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Study in Germany vs. Japan: The Ultimate Guide for Students

Expatrio 2024-02-15
Studying in Germany vs. Japan

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An international experience should be part of your education, and by choosing to study abroad, you've made the right decision. But, now the question is, which country should you study in? This article will compare and contrast 15 key factors to consider when choosing between Germany and Japan.

Why choose between Germany or Japan?

The two countries are vastly different, from their cultures and customs to their climates and cuisines. Both countries are also popular among international students due to their world-renowned education systems. Based on these critical factors, here's how Germany and Japan stack up against each other.

Tuition fees

In Germany, tuition fees at public universities are free for everyone, regardless of nationality. On average, students only need to pay a low semester fee of around €200 to €500. This fee covers administrative costs, student union membership, and public transportation. In Japan, public universities have the same tuition fees at around €4,827 per year. On top of that, students also need to pay approximately €2,324 for administration, equipment, and maintenance fees.

Private universities in both countries charge higher tuition fees. In Germany, the yearly tuition fees at private universities range between €2,000 and €20,000, while it's between €9,100 and €15,200 in Japan.

Living costs

Germany has slightly lower living costs than Japan. Expect to spend between €850 to €1,500 per month in Germany to cover your accommodation, food, health insurance, and other necessary expenses.

Students living in Japan require at least €1,828 or more per month due to high rent and transportation costs.

University admission rate

Unfortunately, it is complicated to gain admission into Japanese universities, especially if you do not speak Japanese. The maximum acceptance rate is only 40%. You have a higher chance of getting into a German university, even though the average admission rate is 30%. Furthermore, some public universities in Germany also offer English-taught programs.

Option to work while studying

In Germany, you can work up to 120 full or 240 half days per year while you study. This means that you can easily earn some pocket money on the side. In Japan, the rules are a bit stricter. International students are only allowed to work for a maximum of 28 hours per work, but you need to get permission for it.

Taxes

The tax rate for both countries increases the more you earn. In Germany, the tax rate is between 14% and 45%. However, you could earn a tax-free income if you make below €9,744 per year. There is no tax-free income in Japan, but the tax rate is generally between 5% and 45%.

Visa requirements

Like any immigration procedure, international students require student visas to study in Germany or Japan. On top of the standard documents, students applying for a visa need to show proof of sufficient funds via a Blocked Account (Germany) or a private bank account (Japan).

The amount needed for a Blocked Account in Germany is €11,208 per year. Japan does not specify a specific amount, but it is recommended to show proof of at least €15,000 for the first few months.

Germany also requires an additional document: proof of health insurance coverage via public or private providers. You do not need this in Japan, as you'll be covered via the national healthcare system in the country.

Option to live and work after graduating

Germany offers the possibility for international students to stay and look for a job after graduation via an 18-month job seeker visa. This visa allows you to work full-time in any sector or company without a work permit.

The option to live and work after graduating from a Japanese university is more complicated. With over 30 different work visas for foreign nationals, it can be intimidating to navigate the system. But generally, international students can stay up to 360 days to work for a job after graduating.

Number of international students

Over 350,000 international students are studying in Germany, making up 11% of the total student population. And the number has been steadily increasing year over year, even since the pandemic started. Unfortunately, Japan's number of international students has dropped to below 300,000 due to stricter COVID-19 regulations.

Location

Germany is located in the heart of Europe, making it easy to travel to other countries on the weekends or during holidays. The country is also known for its picturesque scenery and charming small towns.

Japan is an island nation located in East Asia. Even though it's a relatively small country, there is a lot of diversity within it. From the bustling metropolis of Tokyo to the snow-capped mountains of Hokkaido, there is something for everyone in Japan.

Safety

Both Germany and Japan are considered to be very safe countries. The Global Peace Index ranked Japan as the 12th safest country globally and Germany as the 17th safest country. You would have no issues with living peacefully in both countries.
Of course, you still have to take extra caution, especially in big cities, no matter which country you live in.

Health system

Japan has one of the best health systems in the world. In fact, it is ranked number one in the world healthcare rankings. The healthcare system is accessible and efficient, and the quality of care is high.

Germany also has a high-quality healthcare system that is ranked 16th globally. The health insurance system in Germany is funded by obligatory public or private providers to ensure more accessible healthcare.

The employability rate for graduates

The employability rate for graduates in Germany is relatively high at 90%. This aspect is due to the strong focus on practical experience and training in the German education system. German companies are also more relaxed with the German language requirement as most companies use English as the primary language in the workplace.

In Japan, the employability rate for international graduates is extremely low at 39%. Japanese companies usually hire students even before they graduate, leaving international students behind in their job application process. On top of that, Japanese companies also prioritize those who can speak fluent Japanese, which makes it more challenging for international students.

Language barrier

The official language in Germany is German, of course. However, English is also widely spoken, even among the locals. More than half of the population can speak English. There are also hundreds of English-taught programs in German universities, so you won't have a problem finding your dream course.

Japanese is the official language in Japan, so if you don't know the language, you only have limited options for choosing the right university course.

Weather and climate

The weather in Germany can be quite varied depending on the region. The north and east of the country tend to have colder winters, with temperatures sometimes dipping just under the freezing point. The summers are usually warm and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 35 degrees Celsius.

Japan also has a diverse range of weather depending on the region. The north of Japan experiences long, cold winters with temperatures below freezing point, while the south is warmer with temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius. The summer season in Japan is hot and humid, with temperatures reaching up to 35 degrees Celsius.

Culture

Germany is a country with a rich culture and history. Germany has much to explore, from its traditional food and beer to its world-famous art and architecture. The country is also home to many different festivals throughout the year.

Japan is also a culturally rich country with a long history. There is much to discover, from its delicious cuisine and sake to Japan's unique art and architecture. The country also has many different festivals which are celebrated throughout the year.

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So, what's the verdict?

Both Germany and Japan are great countries to study in with many benefits. However, each country also has its own challenges. If you're not confident with your language abilities and would like to have a better job prospect after graduating, we highly recommend pursuing your higher education in Germany. However, if you'd like to immerse yourself in a unique culture, Japan is definitely your place.

Tip: Download our guide to free studies in Germany and explore all the possibilities to earn your degree without breaking the bank.

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