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Study Abroad in Germany- 5 tips nobody tells you

November 25, 2021

hey there, I'm Amy!

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Hi! I'm a travel blogger from Vancouver, recently moved to Germany for grad school . I've previously studied abroad in Beijing and Seoul, and I'm SO excited to share my journey in Europe with you!! 

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We all move abroad with big dreams: traveling all the time, tossing a graduation cap, landing a big girl job, etc. However, small things matter the most sometimes, and this applies to decisions you make when you get a master's degree in Germany. GPA, motivation letter, and visa are all extremely important, but what about how your life will look when you actually move here? Here are 5 key things to consider when getting a master's degree in Germany.

 

Study Abroad Germany tips #1: Make sure to think about whether you want to live in a big or a small city.

Having lived in big cities for most of my life, I was pretty surprised when I first moved to Tuebingen. A lot of convenience factors that I took for granted were gone. For example, there’s no wifi in some buildings on campus (if not extremely slow), and technology companies such as Doordash, Uber, Hellofresh, and many more haven’t reached this town yet to offer services.

It’s definitely fun to live in a student town where nearly half of the population are students. Everyone is so friendly, they are not in a rush, and the overall atmosphere is quiet. Perfect for a student lifestyle!

One thing I learned that is positive is that in Germany, companies’ HQ and offices are less centralized, so it’s easy to get a job even if you live in a small town. Yes, there are many job opportunities in Berlin and Munich but so are there in smaller cities like Stuttgart.

That being said, there is still a stark difference between East and West Germany in terms of career opportunities, so you need to think about that. Here’s the map of the prominent German companies' HQ.

If you are planning to travel a lot, you should remember some airports in Germany have more flights that are cheaper (ex. Wizz Air). In addition, it’s easier to go to airports from certain cities. For instance, Koeln has multiple airports nearby.

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Study Abroad Germany tips 2: Think about whether you want to attend a private or a public school.

I think most Canadians who move to Germany a couple of years after working (which is my case) opt for attending a private business school. This makes sense because there are more resources for non-German speakers at these private schools, providing more courses and networking opportunities in English. Private schools offer smaller classes and more support; some of the excellent business schools are WHU, HHL Leipzig, ESMT Berlin.

Most private schools are business schools, but there are a couple of private medical schools (ex. Witten-Herdecke) too.

However, most Germans attend public school, and I also decided to go for this. Almost all public universities are free, except for the ones in Baden-Wuerttemberg, and even these are pretty affordable. Since acceptance to these public universities is often unrestricted, a lot of students end up registering, which leads to a bigger class size, and it's difficult to graduate on time.

Heinrich (a famous German youtuber/ ex-consultant) from Firm Learning often talks about his experiences studying in top schools in Europe and his work experiences, so check it out below!

Study Abroad Germany tips 3: Plan your exchange semester ahead.

Going on an exchange semester is a competitive process here in Germany, so you should plan ahead, talk to an international semester coordinator months ahead of time. If you are doing a master’s degree, you’ll have to apply to go on exchange two months into your master’s program.

However, since attending a German university is free (or inexpensive), you can study at a foreign university that would otherwise require a hefty tuition fee to attend. For example, going to the US to study would cost a lot of money if you were to pay the regular tuition at the American institution.

 

Study Abroad Germany tips 4: Not all universities are “equal” in Germany.

Do you know that German children are separated into three different education systems after grade 4? They get divided into Gymnasium, Realschule, and Hauptschule depending on their academic aptitude and preference.

This is true for post-secondary education as well in Germany, where students can decide from different educational streams. They can choose from Universities, technical universities, applied science schools, or even do an apprenticeship or a duales studium where you work and study simultaneously. Universities in Germany offer much more theoretical studies, whereas applied science school teaches practical knowledge. Technical schools are where you can study specific areas such as natural sciences, engineering, and management (sometimes).

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Study Abroad Germany tips 5: Think about whether you want to go to a small or a big school/program.

Think about whether you want to go to a small or a big school/program.

Small classes provide opportunities to meet people easily and connect with classmates and professors. For that reason, smaller schools tend to have a strong sense of community and easy access to personalized assistance.

On the other hand, big schools have more diversity and a wider range of student activities to choose from. This can be really important if you want to meet a diverse group of people, other international students, rather than being the only non-German speaker in class. There are also more academic choices and freedom in bigger schools/programs.

 

Conclusion

Adjusting to a new school system on top of exploring new cities and the culture can feel overwhelming. You can read about tips on how to afford your studies and many more in my previous posts. I hope you found this guide helpful and make the best decision while planning your study abroad journey in Germany!

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hey there, I'm Amy!

Categories

Hi! I'm a travel blogger from Vancouver, recently moved to Germany for grad school . I've previously studied abroad in Beijing and Seoul, and I'm SO excited to share my journey in Europe with you!! 

Travel in Europe

Travel in Asia

Studying in Germany

popular posts

8 TRADITIONAL GERMAN BREAKFAST YOU SHOULD TRY

self care & mindset

food x Travel

Study in Germany

Blogging

uncategorized

5 TIPS ON MAKING MONEY WHILE STUDYING ABROAD IN GERMANY

7 BEST TRIP PLANNING WEBSITES FOR FEMALE TRAVELER

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