 Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme. Factors considered were life expectancy, the number of years in school, and GNI per capita. Being in the top 10 in the world signifies a country with remarkably high overall human development.

Academic Excellence Ranking

Germany boasts world-class academic programs as many of its top institutions are part of the top 300 in the QS World University Rankings 2021. The top three institutions, Technische Universität München, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, made in the top 100 in the best universities in the world. International students who choose Germany will have many excellent options.

Safety and Security

Germany is one of the safest countries to live in the world. They have an impeccable police and security system. Crime statistics are low and about 72.5 percent of people say they feel safe walking home alone at night. Their homicide rate is one of the lowest in the world.

Students living in the university dorms also feel safe and secure as most universities have high-tech security systems installed.

Cultural Diversity

German universities and colleges are very open and welcoming of cultures from different parts of the world. International students will find it fairly easy to assimilate. The local population is quite diverse as well. Around 18 percent of immigrants in Germany come from Asia, 7 percent from America, Oceana, Australia; and 5 percent from Africa.

The official language is German with some minority languages such as Serbian, Danish, and Romani.

In academic institutions, there are German and English taught programmes for students to choose from. But it is highly recommended to take German language lessons before enrolling to the institution to have a better grasp of the German culture.

Recreational Activities

International students in Germany will find a great balance between studies and leisure. There are numerous museums, art galleries, and other cultural pursuits like theatre, music festivals, and the like.

Sports is also an option. Football is especially popular in Germany, like the rest of Europe. Students can watch professional sporting events in stadiums or join local clubs to play for.

There’s no shortage of places to visit in this beautiful country. Students can go on quick tours and getaways to explore more of what the country has to offer. The ease of transportation makes this possible. There is no dull moment when studying in Germany.

Application Process

Prerequisites

To study in Germany, one may need to get either a German student visa or a student residence permit. This will depend entirely on the citizenship of the student. Both the visa and residence permit will require the student to present proof of admission from their preferred German university.

Another prerequisite is the language proficiency test results. If your programme will be taught in German, you will need to submit any of the following: TestDAF, KCSE certificate from KNEC, or A1 certificate from the Goethe Institute. If your programme will be taught in English, you will need to take, pass, and submit your results for the IELTS or TOEFL.

There are different types of student visas that you must choose from depending on the length of the course you will be taking:

  • Student Applicant Visa
    • You are allowed to apply for this visa if you have not been accepted by a university and you wish to check out the campuses in Germany.
    • You may apply for a university while in Germany using this visa but you are not yet allowed to study if you are still using this visa.
    • Usually given a three-month validity period but may be extended up to six months depending on the discretion by German authorities.
  • Student Visa (Long-Term Visa)
    • This is given to those who were given admission by a university and is valid for three months.
    • You must apply for a residence permit to continue your studies in Germany after the three-month validity period of this visa ends.
  • Language Course Visa
    • If you will be studying for a German language course, you will be granted this visa, which may be valid for a maximum of one year depending on the length of your language course.
    • This cannot be converted to a student visa or change to a work permit.
For those students who are required to get a visa to study in Germany, you must prepare the additional documents that may be asked from you during the visa application process:
  • Completed application form, which you may download from the Videx website used by the federal republic of Germany
  • Valid passport
  • 2 photocopies of your passport
  • Birth certificate
  • 3 recent passport-style photographs
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of your financial means to cover your living expenses abroad via a blocked bank account
  • Evidence of your earlier education
  • Proof showing your accommodation arrangements that will cover your study period
  • Marriage certificate (if married)
  • Child’s certificate (if you have children)

For those who qualify for a student residence permit instead of a student visa, you must secure a few things before you are allowed to study in the country, including your accommodations.

While you are in the country, you will need to register with the local residents’ registration office and wait to be given a confirmation, which is called Meldebestätigung.

To register, you will need to bring the following documents: signed housing confirmation for the landlord, your passport, IDs, and a completed registration form (you can get a copy from the residents’ registration office). Below is a full list of requirements that you will need to prepare:

  • Passport
  • Confirmation from residents' registration office
  • Proof of your health insurance
  • Certificate of enrolment from your university
  • Proof of your financial means to cover your living expenses via a blocked bank account
  • Proof of any scholarship award (if any)
  • Health certificate
  • Contract agreement with your landlord
  • Biometric passport photos
  • Proof of language proficiency
  • Original certificates of your previous education

More information on a blocked bank account

Most students will need to open a blocked bank account in their home countries before they even apply for a student visa or a student residence permit. The purpose of this is to show that they will be able to fund their first year stay in Germany.

The account is required to have a minimum total amount of €10,332.00. The amount will be blocked until the student arrives in Germany.

The account will have a monthly maximum withdrawal limit of €861.00. However, if the student opts to put in a larger amount than the yearly requirement, then their monthly withdrawal limit will be increased based on the total amount that has been deposited into the account.

Though this is a requirement to study in Germany, there are some exceptions to the rule. If a student receives a scholarship from a university then they will not be required to open a blocked bank account. Also, if the student was able to get government funding or apply for a loan that would cover the living expenses, this requirement will not apply.

Finally, if there is a friend or relative living in Germany who assumes the responsibility of supporting the student financially during their study period in Germany, the blocked bank account requirement is waived. An invitation must be created by the friend or relative in person at an Alien’s Registration office in Germany.

Student Visa Application

The complete documents must be submitted to a German consulate or embassy in the student’s home country. You must pay for the visa application before setting up an interview. The processing usually takes 25 days. However, there are instances when it takes up to three months.

Student Residence Permit Application

Once you get a student visa for Germany, you can travel around the country freely within the three-month period allowed by your visa. However, same as those students who applied for a residence permit, you must follow the same process as mentioned above, within 90 days of the validity of your visa.

You need to register your address at the resident’s registration office. You must then set up an appointment with the Immigration Authorities nearest your residence. You will need to set an interview schedule and get an application form as well.

On the day of your interview, you must submit the application form together with the required documents (please follow the list needed to be submitted for a student residence permit shown above). A student residence permit may be valid for two years and can be extended depending on the length of your study.

Tuition and Expenses

Living in Germany is not as expensive compared to other European countries. However, you must still be ready to pay to live a relatively comfortable life while studying in the country. Here’s an idea of the average cost of tuition and living expenses in Germany.

  • Tuition fee

    • There are public universities that may not charge any tuition fees like the University of Stuttgart, University of Mannheim, University of Bremen, University of Cologne, and the University of Hamburg.
    • A German private university can have a yearly tuition that may reach up to €26,000.00.
    • Studying for a master's degree can have a yearly tuition that may reach up to €40,000.00.
  • Living and accommodations

    Expense Type Cost Euro (€) per year
    Rent (including utility costs) 3,876.00
    Food 2,016.00
    Clothing 504.00
    Transportation costs 1,128.00
    Health insurance, doctor's fees, medications 960.00
    Communication 372.00
    Working materials (books, etc...) 240.00
    Recreation, culture and sports 732.00
    TOTAL 9,828.00

Financial Assistance and Work Options

With a German student visa, you are allowed to work a maximum of 120 days a year. Studying is still the main focus of your stay in Germany and if you prefer to work instead of going to your study lessons, then your eligibility to stay in Germany may be terminated.

You are also allowed to apply for a residence permit to look for a job after you have graduated. You are given up to six months after graduation to look for a job.

There are many opportunities given by the government and private institutions for international students to continue their studies in Germany. By looking into the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) website one can check for the scholarships and grants that are still open.