Study in a German University
In 2017, I joined my husband, who moved to Germany for work, 3 months before me. I had experience in Sales and Marketing in a financial institution and so I started the job search almost immediately. I later decided to study for my Masters after getting to know the immense benefit of studying in Germany which I will share with you in this blog post.
There are different types of of University in German. The first one is called a normal German universities (Universität in German), the second is called University of Applied Science (Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften in German) and the third one is called Academy of Music, Art and film.
The main difference is that, Universities are a research driven institution and they focus on theory more than practical whereas the university of Applied Science focus on application of research. So, if you are looking to study courses like engineering and courses that are really hands-on, University of Applied sciences might be what you want. On the other hand, if you are looking to study courses like Medicine, teaching and the likes, you might want to check out normal German Universities.
Another difference I noticed is that most of the courses offered in a normal German university especially Masters courses are tuition free and the reverse is the case for University of Applied Sciences. Also, due to the tuition you have to pay at some courses at the University of Applied Science, the number of semesters is fixed as opposed to a normal University which is flexible.
There are no major differences apart from these after graduation and when looking for a job even though I learnt that normal German universities, due to their age and how long they have been here for tend to resonate with employers and HR.
So here are what I think about studying in Germany
I studied Mathematics for my Bachelors and worked for a few years before relocating and so I thought I could apply for Masters in Marketing or something related. Epic fail.
You need knowledge experience to apply for courses for your Master studies
I tried to apply to lots of schools and I kept hearing the same thing. They asked for my transcript and asked for the number of course points called ETCS I have in the course of choice. Since my Bachelors was in Mathematics, I started looking for courses related to that. I saw lots of courses related but I wanted something practical for a change and so I applied for the only course that sounded as such ( it still ended up being a Major Mathematical course, another story for another day).
To study in a German University is free
Yeah. You get to study in a German University for free. For most courses especially in a normal German university. You just have to pay for a semester contribution which is different for different schools. This also covers your transport around town. If you are funding your studies using a blocked account from your country, you will be able pay for this from the monthly inflow from the blocked account.
Have you see this: She had to leave Germany back to Nigeria after her Masters studies
Flexible study time.
Even though, when you apply for a course in Germany, you are given the minimum number of semesters needed to complete the studies, however, you can choose to extend as long as you want even though this is not advised. For my first semester, I wanted to take 4 courses at a go but later decided against it as the work load was too much for me. I needed to to be able to study well and also have time for my family as I am married. I understand that not everyone has that luxury of time but it is good to know that it is an option.
Also, due to the fact that student also work on a part time basis, taking fewer courses is quite common.
You can apply for leave of absence
I got pregnant towards the end of my second semester, I went ahead to a German course, level A2 during my the third semester. I would have loved to take more courses but I decided against it due to the state of my health. After my third semester, I took a maternity leave for 1 semester. All I needed to apply for this was the book that had all my medical history during my pregnancy so far as I already was months gone into pregnancy even though I had to pay for the semester contribution for that semester minus the fee that covers for transport.
Have you seen this: Walk around Berlin City with us-
You get a Kita/creche for your child.
If not for the pandemic that hit in 2020, I would have taken my son to the creche that is attached to my University. Every school has a creche called Kita in German which serves employees and also students. Infact, I was looking forward to this and already made inquiries before the lock down happened. This is really great as getting a Kita is a city like Berlin is quite tasking.
You do not have to attend lectures.
That is quite shocking right? I was shocked too when I noticed not all students attend classes and the lecturers are not bothered, or do not appear to be. Like I said earlier, lots of students work part time and so they skip classes sometimes. Some might just pop in to submit exercises, ask questions and that is it for the day. The beginning of the semester is when classes are really full as student come to class to see the structure of the lecture and if they are interested in taking the course. Once that is established, the number of attendance tend to drop especially if the lecturer promises to always upload lecture notes weekly on the course website. For me, I made sure to attend lectures diligently, partly because I wasn't working a student job and mostly because i needed to get used to the lecture pattern. I also additionally went to lecturers office hours to ask questions about topics that are unclear to me.
Have you this: (Day in the life of an African living in Germany-
Lecturers are really approachable
Unlike my country of origin, Nigeria, where I did my Bachelors, I noticed that lecturers her in Germany are ready and willing to answer questions and take feedback. This was really new to me as what I was used to was that lecturers would give out lectures and the students are not meant to oppose whatever is been said.
How to apply?
Most schools will usually ask that International students apply via uni-assist, which is a body whose core responsibility is the evaluation of international school and university certificates and determining their equivalence to German educational standards. Every school has its own requirement and so, please do well to check on the information on the course website to verify.
I could go on and on as regards to my experience with schooling as an International student in Germany and so I will keep you posted on my journey here in Germany.
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Talk to you soon.