1. Why choose Germany?
Well, for starters, you’ll get first-class education and a formal degree to show for it, that is recognized all over the world.
On top of that, the guiding principle of the German higher education being ‘The Unity of Teaching and Research’ (also the cornerstone of what is referred to as the ‘dual education system’), there is strong emphasis on ‘apprenticeship’ and hands-on involvement on the part of the student, in both the practical application of a large part of what gets learned theoretically and in researching novel ways of problem-solving (at many universities and ‘Fachhochschulen’ access to cutting-edge research facilities is available).
Finally, Germany is an important country and culture, so every international student stands to benefit greatly from familiarity with it (to say nothing of the ton of fun they are certain to have in the process).
2. What are the “Fachhochschulen,” and in what way are they different from a University?
Let’s first mention what they have in common: they both lead to Bachelors and Masters degrees (or their equivalents in Germany). However, ‘Fachhochschulen’ do not award Ph.D. titles; in order to earn a Ph.D. a postgraduate course at a university has to be attended.
Universities of Applied Sciences (a.k.a. ‘Fachhochschulen’) are so conceived as to maximize the practical utilization of theoretical knowledge; they are suitable for candidates who have no intention of pursuing academic careers, but are rather interested in the acquisition of as much practical experience as possible. Hence, the vast majority of degree programs taught in them are in the fields of engineering and hard sciences; programs in business administration get taught at ‘Fachhochschulen’ too, but to a lesser extent, whereas courses in humanities and social sciences are rarely offered.
3. Are there deadlines for direct enrollment?
The entrance application must be submitted by January 15 each year for the summer semester (beginning on April 1) and by July 15 for the winter semester (beginning on October 1). Students from outside Germany now have the opportunity to apply to several universities with only one set of documents through the Application Services for International Students (assist). assist will check that all necessary documents have been included and that they meet the necessary formal requirements, and will then forward them on to the respective universities.
4. Which are the best universities for my field of study?
Each year, the Center for Higher Education Development (CHE) publishes Germany’s most comprehensive ranking of higher education institutions. This multidimensional ranking uses up to 40 different indicators to provide a differentiated and detailed view of the strengths and weaknesses of German higher education by subject areas. This is complemented by a research ranking published every fall to provide specific information on the research contribution of German higher education institutions. On the CHE website you can find out what the top-ranked German universities are in every subject area.
5. Will my driver’s license be valid in Germany
As a general rule, the validity of foreign driver’s licenses is limited to six months. If, as a full-time student you claim residence in Germany, and after six months your driver’s license expires, the only way for you to continue to drive legally would be to transfer your license. Whether the transferring of your license requires you to undergo the theoretical and driving tests administered by driving schools, depends on the country of issuance of your driver’s license (find out what regulations apply to your home country by contacting the local dept. of motor vehicles/driver’s licenses).
For the purpose of transferring your driver’s license in Germany you will need to produce the following:
- Your original driver’s license (has to still be valid),
- Passport-size photograph of you,
- Proof of residency in Germany and
- Your passport or ID card.
6. What kind of insurance do I need to matriculate at a university?
In Germany there are two kinds of health insurance, the public insurance and the private one. Without an insurance it is not possible for you to matriculate at a university. Up to the age of 30 years or until your 14thterm of study you normally have to be insured over a public insurance company. But you also have the possibility to exempt yourself from the public insurance company if you would like to be insured over a private insurance. For getting this exemption you will have to go directly to the public insurance company before you are going to matriculate yourself at the university. But please note, if you exempt yourself from the public insurance company you can´t be insured over them as long as you are a student.
7. Is it easy to travel around the country in Germany – how mobile can I expect to be?
It is fairly easy; although you don’t need a car to get around in Germany – owing to its outstanding public transportation network – driving on German autobahns is sheer pleasure. On the other hand, the ICE high-speed trains, Deutsche Bahn AG, the suburban S-Bahn network, tram and subway lines cover together the entire territory of Germany.
Domestic flights between all major cities are also available and are increasingly being used. Buss and taxi services are also readily available. For those who enjoy cycling, special cycling lanes and suitable places for parking are widespread.