American College Students Studying in Germany in Growing Numbers

Posted By Eliana Osborn on March 18, 2016 at 9:12 am
American College Students Studying in Germany in Growing Numbers
Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany, one of many German universities attracting American college students

Want to spend a semester abroad but worried about the cost? Germany may be the answer. NBC News reports more than 10,000 American college students are studying in Germany, an ever increasing number that has risen 25% in the past six years.

They provide opportunities for native and foreign students to go to university for free. You read that right—free. Graduate programs may charge tuition but state schools have minimal administrative costs, around 200 Euros. Knowing German helps of course but there are at least 1,100 English language classes available throughout the country. And Germany has solid universities on par with many American schools. Just for a whole lot less money.

DAAD is the German Academic Exchange Service which coordinates the many international programs throughout the nation. They offer a handy searchable database based on level of study and subject area. There are visa and application requirements of course, but if you already have a college degree from the US, it is very easy to continue your education in Germany.

Explaining costs, DAAD notes that some German states charge course fees (different from the semester fee or administrative charge). They also acknowledge that living expenses are higher than European averages. Average spending is 800 Euros a month, including rent; with current exchange rates, that equates to under $900 US.

Other than finances, what is drawing American students to Germany? Nichole Steadman was born in Germany while her father was stationed there with the Air Force.  When she wanted to do study abroad as a college student at Brigham Young University, returning to the area made sense. She’s not alone; with a military presence in Germany for more than fifty years, many American youths have ties to the country.

DAAD produces a brochure for parents and students from around the world who are considering college in Germany. Dr. Dorothea Ruland, secretary general of DAAD, notes that her country is “a democratic, tolerant, safe, and beautiful country with an abundance of cultural, touristic, and culinary attractions.” There’s also the fact that international study is a boon in many career fields, with or without language skills. Other helpful info comes from the Studying in Germany website.

Much of the push for study abroad is to give students a perspective of the larger world outside their own experience. DAAD refers to this as broadening horizons, something above and beyond subject matter study. The international community at German universities allows students to be involved with a wide swathe of humanity, forcing them to examine prejudices and see from a new perspective.

Eliana Osborn
Eliana Osborn is an associate English professor at Arizona Western College, with degrees from Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. She’s published widely in forums such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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