Yes, the COVID-19 situation has been hard for us students, especially international ones. Thousands in the UK and US had to vacate their dorms and were left on their own to find a way home, which proved to pretty difficult when everything shut down. In fact, almost everywhere that international students go has shut down and been, well, pretty inhospitable to people traveling for education.
In certain Western countries like the US and UK, the environment is somewhat expected to remain inhospitable to international students.
However, we might see the rise of Western education in Germany in the coming years.
This is due largely to the way that Germany has handled the COVID-19 crisis and the fact that there usually aren’t immediate tuition fees for German universities, even for foreign students.
Michael Gaebel, Director of Higher Education Policy at the European University Association, said it best:
“It's been said for years; why pay 30,000 pounds when you can have a study program of good quality from a renowned and internationally-ranked university for free?” said Gaebel.
Just because it is cheaper does not mean it’s always free, however. Gaebel added a caveat:
“Most higher education institutions in Europe are publicly funded. While I can't say there will be no budgetary consequences, they are not there immediately,” Gaebel said.
What does it mean for me?
This could end up meaning many different things for you as a student looking to go abroad to get your education:
- Germany might become a very attractive place for you to go and study.
- The US and UK might become less attractive.
- It could open up new avenues for you to research and approach, maybe even avenues that you had not considered before.
- If everything that we are somewhat predicting is true, this could be very good for the German education system, and by extension, very good for you as a student there.
What do the past and future look like?
It’s difficult to predict the future. However, one of the tools that we can use to try is survey data.
A survey conducted by Study EU suggests that up to 84% of students would not go to study in the UK if tuition fees get raised for international students. The bad thing for England is that this is something that they are already doing.
The same survey suggested that Germany would be the next most-popular alternative for aspiring international students, from within the EU and possibly outside.
And if we can’t predict the future, we can always look back at the past.
Ten years-ago in 2010, Germany attracted as many as 250,000 international students. By last year, 2019, the country had attracted 393,579; a growth of 58%.
And that was before the pandemic. Now, students are able to compare how each country handled the crisis, which could end up being a major factor in the way that they choose where to go and study.
But, it’s hard to say. In the meantime, before we find out, good luck finding your next study destination from Study-Abroad.org.