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Studying in Germany vs. Norway: How to Decide

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


Choosing a study destination is not an easy task. You have to consider factors such as the cost of living, climate, safety, and many more. But most importantly, you have to decide which educational system is right for you. 

This article will compare the differences between studying in Germany versus Norway and help you decide before making the big decision.

Why Germany vs. Norway?

If you are considering studying in Europe, Germany and Norway are both great options. Both countries are increasingly becoming popular among international students wanting to study in Europe. They are known for their high-quality education, beautiful scenery, and free education. Here is a comparison of some of the key factors to help you decide which country is correct for you.

Tuition fees

You'd be happy to know that public universities in Norway and Germany do not charge tuition fees, even for international students. Both countries are committed to providing affordable education for all. However, private universities in both countries could get really expensive. In Germany, private universities charge between €2,000 and €20,000 for degree programs, while in Norway, this could be between €7,000 and €19,000.

Living costs

It's no secret that Norway is one of the most expensive countries globally. So, how could people afford to live there? That's because Norwegians generally enjoy high salaries. But international students cannot reap the benefits of working yet. The average living expenses for students in Norway are around €1,500/month, compared to the living cost in Germany, which is around €861/month.

University admission rate

Germany is known for its high-quality universities. In fact, out of the top 500 best universities in the world, more than 40 of them are located in Germany. With such a large number of high-quality options, it's not surprising that the admission rate is quite competitive, with only about one-third of applicants admitted. In Norway, the admission rate is a little more forgiving. The admission rate is between 20% and 40% in the country.

Option to work while studying

In Germany, international students can work for up to 120 days full-time or 240 days part-time per year. This rule allows students to work and make some money while studying. In Norway, international students are not allowed to work unless they have a work permit. Students can work up to 20 hours per week or full-time during the holidays with a work permit.


In Germany, international students can earn a tax-free income below €9,744 per year. The tax situation in Norway is slightly more complicated. International students working while studying can apply for a tax deduction card that allows them to choose between two tax systems: Paying as you earn (PAYE) or under the standard tax rules.

Visa requirements

To study in Norway or Germany as an international student, you must apply for a student visa. The visa application process is quite similar, with both countries requiring an almost identical set of documents. Aside from the standard visa application documents, students from non-EU countries would also need proof of sufficient funds for at least one year. Germany needs this in the form of a Blocked Account with at least €11,208 per year. Norway needs proof of funds in a Student Deposit Account, where you would have to deposit at least €14,000 per year.

Option to live and work after graduating

Both Germany and Norway offer the option to stay in the country after graduation and work. In Germany, international students can stay for up to 18 months after graduation to find a job. After finding a job, international graduates can apply for a residence permit and work visa. In Norway, international students can stay for one year after graduation to find a job. After finding a job, graduates can apply for a work and residence permit but with one condition: you must have at least 27,000 in your bank account.

Number of international students

Norway is home to a little over 20,000 international students, while Germany is home to more than 350,000 international students. This number is probably due to the fact that Germany has a lower living cost and has more universities to accommodate more students. Germany is the perfect study destination if you're looking for a more international setting. However, if you're looking for a quieter and smaller study environment, then Norway would be the better choice.


Norway is located in Northern Europe and comprises more than just land. It has thousands of islands, making it a perfect place for those who love the outdoors. Germany is located in Central Europe and is known for its diverse landscape, from the forests of Bavaria to the seaside towns on the North Sea. Germany is for you if you're looking for a study destination that offers both city and nature.


Norway is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world. Reports show that crime rates are generally higher in bigger cities. In Norway, this is the complete opposite. Crime rates are actually lower in a big city like Oslo. Germany is also a safe country to study in, with the only exception being certain areas of big cities which should be avoided at night.

Health system

Both Germany and Norway have excellent health systems. In Germany, you must have health insurance and choose from public or private health insurance companies. The German healthcare system is considered one of the best in the world. In Norway, students staying longer than one year are automatically enrolled in the national health insurance plan. This means that you are entitled to free healthcare. Those staying less than a year will also have access to basic healthcare on-campus.

Employability after graduating

Norway is known for its high-quality education, and most students who graduate from a Norwegian university have no problem finding a job. However, the job market is tough if you do not speak Norwegian. In Germany, the employment rate for international graduates is really high, and the German language requirement has gotten less demanding over the year. With Germany's strong economy, finding a job after graduating is not a problem.

Language barrier

In Norway, the official language is Norwegian, but English is also widely spoken. International students will not have a problem communicating with the locals. In Germany, the official language is German. Although English is also widely spoken, it might be more difficult for international students to communicate with the locals or deal with the German bureaucracy.


Norway is known for its cold weather and long winters. If you're looking to study in a country with snow and winter sports, then Norway is your place. But keep in mind that because Norway is a lot colder, it also costs more to heat your apartment during those chilly months. Germany has a more moderate climate with colder winters in the north and milder winters in the south.


Norway is a small country with a population of around five million people. More than 80% of the population is Norwegian. International students might find it hard to integrate at first, but Norwegians are known to be very welcoming people. Germany is home to more than 81 million people and is culturally diverse. You'll find people from all over the world living in Germany, making it a great place to experience different cultures.

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So should you study in Germany or Norway?

Both countries have their positives and negatives. It really depends on what you're looking for in a study destination. If cost is a factor, then Germany is great for international students with its low living costs and opportunity to work while studying. If you have the means and want to contribute to expanding the country's diversity, then Norway should be on top of your list.

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