An upside of German-education is its practice-orientation. Many universities require students to do an internship as part of their programme or do research in industry. Social sciences and engineering students have to compulsorily take up work or industrial placements as part of the curriculum. Certain programmes like International Business Administration are open to only those applicants who have completed a pre-study internship.
German institutions offer more than 300 international degree programmes, particularly in areas like Engineering, natural and computer sciences and Economics, delivered partly or entirely in English. And the education comes at a competitive cost.
According to the German Academic Exchange Service's figures, the international students' contingent in Germany numbered at 260,000 in 2007-08. The ranks of Indians, however, has slightly swelled and slimmed again — to 4,000 in 2007-08. Germany had 4,249 Indian enrolees in 2004, 3,988 in 2005-06, and around 4,200 in 2000-07.
Hot for what?
Most Indians pick Engineering, Chemistry, Biosciences, Business Administration (MBA) and Nano-sciences to read in Germany. The popular subjects amongst international students in general are Business Administration, Law, German studies, Medicine and Engineering.
How to set the ball rolling
Session commences: the winter semester starts in October (major intake for all subjects and universities) and the summer semester in April — minor intake, only for limited subjects and universities.
When to apply: aspirants should start questing options by January-February and apply by March.
How to apply: apply online through a consortium of 104 universities, known as Uni-assist (earlier called ASSIST) (www.uni-assist.de). Applicants anyway need to send a printed application form to Uni-assist's Germany office. Uni-assist charges 55 euros as processing fee for an application to the first university and 15 euros extra for every additional institution. However, certain Uni-assist members do not accept applications via the association. For other institutions, apply directly to them.
Deadlines: for Indians who mostly wish to pursue international degree programmes (delivered throughout or partly in English) application deadlines are from March to May of the year in which enrolment is sought. You should, however, check the exact date with your selected university. Application processing time: the status of an application is usually communicated by June or July.
Application docket: applicants need to submit their university application form along with authenticated copies of
Curriculum Vitae (at times required)
A copy of your passport
SAT/ GRE/ GMAT score
Statement of Purpose, college essay or professional interest essay (some institutes require it)
Work experience certificates (if required)
Some institutions may also ask candidates to submit recommendation letters, which should be expressive in nature.
A German education aspirant should have a strong and impressive educational track record. His academic background should be related to the field of study he wishes to take up in Germany. You may send information on your extra-curricular activities too.
Standardised tests scores: a SAT score is required for entry to an undergraduate programme.
TOEFL or IELTS scores are also mandatory. Note that at present, German universities do not recognise Indian school-leaving certificates. To become eligible for an undergraduate programme, aspirants have to complete at least a year of studies in India or elsewhere.Universities offering postgraduate programmes in Engineering may ask for GRE scores. MBA hopefuls often require a GMAT score.
Tuition fees: fees range from 200 to 600 (Rs. 12,000-36,000) euros a semester in state-funded institutions (90 per cent of German universities are government-run).
Accommodation: putting up in government-subsidised student dormitories, costs less than private housing. Accommodation costs 150-250 euros a month.
Cost of living: living expenses, including living, food, study material, health insurance, clothing, and so on, may come to about 700 euros a month depending on a university's location.
Scholarships: universities have a limited number of scholarships, offered only to the most outstanding pupils. About 15 to 20 per cent of Indian students in Germany receive funding every year. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers help, but the funds are meant mostly for Ph.D. and post-doctoral studies.
Part-time jobs: without a work permit, students are allowed to work off-campus for up to 90 full days or 180 half days (four hours a day) a year. Many federal states, however, let students job only during the summer break. Remember that in case of non-EU students even unpaid non-compulsory internship is considered normal employment and thus each day of internship is deducted from the 90 full-days limit of permitted work duration.
Student visa: students need to show financial proof of about Rs 350,000 - 400,000 to secure a visa. The visa application fee is Rs 1,100. The visa processing time is two months.
Job opportunities: the new German Immigration Law, implemented on January 1, 2005, has to a great extent reduced the red tape, and made Germany more attractive both as a place to study and work. After the completion of their programme, graduates will be permitted to stay on for up to 12 months to search for suitable jobs. Once they find employment, they may get the visa converted into a work visa. Details about the new German Immigration Law are available at: daad.de/deutschland/en/ 126.96.36.199.html#7.