Why is Germany the perfect study location?
In recent studies compiled by the OECD and study.eu Germany was deemed the no. 1 study destination for international students in Europe and the 3rd most attractive study destination among OECD countries.
But what makes Germany the perfect study location?
- High quality tertiary education system
- German university degrees are highly respected by employers around the world
- Large amount of study programmes in English
- Moderate living costs
- Shortage of skilled professionals and low unemployment rate for university graduates
- Graduates from German universities are eligible to apply for an 18-month residence permit that allows them to find a job in Germany after their graduation
- Safe country with low crime rates
Living in Germany
Germany is home to renowned poets and philosophers such as Goethe, Schiller and Kant but the country has a lot more to offer: a diverse arts scene, festivals and Oktoberfest. Cities like Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden offer a wide range of recreational activities, such as street food festivals, film festivals, concerts and thousands of parties to go to.
The official language of Germany is German. Depending on the region in Germany there are also a range of different dialects that are spoken. Although most Germans understand and speak another language, such as English (in big cities like Berlin, in particular), we always advise our students to learn some German. A good command of German will make your life easier and will definitely facilitate your entry into the German job market after your graduation. More information about our German classes.
Compared to other European countries, living costs in Germany are very moderate. Students benefit from a lot of concessions. You are entitled to reduced prices at theatres, museums, opera houses, cinemas, swimming pools and other institutions. All you have to do is present your student ID. Monthly living expenses according to the 21st Social Survey of Deutsches Studentenwerk.
Working while studying
International students with a valid residence permit are allowed to work while they are pursuing their studies. However, there are restrictions on the working hours. More information about employment rights and residence permits.
Germany is a very safe country – also on an international scale. The police are reliable and can help you in any situation. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, you can basically move around during the day or night without having to take any special precautions.
Career & Visa
Germany’s economy is the strongest in Europe and the fourth strongest in the world. The country is the European leader in terms of growth, employment and exports. There are enormous employment and career opportunities for skilled professionals. Germany’s youth unemployment rate and the unemployment rate for university graduates are both very low.
What are my options after I finish my studies? After graduating with a Bachelor’s, Master's or MBA degree from a German university, students have the following visa and residence options:
- Residence permit while looking for a job
You can apply for an 18-month residence permit from your local foreign nationals registration office to look for a job that corresponds to your qualifications. During these 18 months, you may take up any kind of employment to support yourself and to fund your job search. You can apply for your residence permit as soon as you have passed your final exam.
- Residence permit for taking up employment
As soon as you find a job offer which corresponds to your qualifications, you can apply for a German residence permit for the next part of your stay. Initially, a German residence permit that allows you to take up employment will be issued for a limited period of time. If you continue to be employed and wish to have your permit extended, you will be able to do so without any issue.
- EU Blue Card
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates who are professionals in high demand can apply for an EU Blue Card if their earnings exceed €43,056 a year (2020 figures). Other non-STEM graduates can apply for an EU Blue Card if their earnings exceed €55,200 a year (2020 figures).
- Settlement permit
As early as two years after receiving your German residence permit, you can apply for a settlement permit – this permit will give you almost the same rights as German citizens and has no time limit. The only condition is that you are still employed in Germany at that point of time.
Job prospects for STEM & other graduates
Germany has a shortage of skilled professionals in STEM and health-related occupations and an ageing population. Both factors increase the chances for young and skilled international university graduates to find suitable employment in Germany, start and continue their careers here.
The occupations that are mostly affected by skills' shortages include graduate positions in the field of supply and waste management, IT and software development/programming, STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), mechanical and automotive engineering, electrical engineering and medicine.
Graduates from other disciplines and STEM graduates can always increase their career prospects by:
- Having a good command of the German language. We recommend that you enrol in German classes during your studies. Try to speak as much German as possible, e.g. with class or flatmates.
- Knowing the German labour market. Learn how a German CV and cover letter need to look like and what German employers are looking for. Things might work differently than in your home country.
- Getting professional experience through internships and student jobs. Graduates with more work experience enjoy better job opportunities. This way you can also expand your professional network.