Study in Germany as an international student

Maybe you ask yourself, whether you need to speak German to study in Germany as an international student, how much does it cost and what would your experience be like. You are at the right place, so let’s explore that!

In Germany, I am in the first year of Erasmus Mundus Global Studies programme at Leipzig University. As part of this programme, we are required to study at least at two different universities, I am this year in Leipzig and the next one I will spend at the University of Gent. To understand better how is it to study in Germany, Veronika from Travel Geekery will also share her experience with you. In other words, stay tuned!

Photo from the Winter School in Austrian Payerbach with my colleagues from all around the World

Do I have to speak German to study in Germany?

German universities offer these days more and more study programs in English for international students. Therefore, you don’t need to speak German but bear in mind that your choices will be limited. Here you can filter study programs available in English at German universities. I have already written about how good your English should be and how to improve your academic writing in English before. If you are interested in studying an international program such as Erasmus Mundus, you can check a list of these programs.

How much does it cost to study in Germany?

Great news! Most universities in Germany are completely free and that also counts for studying in English. The only thing you have to pay is usually Semesterbeitrag (a small fee paid every semester), which is different uni by uni. For this fee which is usually between 150-300 EUR, you usually get public transportation in the city or even region for free, your student card, access to libraries and other student discounts. Paid programs are rather an exception in Germany, for example, my Erasmus Mundus, the price could then be in thousands of euros per year. Fortunately, you can get many scholarships (eg. from DAAD) or you can find a student job, for that usually some knowledge of German is essential. This income up to 450 EUR/month is not taxed for students. The pay per hour is usually between 9-12 EUR.

Living costs in Germany

The living costs in Germany really vary. For example in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt or Thuringia, you can survive monthly (food and accommodation and other necessities) with less than 600 EUR. Should you choose to study in Munich, Stuttgart or Dusseldorf, 600 EUR will barely cover the price of your accommodation.

Fortunately, you have an option to live in the dormitories. Usually you have a room for yourself, sometimes also private bathroom or/and kitchen. In Leipzig, such a studio dorm costs approx. 250 EUR including all fees. On top of that, you can get your meals in Mensa (canteen) for 2-4 EUR.

Studies in Berlin (Veronika Primm)

I studied part of my Master’s in Berlin, at the Hochshule für Wirtschaft und Recht (HWR), i.e. College of Business and Law. The program I studied was Chinese-European Economics and Business Studies, or CEEBS for short. It included a year in Berlin, a semester in a partner University in China (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics SWUFE in Chengdu, Sichuan Province) and we could choose whether we’d like to spend our last semester in Berlin or China.

This Master’s program was new; we were only the second group who took it. That meant there were a few organizational challenges, but overall, it was a high-quality study program. My classmates were from China (10 of them) and all over from Europe (5), and we had a Canadian too. We went through the 2 years together, splitting only for the last semester depending on where we chose to finish our studies. The studies were all in English and quite challenging, especially in Berlin, where a high amount of reading was required every week. Tests, presentations and team projects were a regular thing too.

It gave us a good jump-start to our professional career.

Veronika Primm, Travel Geekery

The program was paid and cost a few thousand euros per year. It’s been 10 years now, so that may have changed. Upon successful completion, we all got a title of MA from the German University and an unofficial Master of International Business from the Chinese University.

Is it worth it to study in Germany?

Yes! If you are thinking about studying in Germany or anywhere else abroad, go for it! Experience from abroad is not only valuable in your CV, but also an amazing experience. You will improve foreign languages, make friends all around the world, truly grow as a person and importantly, on the weekends and holidays, you get to travel! And it can feel as if you are permanently on holidays! Btw. do you know that you can already go while at high school? For example with AFS where Míša volunteers.

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