As an international student in Germany, have you considered any other study destination? If your answer is no, then you are aligned with a significant part of international students living in the country.
Expatrio and the Deutsche Gesellschaft Internationaler Studierender (DEGIS) conducted a survey at the end of 2021 to gather insights into students' relocation experiences in that year. Forty-five percent of nearly 2,000 respondents from 93 nationalities said they did not consider any other study destination besides Germany. Other suitable alternatives were the USA (17%) and Canada (16%).
However, compared to the previous 2020 survey, 14% fewer respondents had no other country in mind except Germany. Last year's report also highlighted a growing interest in studying in the Netherlands, France, and Spain.
But why did international students choose Germany instead of other study destinations?
The answer is relatively simple: the lack of tuition fees in most public universities in the country contributed positively to students' decision-making. Respondents from most nationalities reasoned their choice due to the no tuition fees (45%). However, for Mexican and Brazilian respondents, the employment opportunities after graduation seemed more attractive than Germany's affordable higher education system.
Apart from no tuition fees, universities in Germany are recognized worldwide by various rankings. In addition, even at private universities, students are expected to pay lower tuition fees compared to popular student destinations, such as the US, the UK, or Australia.
Is higher education in Germany really free?
Studying at a public university in Germany is usually tuition-free, except for universities located in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. However, all students have to pay a semester fee of around €200 to 500. This fee usually includes transportation costs for the semester, student association membership, and other administrative payments.
How do international students in Germany fund their studies?
More than half (55%) of the survey respondents said their primary source of funds was family financial support. This type of funding is exceptionally high among young students aged 18 to 20. Respondents who said they funded their studies with their own savings (21%) were mainly aged between 31 and 35.
The primary source of funds also depends on the respondents' nationality. Even though the majority relied on family funds, for Americans (71%), Brazilians (58%), and Hong Kongers (53%), their own savings were the main source of funds for their student journey in Germany.
Is the amount of funds set by the German government enough for international students to live in the country?
The German government sets €861 as the minimum monthly amount for living expenses in the country. Most non-EU internationals seeking to study in Germany must prove they have such funds in order to secure a German student visa. This proof can be obtained by opening a blocked account, a particular type of account that stays inactive until the owner arrives in Germany. The money can cover living expenses for up to one year and is usually released monthly to the owner's current bank account.
Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents believe that the monthly amount of €861 is enough to cover living expenses in Germany. The number is 2% lower when compared to the survey results from 2020.
In addition, there is a contrast of opinions depending on where the students live. For international students in Kaiserslautern (100%), Ingolstadt (97%), and Dresden (97%), the monthly amount is enough to cover living expenses. However, a lower percentage of students living in major cities agree that the monthly amount set by the German government is enough to cover their livings costs: Berlin (77%), Frankfurt (74%), Hamburg (73%), and Munich (63%). For such cities, some respondents also reported spending over €1,000 monthly: Munich (28%), Berlin (25%), and Frankfurt (5%).
Are you interested in knowing more about the experiences of international students relocating to Germany? Download our survey!