6 Reasons to Go to College in Germany


This article was contributed by Alyssa Glass

Whoever decided to charge $50,000 for college tuition in the USA can get these hands.

I’m a U.S. high school senior who is heading to college in about a year. When I started my college search, I had no idea where to look. American private universities are SO expensive (50,000 US dollars? Girl, bye). Even public schools can be well over $10,000 a year.  I didn’t want to run my parent’s bank account dry, so I started looking for more affordable options. I discovered that Germany is doing something right by having completely free higher education.

Until the USA starts to take notes, here’s why you need to get to Germany ASAP!

Save Your Behind a Dime

Yes, you heard that right folks – college in Germany is free, even for international students. Well, only the public ones… but it’s better than nothing!  In many countries, the hefty cost of education can lead to loans that create staggering amounts of debt. In other words, be prepared to put your life on hold for 10 years.
So why not study somewhere where you can leave college not having to worry about being suffocated with money probs after?  Public universities in Germany are fully funded by the federal states because Germany believes everyone should have access to higher education. If you study here, the only fee you’ll be paying is a semester fee, which typically ranges from €150 – €350.  You can even get scholarships to help pay for living costs and book expenses.
Germany is like your older sister, she’s always got your back.  And with college tuition soaring in the USA, it’s no wonder the amount of Americans studying in Germany has increased exponentially over the last several years.  In 2014, there were about 4,600 students enrolled at German universities – as of 2016. That number increased to 10,000 … and, we’re about to add you to that list.

Take Courses in English while Learning Deutsche

Language mistake #1: If you’re like me, you probably thought that Deutsche means “Dutch.” But it actually means German!
I was so darn relieved to know that some courses are actually taught in English. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so down to learn German. But imagine trying to explain a scientific formula in German? I would be a mess!
It goes without saying that it is helpful to know at least a bit of the language if you’re living in Germany; don’t be that person who assumes that everyone speaks English! Also, you’ll need to be able to order your extra dry cappuccino with soy milk.
Many international students will speak English – but if you’re the type of person that wants to befriend the locals, you’re in luck!  There is a large English speaking population in here, especially in Berlin. It won’t be hard to find someone who speaks your language.  But since you’re in Germany, you may as well take the opportunity to learn the language (otherwise, you might as well study in Canada, Australia, the UK, or whereever else speaks English).

 The Rest of Europe is only 50 Euros Away

The Czech Republic, France, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland all border Germany. Did someone say landlocked?

Also, Italy, the UK, Sweden, Spain, and other European countries are all just a short flight away! There is no shortage of cheap flights to all of these countries. And for the most part, you probably won’t spend over 100 euros on a flight. Travel in Europe is super cheap.

On the other hand, flights in the U.S. are ridiculous. I once flew from California to Wyoming, and it was around $500!  No thank you, I’m taking a one-way ticket to Germany so I can travel Europe on a budget! You can go party at a rooftop bar in Paris that looks up at the Eiffel Tower or spend a weekend slurping up noodles in Italy, then buy a €40 plane ticket to London. Europe allows you to just make it work.

Germany’s Universities Are Some of the Best in the World

Year after year, German universities take several spots in the top 100 universities in the world; just because your tuition is free doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing quality education. LMU Munich, University of Cologne, and Humboldt University of Berlin (my personal favorite!) are just a few of the many prestigious colleges known for their research. How many Americans are able to say they studied a full 3 years abroad? Not many.

Studying in Germany will make you stand out as adventurous and outgoing compared to other job applicants. And if locking down a job isn’t for you and you just want to travel the world, at least you can subtly brag about your German degree to strangers in a bar! Hey, that certificate framed in your apartment has to count for something! 

Housing is Affordable

Big cities like London and New York are crazy expensive to rent apartments in; a studio is usually 1000 euros/dollars or more!  Apartments in Germany’s culture hub, Berlin, are incredibly affordable compared to other capitals. You can find nice, cozy studio apartments for as little as €600. Even better, German universities often have services specifically dedicated to helping its students find affordable housing (you can also join an FB group to see if you can find some buddies to link up with).
I’ve already started my hunt for the perfect apartment in Berlin and let me tell you, I’m so ready to sip some German coffee on my new balcony!  I’m already planning the decorations and furniture. If you’re all about living on a budget (I know I am), Berlin’s your city! The rest of Germany also has decently priced apartments too, so you can save your money for traveling and trying German chocolate and beer.

A Bachelor’s Degree Only Takes Three Years

If you’re from the USA, you know that it takes a minimum study period of four years to earn your Bachelor’s Degree. That’s a long time! This is partially due to the fact that you’re forced to take General Education courses that may have nothing to do with your major (Advanced Calculus? No thanks). But in Germany, they like to cut through all that BS and focus only on the classes you need. With all the reduced time, work, and classes, you can graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in only three years. In the time it takes your friend back in the US to get his or her degree, you could take a gap year, travel the globe, and receive your degree!  #BOSS

At the End of the Day…

Of course, moving to a foreign country isn’t as easy as just hopping on a plane and renting an apartment (although I wish it was). There is the whole process of getting a visa, applying for a residence permit, and setting up a bank account. Paperwork is one of the biggest pains in the butt, but it’s worth it when you realize that there’s a whole new culture to explore and friends to be made.

But hey, if Germany isn’t your thing, there are other countries with super affordable or free tuition like France, Denmark, and Norway. Whatever country or college you choose, make sure you’re making the most of it and studying something you love (oh, and staying out of debt…mhm, I see you USA)!

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