Studying in Germany vs. Canada

Studying in Germany vs. Canada: 15 Reasons Why

When it comes to deciding where to study, there are many factors that students need to consider. Two of the most popular destinations for international students are Germany and Canada. Both countries have a lot to offer, but they also have their own unique pros and cons. In this article, we will look at the 15 reasons you should study in Germany compared to Canada. Let's get started!

What reasons should you consider?

When deciding where to pursue higher education abroad, there are many reasons you need to take into account. The most important aspects will vary depending on the individual student. For example, the costs of studying and living may be more critical to students who cannot work while studying. And students who can work may be more interested in the option of securing full-time employment after graduation. The following 15 reasons why you should study in Canada versus Germany should serve as a guideline to help you make the best decision.

Tuition Fees

One of the most significant considerations for students when deciding where to study is tuition fees. In Germany, tuition fees are much lower than in Canada. For international students, tuition fees at most public universities in the country are free. However, students would still have to pay a small semester fee, ranging between €200 and €500 per semester. Private universities in Germany can also cost less than in Canada, as tuition in Canada can be upwards of 20,000 Canadian dollars (€14,300) per year.

Living Costs

The German government states that international students need at least €861 per month for 12 months in a Blocked Account to cover basic expenses such as food, rent, and bills. In Canada, expect to spend CAD 800 for basic costs plus at least CAD 1080 for on-campus accommodation.

University Admission Rate

Germany has a lower university admission rate than Canada, making it harder to get into a world-class German university. The admission rate is less than 30% for public universities in Germany, while it is between 40% to 58.7% in Canada. Of course, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't apply to German universities. Private universities in Germany have a higher admission rate of around 60%.

Option to Work While Studying

In both Germany and Canada, international students are allowed to work while studying. In Germany, international students from outside the EU can work up to 120 full days or 240 half days per year. In Canada, you can work up to 20 hours per week during the school year and full-time or even overtime during holidays. However, you must meet the conditions stated on your study permit to pursue this.


International students living in Canada for over 183 days would need to file their taxes, regardless of whether there's income or not. Germany is a little more lenient for international students as you don't have to pay any taxes if you earn below €450 per month. When you start making more than that, you can file your taxes and get refunds on expenses such as moving, home repairs, work clothes, training, and much more.

Visa Requirements

You will need a student visa to study in both Germany and Canada. The visa application process is relatively straightforward for both countries, and they have similar requirements. Aside from the standard visa application documents, international students must also provide proof of sufficient funds, a university acceptance letter, evidence of existing education qualifications, and health insurance.

library in Germany vs. Canada

Option to Live and Work After Graduating

Both Germany and Canada offer international students the opportunity to live and work after graduating. In Germany, you can stay for up to 18 months after your graduation to look for a job. If you find a job before your visa expires, you can apply for a residency permit. In Canada, you can stay for three years after graduation to look for a job with its Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

Number of International Students

The number of international students in Germany is increasing every year. In 2021, there were around 330,000 international students enrolled in German universities. This number is an increase of over 5% from the previous year. Interestingly in Canada, there's a sharp decline of local students enrolling in Canadian colleges and universities while the number of international students is on the rise. Canadian universities and colleges welcomed over 380,000 international students, and it's increasing 14% year over year.


Canada is a large country with diverse landscapes, from the rocky mountains in the west to the sandy beaches in the east. The largest city in Canada is Toronto, home to nearly three million people. Whatever study destination you choose, you will have a great time in each country. Germany is located in the heart of Europe and has many beautiful cities to choose from, such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne. It's easy to get around by train or bus, and there are plenty of cultural and nightlife activities to enjoy.


Germany is considered one of the safest countries in Europe for international students. The homicide rate in Germany is 0.86 per 100,000 inhabitants, and there's a low chance of being a victim of crime. Canada is also considered one of the safest countries globally, with a low crime rate. The homicide rate is at 2.05 per 100,000 inhabitants. View the complete comparison between the two countries for different aspects.

Health System

Healthcare in Germany is funded by a mandatory multi-payer health insurance system, ensuring accessible healthcare for everyone. International students coming to and living in Germany must be covered by a public or private health insurance provider. The quality of healthcare is excellent, and you will be able to find a doctor or specialist easily. Canada is famously known for its free and good healthcare system, but this is only true for Canadian citizens. Like Germany, international students in Canada would also have to be covered by health insurance providers.

Tip: Expatrio offers health insurance coverage for international students via our partners, Techniker Krankenasse (TK) and DR-WALTER.

Employability After Graduating

Germany is known for its strong economy and world-class industries. As such, it's no surprise that there are plenty of job opportunities available for graduates. In fact, the employability rate for university graduates in Germany is the second-highest in Europe at 81.5%. Similarly, 18 Canadian universities were ranked in the top 500 universities globally with the most employable graduates.

Language Barrier

Although the official language in Germany is German, English is widely spoken throughout the country. The English Proficiency Index (EPI) ranked Germany 10th out of 100 countries of non-native English speakers. This factor makes it easier for international students to communicate with locals and get by in everyday life. Canada has two official languages - English and French. However, English is the predominant language spoken in Canada, with over 75% of the population speaking English as their first language.


Germany has a temperate climate with average temperatures ranging from -10 to 35 degrees Celsius. The summers are mild, and the winters can be cold, but generally, it's not too extreme. In Canada, the weather varies depending on which region you are in. The average temperature in Canada ranges from -40 to 30 degrees Celsius. The summers can be hot and humid, while the winters can be freezing with lots of snow.


Germany is a culturally rich country with a long history dating back to ancient times. Several cultural events and festivals take place throughout the year, such as the Oktoberfest in Munich and the variety of Christmas markets in Berlin and Dresden. Canada is a multicultural country with people from all over the world living here. Many cultural events and festivals occur throughout the year, such as Caribana in Toronto, Folklorama in Winnipeg, and Chinese New Year in Vancouver.

So, should you study in Canada or Germany?

In conclusion, both Germany and Canada are great study destinations for international students. They offer a variety of benefits and drawbacks, so it ultimately depends on what factors are most important to you. 
Germany may be a better choice if you're looking for a world-class university experience without paying tuition fees. Canada may be a better choice if you're looking for a more extended post-study work permit. Whatever country you choose, be sure to weigh in on all the factors most important to you.

TIP: Use Expatrio's Study Finder to start finding your dream course in Germany and submit your applications – all in one place!

When should I start applying for German universities?

The application deadline for German universities is usually mid-July for the winter semester (which starts in October) and mid-January for the summer semester (starting in April). However, it is advisable to begin the application process as early as possible because some programs may have earlier deadlines. It is also essential to allow enough time to prepare all the required documents and arrange for any necessary visas. So, if you're interested in studying in Germany, be sure to start the application process early.

Are there scholarships for international students in Germany?

Yes, there are scholarships for international students in Germany. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers a variety of scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. Many other private providers offer scholarships to international students. So, there are plenty of opportunities to obtain financial assistance for studying in Germany.

Is higher education really free for international students in Germany?

Yes, higher education is free for international students in Germany. There are no tuition fees charged at most public universities in Germany. However, there are some administrative fees that students have to pay, which range from €200 to €500 per semester. Additionally, students would also have to cover the cost of their health insurance and other living expenses. Nevertheless, studying in Germany is still very affordable for international students.