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Study in Germany vs. Singapore: Which Country is the Best?

Expatrio 2024-02-27
Study in Germany vs. Singapore


So you've decided to study abroad – congratulations! But now the question is, where should you go? Germany or Singapore? Both countries have pros and cons, so it can be challenging to decide. This article will compare and contrast Germany and Singapore in terms of 15 critical factors you should consider.

Why choose between Germany and Singapore to study?

Germany is located in Europe and Singapore is located in Asia. So, these countries are opposites. Both Germany and Singapore are developed countries and have a lot to offer international students. They also have world-renowned universities, great employment opportunities, and beautiful scenery. We know it will be tough to decide, so let's explore the top 15 factors to help you choose.

Tuition fees

In Germany, tuition fees are either free or very low compared to other main study destinations, such as the US and UK. However, students at most public universities have to pay a semester fee, including administrative costs, student union membership, and public transportation. This fee can range from €200 to €500.

In Singapore, tuition fees are significantly higher, starting from €34,635 and increasing to €77,111. Moreover, this range excludes more expensive degrees, such as engineering and medical studies.

Living costs

The cost of living in Germany is relatively low. You can expect to spend around €850 to €1,500 per month on rent, food, and other necessary expenses. Of course, this also depends on the city you live in. The living costs could easily go up in cities like Munich or Frankfurt. However, you could opt to study in Berlin, as it's one of the most affordable cities in Germany.

Singapore has been ranked the second most expensive city in the world. Expect to spend around €668 to €1,670 per month on rent, food, transportation, and other expenses. Remember that this living cost is on top of the hefty tuition you would have to pay.

University admission rate

Compared to Singapore, the university admission rate at public universities in Germany is pretty good. At around 30%, German universities accept more students than Singaporean universities. This means that international students have many opportunities to study at German universities.

Admission to Singaporean universities is more competitive, as they accept between 5% to 20% of applicants on average. You would need to have excellent grades to get into a top university in Singapore.

Option to work while studying

In Germany, international students can work full-time (40 hours per week) for 120 days or part-time (20 hours per week) for 240 days per year. This flexibility allows students to cover their living costs and gain work experience simultaneously.

In Singapore, international students are only allowed to work for 16 hours per week. With the rising costs in Singapore, this restriction makes it harder for international students to cover their living expenses.


Fortunately, you can earn a tax-free income in both countries. In Germany, you won't be taxed if your earnings are below €9,744 per year. You will be taxed anywhere between 14% and 45% when you earn more.

In Singapore, the tax-free income limit is slightly higher at €13,349 per year, and the tax rate is between 2% and 22%, depending on how much you make.

Visa requirements

To study in Germany or Singapore, you need to apply for a student visa. The requirements are almost similar for both countries. On top of the standard application documents, you also need to show proof of admission to a university, financial means, and health insurance.

The main difference is that you need to have at least €934 per month (or €11,208 per year) in a Blocked Account to cover your living expenses in Germany. For Singapore, the minimum amount is almost doubled at €20,000 per year.

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Option to live and work after graduating

If you want to stay in Germany after graduation, you get an 18-month job seeker visa. This permit allows you to find a job and gain work experience before deciding whether to return home or apply for a work residency permit in the country.

In Singapore, there is no such post-study work permit. However, you can apply for a Visit Pass to stay in Singapore for another 12 months. Once you've been offered a job, you can apply for a specific employment visa type that depends on your salary.

Number of international students

Germany is home to over 350,000 international students of more than 90 nationalities, while Singapore has around 55,000 international students, mainly of Asian descent (Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and India). Germany might be a better choice if you're looking to study in a more global environment.


Germany is a large country located in the heart of Europe. You can choose to live in a big or small city, depending on your lifestyle. This central location also makes it easy to travel to other countries for a weekend getaway or longer vacations.

Singapore is a small island nation located in Southeast Asia. The country is so tiny that it only has one city. However, Singapore is considered the hub of Asia as you can easily fly to beautiful Asian destinations such as Thailand, Malaysia, or Indonesia.


Germany is generally a safe country with a low crime rate. However, as with any large city, there are areas that you should avoid, especially at night. But in general, you can feel safe walking around during the day or taking public transportation.

Singapore is also a very safe country with a low crime rate. Less than 5% of people living in Singapore report being very worried about being victims of violent crime.

Health system

Germany has a mandatory public and private health insurance system for all residents, including international students. Students' monthly health insurance cost is around €110 and varies depending on age. You will be covered for most medical expenses, including doctor's appointments, hospital stays, and prescription drugs.

In Singapore, international students are required to have health insurance. You can opt to get private health insurance, but you must subscribe to the university's medical coverage depending on the university. You will be covered for essential medical expenses, but there is a co-payment for each doctor visit.

Employability after graduating

Germany is known for its engineering and technology programs. And many international students come to Germany to study these disciplines. However, there are also several other fields with high employability rates, such as business, economics, and computer science.

The outlook on graduates' employability in Singapore is also highly positive. According to the Graduate Employment Survey, fresh graduates in Singapore could secure full-time employment within six months of graduating.

Language barrier

The official language in Germany is German, of course. However, English is also widely spoken, especially in large cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. Some university courses are also taught in English.

In Singapore, the official languages are English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil. However, English is the predominant language spoken, so you will not have any problem communicating with locals.


Germany has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Spring and summer are the best times to visit as you can enjoy the outdoors and take part in several festivals. Winters can be pretty cold, so make sure to pack your warmest clothes.

Singapore has a tropical climate with two distinct seasons: the wet and dry seasons. The best time to visit Singapore is during the dry season from February to April when you can enjoy sunny weather and low humidity levels.


Germany is a culturally rich country with a long history. You can find many museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks. In addition, Germany is also known for its festive culture with several traditional events such as Oktoberfest and Christmas markets.

Singapore is a culturally diverse country with influences from China, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia. You can find a number of temples, mosques, and churches. In addition, Singapore is also known for its food culture with many world-renowned street food offerings.

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So, which country is the best to study in?

If you want free education with low living costs, Germany should be on top of your list. If you'd like to experience Asian culture and be in the hub of Asia, Singapore is a perfect choice.
Both countries offer excellent prospects if you look for employability after graduation. So, the best country to study in really depends on your individual preferences and priorities.

Tip: If you're still undecided, download our free guide to studying in Germany to have more detailed information.

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