Studying in Germany – The 10 Steps Guide

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Planning to pursue your higher studies from Germany? There are ten essential points that you must remember while studying in Germany.

10 Steps Guide - Studying in Germany

If you’re planning to study in Germany and completely confused about the scenario, this article is all that you need to read. Here, we’ll be covering every aspect of studying in Germany, from picking the best course to enrolling at a German university. Read on to know more. 

Students from all over the world come to Germany to pursue their higher education. You’ll be surprised to know that over 400,000 international students enrol at German universities every year. And, there’s not one reason that draws them to Germany, there are several reasons why international students prefer Germany over other countries to study abroad. So, if you’re one of the international students who’s living the dream of studying in Germany day and night, we created this 10 Steps guide.

1. Pick a study program that suits your requirements

First things first, you need to be clear about the subject you want to study abroad or the course you want to pursue. The best thing about studying in Germany is that German universities offer a broad range of courses and study programs. And, if you’re fortunate enough, there is a high chance that you’ll find a degree program to match your need. 

You can check the individual websites of different German universities to find detailed information regarding the study programs along with a summary of their curriculum. 

Make sure you go through the information carefully and do not miss out on any vital information. This will help you understand the study program better and see if it matches your requirement. You cannot afford to miss this step. In case you do, you might end up enrolling for a course that’s completely opposite to the course you want to pursue. 

For instance, a study program may comprise of the same subjects you want to pursue. However, there might be a difference in the teaching style. While you’re looking for more theoretical knowledge, the course might be offering practical training and learning. 

The list of universities in Germany is endless. So, you can rest assured that you will surely find a course that syncs with what you’re looking for. Don’t rush over the decision. Take time and decide carefully. Put together a list of universities that you’ve shortlisted so you can make an informed decision. The problem of plenty is always there. 

For some students, instead of the subjects being offered, the location of the German university might be a point of concern. In that case, you can scan the German universities basis the regions and choose accordingly.

2. Check the university and course requirements

Once you’ve cracked the study program you want to pursue, compile the important documents that you’ll be required to present along with your application. 

The requirement of each German university is different. So, don’t take this part for granted. Just because one of the universities you shortlisted did not ask for your insurance details, doesn’t mean the next one will not ask for it too. German universities follow the “to each his own” formula. Guess what? There is a high chance that even within the same university, the requirements might vary across different study programs. 

The German universities require the following documents during admission:

  • Your grades
  • Your language proficiency certificate
  • The degree of your latest qualification
  • The entrance qualification
  • Your passport photographs

In case you’re not a native speaker, the university would require you to fulfil some minimum criteria for language proficiency and your grades. If your language proficiency score and grades are not above the cut-off list, your chances of getting an admission call might get diminished. 

If you are an international student, the grades in your home country will be converted according to the grading system of German universities. Also, if your latest qualification belongs to a country other than Norway, EU, Switzerland, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, your candidature might be rejected. 

If you find yourself in this scenario, you’ll have to sit for the foundation course to become eligible for admission to a German university. You’ll have to attend the Studienkolleg which lasts for two semesters. In case you show exemplary performance during the first year, you’ll be exempted from the second year. 

To enrol for the foundation course, you’ll have to pass an entrance examination. Once the course is over, you’ll also be tested for your proficiency in the subject that you’ve chosen for your study program. 

An exception

If students who wish to pursue study programs related to art showcase brilliant artistic skills, they may not be asked to present the entrance qualifications.

3. Make sure you are proficient in the required language(s)

To understand the lectures, you must have adequate knowledge regarding the language in which the study courses will be taught. At German universities, a majority of the courses are taught in the native language, i.e., Germany. However, there are several courses that are taught in English, as well. 

As already mentioned above, the language proficiency requirements may vary across universities. So, before you start preparing yourself for the language proficiency evaluation, make sure you know the scores you must aim for. 

Here’s a list of German language proficiency tests that are most commonly used to check a candidate’s proficiency in the German language:

  • Goethe Institut German Language Diploma
  • Test of German as a Foreign Language

German Language Diploma of the Standing Conference of Education and Cultural Affairs, Level II (DSD)

4. Collect all your documents

This is another essential point. Your university application is a golden opportunity, and if you miss even a single document, you may get rejected. 

Once you have the list of requirements in front of you, collect each and every document and organize them in a file. Check multiple times to be sure that all your documents are in place. 

