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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


15 Dec 2016 2K Book icon 7 mins Share

Thirty-three questions you should ask about studying in Germany!

Which question pops up on your mind when you think of studying in Germany?

15 Dec 2016 2K Book icon 7 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


Share this article
questions to ask about studying in Germany

This is not the first time. Earlier we have written many pieces on studying in Germany, student life in Germany and FAQs on studying in Germany. In the light of the facts that Germany has remained a big dream for many students like YOU, we are writing again on the questions, along with elaborate answers, which you frequently think of while planning to study in the Deutscheland. 

Here is a list of the 33 questions that you must ask about studying in Germany:

Q.1. Why choose Germany over other destinations to study abroad?

A: We have said this earlier and saying it again that most German institutions are world class and at par; they are amongst the highest ranking institutions in the world having a close competition with the Ivy League and other reputed British institutions.

Q.2. What exactly is ‘Studienkolleg’?

A: ‘Studienkolleg’ is a 1 year preparatory course to study in Germany which acts as a bridge connecting the acquired degree in your home country with the degree offered at a German institution.

This is a full-time course comprising both the subjects of a degree programme and German language. The entire course is designed for students whose secondary school certificate is not recognised by a German institution thus giving them an opportunity to fetch a degree equivalent to Abitur.

The final Assessment Examination of ‘Studienkolleg’ determines whether you can apply for a degree programme at any German institution or not.

Q.3. Can I study in English language at German varsities?

A: Of course, there are plenty of courses that are taught in English at German varsities. A number of UG and PG courses are taught in English.

However, students who have excellent command over the German language may consider taking courses that are taught in German.

Q.4. What exactly are ‘International Degree Programmes’?

A: Higher education institutions in Germany offer international degree programmes, with the medium of instruction in English and gradually proceeding towards German.

Courses under these programmes have been designed for not only international but also domestic students that comprise both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees (a PG degree with six additional semesters leads to a doctoral).

For more information, please check the website of DAAD and have a word with our advisors to get some concrete information.

Q.5. Do I need to pass the IELTS/TOEFL to enrol into a programme that is taught in English?

A: If you are a native English speaker, you don’t need to sit for the IELTS/ TOEFL, but as a general rule you do need to have good scores in the IELTS/TOEFL if you are applying for a course that is taught in English at a German varsity.

It depends on the university where you apply at so we suggest you get in touch with our advisors to get a clear knowledge about the admission requirements of various German universities.

Q.6. What is ‘Fachhochschulen’?

A: A 'Fachhochschulen' refers to a University of Applied Sciences (UAS) that leads to bachelors and masters degrees (or their equivalents in Germany) in areas like engineering, technology and business.

However, ‘Fachhochschulen’ does not award a doctoral degree.

Q.7. Are there any age limits to apply for a masters or PhD in Germany?

A: No, there are no age limits.

Q.8. Are there any deadlines for direct enrolment?

A: Yes, there are deadlines to apply at German varsities and you need to check that with our counsellors. Ideally, entrance application must be submitted by 15 January for the winter semester and by 15 July for the summer semester each year.

Q.9. Who supervises the admission process in Germany?

A: The admission process is entirely supervised by the management of independent institutions. The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) of the Conference of German Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) plays a crucial role in assessing foreign higher education qualifications and degrees.

Q.10. May I know about the tuition fees at higher education institutions in Germany?

A: Tuition fees are fairly low at most German institutions.

As of October 2014, Germany decided to waive tuition fees in all of the provinces making higher education literally free of charge.

However, a masters and PhD degree involves some extra costs, varying normally between €650 and €1000 per semester.

Q.11. How much money do I need for my stay in Germany?

A: For an answer, we recommend you to read this article on the cost of studying in Germany.

Q.12. Where can I apply for scholarships?

  • German Research Foundation and
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)*

*There are plenty of other options too.

Q.13. Will I be allowed to work while studying in Germany?

A: A foreign student studying full time at a German institution is allowed to work for a maximum of 120 days in a year without having to obtain permission from employment authorities.

Please note that foreign students working 120 days are not allowed to freelance or be self-employed.

Q.14. Can I bring my spouse and children (or only spouse) to Germany while I am studying over there?

A: If you have a residence permit in Germany, then you can surely bring your spouse and children (or only spouse). However, you should have a steady monetary influx so that you are able to support them.

Q.15. Will my spouse be able to work in Germany, if he/she accompanies me?

A: Depends!

If your spouse wants to accompany you for the purpose of working in Germany, he/she must state his/her intention to work when applying for the visa.

Q.16. Do I need to pay taxes in Germany?

A: Taxes depend on the salary that you earn and the period of your stay in Germany.

If your annual gross income is less than €8,130, all taxes paid by you will be refunded at the end of the year when you file your income tax returns.

