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Studying in Germany vs. Ireland: A Comprehensive Comparison

Expatrio 2024-02-15
Studying in Germany vs Ireland


When it comes to deciding where to study, there are many factors to take into consideration. Two of the most popular destinations for international students in Europe are Germany and Ireland. 

In this article, we will compare and contrast these two countries in order to help you make an informed decision about where to study. Read on to find a comparison between studying in Germany versus Ireland.

What's the difference between Ireland and Northern Ireland?

Ireland is an island located in the North Atlantic. And it is divided into two parts: the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), an independent country, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. The border between these two countries is about 360 miles long and runs through the middle of the island. The two countries also use different currencies: the Republic of Ireland uses the Euro, while Northern Ireland uses the Pound Sterling. Despite these differences, the two countries are connected by their shared history and culture. For example, they both speak English and Irish Gaelic, and they both have rich music and dance traditions.

Factors to consider when studying in Germany or Ireland

The following aspects are the top 15 factors you need to consider when it comes to choosing which country to study in:

Tuition Fees

One of the main factors that students consider when choosing a study destination is the cost of tuition. In Germany, tuition fees are generally lower than in Ireland. For example, most international students at public universities in Germany pay zero tuition fees, but they need to pay a low semester fee of around €200 to €500. In Ireland, international students at public universities pay between €9,850 and €55,000, depending on the undergraduate course.

Living Costs

The next important factor to consider is the cost of living. Fortunately, the living costs for both Germany and Ireland are pretty affordable. An international student in Germany expects to pay between €800 to €1,100 per month. Of course, this cost also depends on your lifestyle and the city that you live in.

Technically speaking, you only need to worry about funding your living expenses in Germany and not have to worry about the tuition fees. If you want to study in Ireland, you need to add your monthly living cost on top of the tuition fees as well.

University Admission Rate

Both Germany and Ireland are very popular destinations for international students, with each country hosting a large number of students from all over the world. Unsurprisingly, the admission rate at universities in Ireland is higher than in Germany. For example, the admission rate at a popular university in Ireland is about 63%, while the admission rate at a German university is less than 30%. Nevertheless, both countries are very welcoming to international students and offer a variety of degree programs.

Option to Work While Studying

In Germany, international students have the option to work part-time for 20 hours per week, 240 days per year, or full-time for 40 hours per week, 120 days per year. The rules in Ireland are slightly different. You can work full-time for 40 hours per week during the summer break, which is from June to September. Then, you can only work up to 20 hours per week outside of these months.


You can earn a tax-free income in Germany if you make less than €9,744 per year. If you make above that amount, the tax ranges between 14% and 45%. Your income is taxed in two parts in Ireland, with a cut-off point depending on your marital status. For example, a single person who makes €40,000 a year is taxed at 20% for the first €36,800, and then the balance of €3,200 is taxed at 40%.

Visa Requirements

To study in either country, you will need to obtain a student visa. The visa application process for both countries is relatively straightforward, with nearly identical requirements. On top of the standard visa application documents, you need to provide proof of funds (for Germany, this is in the form of a blocked account) and health insurance.

You need to arrange your own health insurance coverage if you're studying in Germany. Some universities might already include this in the tuition fee in Ireland, so it's always best to check directly with the university.

Option to Live and Work After Graduating

Upon graduating, international students in Germany have the option to stay in the country for an additional 18 months to find a job. If you find a job within that time frame, you can apply for a residence permit which will allow you to live and work in Germany longer. In Ireland, you can stay and work for up to 12 or 24 months, depending on the level of your studies.

Number of International Students

Germany is home to over 350,000 international students, while Ireland has just about 32,000 international students. Even though Germany is a non-English speaking study destination, it is still popular among international students due to its tuition-free universities, affordable living costs, and central location in Europe.


Germany is a large country with many different regions that offer unique study opportunities. Some of the most popular destinations for international students are Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne. Ireland is a small island located in the northwest of Europe. Although the country is small, many universities are located throughout the country. The most popular cities for international students are Dublin, Cork, and Galway.


When it comes to safety, Ireland was recently ranked as the 8th safest country in the Global Peace Index, while Germany is ranked 17th. You would have no issues living a peaceful life in both countries. However, it's always good to be extra cautious, especially in bigger cities like Berlin or Dublin.

Health System

Germany and Ireland have very different systems when it comes to health care. In Germany, health care is funded by public and private insurers. This means that everyone has access to basic care, and there are no large bills to pay if you need hospital treatment. In Ireland, health care is mostly government-funded. This means that everyone will get basic healthcare for free or at a reduced cost.

Employability After Graduating

It is no secret that the job market is competitive. It is vital to have a strong resume and employability skills to stand out. However, many recent graduates don't realize that their college degree is just one piece of the puzzle. In order to be successful after graduation, it is essential to have a well-rounded skill set that includes both hard and soft skills. A good university encourages your growth, so it's best to choose wisely.

Thankfully, both Germany and Ireland have a high employability rate for graduates. In Ireland, more than 70% of students found employment within 12 months of graduating, while it's over 90% in Germany.

Language Barrier

Although Germany is a non-English speaking study destination, many English-taught programs are available. Though you don't necessarily need German to study in Germany, it would help if you learn the language to aid in daily conversations with the locals. Ireland's official languages are English and Gaeilge, but you can get by with just English.


The weather is one of the first things most people notice when traveling to a new country. And while there are many similarities between the climate in Germany and Ireland, there are also some important differences. For example, the average temperature in Germany is much colder than in Ireland. This is partly due to Germany's northern location, but it is also because the country experiences a continental climate, with warm summers and cold winters. In contrast, Ireland has a maritime climate, which is milder overall. However, this doesn't mean that Ireland is always free of cold snaps; temperatures can sometimes dip below freezing during the winter months. Precipitation levels also differ between the two countries.


Though they are both Western, German and Irish cultures differ in a number of ways. Perhaps the most obvious difference is that German is a written language and Irish is a spoken language. This has led to Germans being more focused on formal education while Irish people value oral tradition. Germans are also known for their engineering and manufacturing skills. And Ireland is known for its agriculture. When it comes to food and drink, Germans tend to prefer hearty fare such as sausage and beer, while the Irish are known for their love of potatoes and Guinness.

So, what study destination should you choose?

When it comes to deciding where to study, both Germany and Ireland have a great deal to offer. Both countries have an affordable cost of living and have high employability rates for graduates. So, it all boils down to one factor: tuition fees. You don't have to worry about paying your tuition in Germany, and, at the same time, you can pursue a part-time job to offset the monthly living expenses.

Of course, when it comes to deciding which country is right for you, the best thing to do is do more research and talk to acquaintances in a similar situation. Reach out to current students and get their insights on what it's like to live, study, and work in each country. With a little bit of research, you'll be able to decide where you want to pursue your higher education.

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