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The whys and hows of the German study destination

education Updated: Jul 28, 2010 10:12 IST
Hindustan Times

Think Germany and what comes to the mind (after Paul, the octopus, post the FIFA World Cup)? World-class engineering to begin with, which is one of the reasons students and researchers from around the world flock to Germany. Deutschland had 3,516 Indian students in 2008-09 and about 2,50,000 international students (about 11.8 per cent of total enrolled students. Other features of this study destination are:
. International study programmes and excellent research opportunities. There are 355 officially recognised institutions of higher education in Germany which offer more than 13,500 degree programmes.
. In addition, studying in Germany means being part of an international, highly-qualified academic community.
. Strong correlation between university and industry, which facilitates research being applied to everyday life.
. Germany’s higher education institutes enjoy an excellent reputation. These have state-of-the-art equipment and labs, and the very best conditions for successful studies.
. Most universities in this European country are state-funded and thus the fee is subsidised.
. There is a wide and diverse range of studies and qualification studies.
. Germany is an international player with an interdisciplinary approach.
. Germany lies at the heart of Europe, an excellent starting point to discover other European destinations.

Popular programmes among Indian students: Engineering, chemistry, biosciences, business administration and nano-science.

Session commences: Winter semester starts in October (major intake for all subjects and universities) and summer semester in April, which is a minor intake, only for limited subjects and universities.

When to apply: Start searching for options by January-February and apply by May for winter semester.

How to apply and to/ through whom: Apply online through a consortium of 122 universities, known as Uni-assist ( or directly to the university, depending on the application procedure mentioned by the institution.

Deadlines for UG and PG courses: 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 enrollment is sought. You should, however, check the exact date with your selected university.

Application docket checklist: Applicants need to submit their university application form along with authenticated copies of:
. Educational certificates
. Curriculum vitae (required, at times)
. A copy of your passport
. SAT/ GRE/ GMAT score
. Statement of Purpose, col lege essay or professional interest essay (some insti tutes require it)
. Work experience certifi- cates (if required)

Some institutions may also ask candidates to submit recommendation letters.

Average tuition fees for UG and PG: Fees range from €200 to €600 (Rs 12,000 to Rs 36,000) a semester in state-funded institutions (90 per cent of German universities are government-run).

Accommodation options: For hostel accommodation, you pay €200 to €300 a month. Generally, students who do not find an accommodation in university-subsidised hostels look for private accommodation. Depending on the city you live in, you are likely to pay between €185 and €345 per month for accommodation. A cheaper option is a shared apartment, called WG.

Scholarships/ financial support: Universities have a limited number of scholarships, offered only to outstanding enrollees. About 15-to-20 per cent of Indian students in Germany receive funding every year. The German Academic Exchange Service, or DAAD scholarship database contains extensive information and a variety of possibilities. The database not only lists all the scholarships offered by the DAAD, but also diverse programmes offered by a wide variety of institutions.

Part-time jobs policy: 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 do jobs only during the summer break.

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 4.5 lakh - Rs 5 lakh to secure a visa. The visa application fee is €60 (about Rs 3,650). For more details, visit

Job opportunities after graduation: After graduating from a German university, a student can stay on in the country for up to one year to seek a job in line with his/her education. On finding suitable employment, a “residence permit for the purpose of employment” is required to take the job up. Legal preconditions on residence must be met. Details about the new German Immigration Law are available at:
Important websites
Ranking of German educational institutions:
International degree
DAAD for scholarships:

pay up
Compared to other European countries, Germany is not overly expensive. The price of food, accommodation, clothing, cultural activities, etc. is equivalent to the European Union average. Here are some prices (approximate):
. 1 loaf of bread: €1.50 - €3
. 1 kg of apples: €2
. 1 kg of potatoes: €1
. 1 litre of milk: €0.50 - €1
. 1 cup of coffee at a café: €2.50
. 1 cinema ticket: €4 to €8
. 1 theatre ticket: €6 to €30
. 1 ticket to the museum: €2 to €8
It is difficult to say exactly how much money a student in Germany needs per month. The cost of living varies from city to city. Generally, students can live on less money in smaller cities than in large ones.

Of course, the amount of money you will need largely depends on how economically you live. Students report living comfortably with a monthly expenditure of €600 - €650.

First Published: Jul 28, 2010 10:07 IST