The entire process can be tiresome. But don’t give up. This is your only chance to pursue your dream course in Germany.

5. Apply on time

Once you’ve collected all your documents in a file and checked them multiple times, you’re all set to complete your admission application. 

Almost all the German universities have a separate admission information section for international students on their website where they can also upload their application and other required documents. Most of the German universities use UniAssist to process the admission applications. 

In the case of German universities, the courses are offered in two different semesters: The Summer and Winter semesters. The application deadlines may vary across universities or even the academic levels. 

Generally, the deadlines for submitting the admission applications are:

  • June-July for the preceding winter semester
  • January-February for the preceding summer semester

6. Don’t lose your patience while you wait for the admission results

Once you’ve submitted your admission application, you need to be patient while waiting for the admission letter. Seriously, at this stage of the admission process, it’s extremely important to maintain you cool and just be patient. 

It’s not the right time to fret, get hassled, or press the panic button. German universities receive millions of applications every year and manually going through each is a time-consuming process. It may take up to four to five weeks for the university to get back to you with an update on your admission application.

7. Arrange finances to fund your study course

As an international student, you need funds to study in Germany and stay in Germany during the course of your study program. Moreover, you already know that you’ll be required to submit proof of your financial resources while applying for the study visa. 

Although you don’t need to showcase your financial assets during the admission process, some German universities may ask you to present proof of your financial well-being to pursue higher students in Germany. 

As per the present German regulations, as an international student, you must have at least €720 every month in your bank account to sustain your living during your study program in Germany. 

Here’re a few ways you can prove your financial well-being to study in Germany:

  • Scholarship from a recognised organisation
  • A proof of your parent’s income
  • A proof of the financial backing from a private sponsor
  • A bank deposit at a “Blocked Account”

Important things to note:

  • In case you planning to finance your study program with the help of a scholarship, you’ll have to prove that the scholarship provider is a recognised organisation. 
  • In case an individual, let’s say, a business is willing to fund your studies in Germany, you’ll have to prove your relationship with them. 
  • The “Blocked Account” is a unique type of bank account that foreign students can register for and use to deposit money as proof of their financial stability. You must deposit a minimum balance of €8700 in the Blocked Account. Wondering why it is referred to as a Blocked Account? That’s because an international student cannot access it before their arrival. 

8. Make sure you have health insurance to your name

Health insurance is mandatory for every individual living in Germany, including international students. Similar to proving your financial resources, you need to prove that you have health insurance to your name to study and reside in Germany. 

If you’ve bought health insurance in your home country, make sure it covers you while you’re in Germany.  If you happen to be a citizen of an EEA or EU country, your EHIC card will cover all your medical needs. 

The following health insurances are available in Germany:

  • Private health insurance
  • Public health insurance

Things to consider while picking health insurance in Germany:

  • The monthly premium for a Public Health Insurance can range from €100 to €110 (increasing in 2020) per month, depending on the healthcare insurance provider. 
  • On the other hand, getting a Private Health Insurance can be a bit cheaper. The monthly premium varies based on your medical needs and would be around €30 – €60 per month.

9. Look for appropriate accommodation in Germany

Once you’ve received the admission confirmation and completed your visa formalities, the next big challenge is finding suitable accommodation for yourself in Germany. The first option of mostly all international students are the university residence hall. However, rooms for international students are limited. So, before you land in Germany for your study program, make sure you have a list of suitable accommodation ready. 

There are several websites and online resources that can give you information regarding the rentals and other details. Even if you don’t want to rent accommodation online, you will at least get an idea about the area, rates, facilities being offered, etc.

10. Enrol yourself at the university

This is the last step to becoming a German student. Here’s a list of documents that you need to submit during the enrollment process:

  • The admission letter sent by the university. 
  • Proof of language proficiency. 
  • Proof of university entrance qualification. 
  • Proof of health insurance coverage. 
  • Passport size photographs. 

Since most of the German universities do not charge a tuition fee, there’s an enrollment fee that you’ll have to bear. The enrollment fee can vary between €150 and €250. You may also have to shell out an additional €100 for the free public transport ticket.

Conclusion

Make sure you understand the 10 important points mentioned in the article before you finalize your plan regarding pursuing your higher studies from Germany. It’s not as easy as you’re probably thinking. It’s an entire journey that comes with several roadblocks. So, if you want to avoid the roadblocks and sail through the process easily, make sure all your documents are in place. Even if one document is missing, your application could get rejected.