Germany is known for research and development. Not only does its industry embody pathbreaking technology but its universities (especially TU9 which are parallel to America’s Ivy League varsities) are the proud alma maters of Wendelin Wiedeking (CEO of Porsche), Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nation, Carl Benz (founder of Mercedes) and Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel motor.
Bernd Kraus, executive director of Freshman Institute, Aachen University of Applied Sciences, talks to HT Horizons about the scope and career opportunities for aspiring engineers in Germany.
Why should one go and study in Germany, and more particularly at Aachen University?
Cost of living is one of the cheapest in Europe, which is around Rs 4 lakh per annum. German companies and universities are known all over world for their technological innovation and research. And education is available at very affordable price because it is state-funded for both domestic and international students.
Students have to spend huge money (Euro 16000) in freshman year before three year’s graduation starts and the fee for the remaining three years is quite low (Euro 1300 per annum). Why is there such a huge gap?
Freshman year’s education is not funded by the government. The university has to raise funds on its own for that. In the freshman year, students are trained in German so that they can grasp the lectures given in German language during last two years of graduation.
Why are international students taught in German, and not in English?
There are certain programmes which are taught only in English (such as business administration) and some of them are taught in both English and German (such as electrical and mechanical engineering), while a few are taught completely in German. It depends on the student what he chooses to do.
The programmes which are taught in both the languages entail first year’s study (subsequent to freshman year) in English and rest of the two years in German language. We want students to understand German technology in the local language.
But don’t you think it deters international students from studying in a foreign language?
No, it works to their favour. If you wish to work in a German company anywhere in the world, including India, then you will be given preference because you know both the languages. It makes you better than the technocrats who know only English. We get a fair number of international students. Currently, we have 30 per cent of them. Out of 2,500 students studying at Julich campus, around 800 are of foreign origin.
Does the university assure accommodation to international students in the campus?
We don’t have campus system in Germany. The university is spread across the town, housed in different buildings. Accommodation is mostly provided by the private parties. But it is normally located in close proximity to the university building.
Are there any opportunities for students to stay back?
One is free to stay for a year after the completion of graduation and one can look for a job during that period.
Can students also do part-time jobs during their stay as students?
They can do it, but we don’t help them find part-time jobs. If they do so, there are chances that they will take longer time to finish studies. We always discourage students from doing part-time jobs.