Please speak to our advisors for more updated information.

Q.17. Do I need to open a German bank account?

A: If you are planning to rent an apartment on loan or going to apply for insurance, it is advisable to open an account so that the bank can debit the money because it is not possible to pay in cash.

Q.18. Do I need a visa to study in Germany?

A: Depends on your nationality!

Citizens of EU or EEA member countries do not need a visa; only a valid ID card would suffice.

If you are from outside EU or EEA, you need to have a study visa if your intention is to stay in Germany for more than 3 months.

Q.19. What documents do I need to apply for a study visa?

A: Please inquire at the German embassy or consulate general in your country. Usually, the following documents are required when you apply for a study visa:

  • Proof of your previous education,
  • Proof of admission from the university you applied at (or confirmation that you are soon to receive the admission letter),
  • Proof of your health insurance coverage,
  • Proof of having enough funding to study abroad and
  • Proof of your German language skills (or plans to attend a language course while in Germany).

Q.20. If my study programme is taught entirely in English, is it necessary to produce a proof of sufficient German language skills?

A: No, if the medium of instruction of your full-time course in Germany is in English, you do not need to know the German language, but it’s always good to know a foreign language–you never know when it helps!

Q.21.  If my study visa ceases to exist, should I leave the country ASAP?

A: If you are going for a long-term programme, say 2 years of masters in Germany, and suddenly you find your visa will be expiring in a couple of months, then you are allowed to get a visa extension for up to 1.5 years.

Please consult your nearest German embassy for more visa-related information.

Q.22. How can I get a permanent residency?

A: If you are planning to come to Germany on a study visa and intend to stay for a longer period, you need to have a residence permit. The only deciding factor here is the foreign office.

Normally, a residence permit for the purpose of studying is issued for a period of 2 years and is extended within those 2 years. Please make sure you show a valid insurance contract when you are planning to extend your visa.

Q.23. What are the admission/enrolment criteria at German universities and other higher education institutions in Germany?

A: Abitur is a set of examinations to be taken in the final year of your secondary school. Abitur is necessary for enrolment at most German universities. An alternative route of Abitur is the ‘Begabtenprüfung’ which is  ‘the aptitude test’.

If your high school diploma comes from an EU or EEA member country, then you are eligible for direct enrolment at a German university, or else you need to attend a ‘Feststellungsprüfung’ assessment examination, after having attended a 'Studienkolleg' (mentioned earlier).

Q.24. Do I need to send all original/certified copies of my academic details?

A: As a general rule, you should send all certified documents, barring additional documents such as proof of internship, etc.

Q.25. What level of the German language skills do I need in order to attend a ‘Studienkolleg’?

A: Your German language skills need to be at the B1 level which is roughly 600 hours of classes.

Q.26. Will my school-leaving qualification be considered?

A: To study in Germany, you need a ‘Hochschulzugangsberechtigung’ (university entrance qualification): a school-leaving qualification that entitles you to study at a university. In Germany, this is the ‘Allgemeine Hochschulreife’ (Abitur) or ‘Fachhochschulreife’.

The best way to figure this out is to get in touch with our experts.

Q.27. What exactly do I need for admission at a university?

  • A valid insurance in Germany (Mawista is accepted by all universities),
  • Proof of admission,
  • Passport picture,
  • Passport with the valid visa.

Q.28. What exactly is a 'Studentenwerk'?

A 'Studentenwerk' is an organization in various regions of Germany which caters to various needs of students studying in Germany.

Studentenwerks generally organise and run cafeterias, restaurants, housing units, the BAföG for the government and even psychological and low-level health services.

Q.29. Can I do a “Dual Studium” as an international student?

Most universities in Germany offer the so called ‘Duales Studium’ which means ‘dual study’. This refers to a link between study and practice.

Please check with the administrative department of your university for information on dual study programmes.

Q.30. Will my driver’s licence be valid in Germany?

Ideally the validity of a foreign driving licence is 6 months so if you continue your stay in Germany even after your licence expires, you will have to transfer your licence.

For the purpose of transferring your driver’s licence in Germany you will need to produce the following:

  • Original valid driver’s licence
  • Passport-size photograph of you
  • Proof of residency in Germany and
  • Your passport or ID card.

Q.31. Which are the best universities to study in Germany?

The only answer: Top ten Universities to study in Germany.

Q.32. What kind of insurance do I need to matriculate at a university?

Both private and public insurance schemes are available. It is not possible for you to matriculate at a university unless you are insured.

For more information you should check the Health insurance scheme of Mawista.

Q.33. How can I find accommodation in Germany?

You should contact your local Studentenwerk directly; they will  help you find the room of your choice at a decent price.

They provide information on both housing and dining. You need to check their website while planning your trip. If you do not find anything suitable according to your needs, you should check with your university who can help you find a place to stay.

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