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Study in Berlin: 3 Reasons To Get Your Degree Here

As a recent (very proud) graduate of a Berlin university, debt shackled from a very expensive degree from a UK university, I feel duty-bound to give all foreign Berliners some information about studying in Germany and why it might be the right thing for you.

Let’s start with the biggie:

1. It’s Free

Following a decision in Lower Saxony in 2014, students can enjoy tuition-fee free education at all public universities. Having flirted with fee-paying for several years from 2006, the decision in Lower Saxony is the last nail in the tuition fee coffin. This makes for favourable reading for students from countries with a more free-market approach to education, especially Australia, Singapore, the US and the UK (the top four most expensive countries to get an undergraduate education according to HSBC). The fact that students here can study for free usually comes with accusations that it is responsible for German students typically laidback approach to completing all their courses in order to graduate. This, it turns out, is something of a myth. In the US, approximately 60% of the students that graduate from public universities in the US (yes, only 60% get to the end) half of that group take longer than the planned four years to graduate. The myth of Dauerstudenten (permanent students) suggests that Germany’s free education system encourages students to complete their degrees more slowly. The fact is that the majority of German students at public universities complete their undergraduate degrees in four years.

2. Consistent Quality Degrees

Unlike Australia, Singapore, the US and the UK, degrees from German universities are of a consistently good quality. In some countries the divide between ‘top’ universities and less well respected institutions is so extreme that some employers advertise for candidates with a degree from preferred schools. Whether or not this is warranted is unclear, but what is clear is that students graduating with a degree from a German university can be confident that employers will consider their degree on par with degrees from other intuitions. A quick shout out here to two Berlin universities which make it into the global top 150 (Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin); but there’s also excellence at the Technische Universität Berlin which has an impressive 20% international student body as well as at the smaller, specialist institutions.

3. Excellent Employment Prospects

The world has fallen apart for most students that have graduated since the financial collapse in 2008. And with more and more students choosing to study for a degree, the competition for graduate-level work is tougher than ever. In fact, latest figures reveal that in the UK and US, around half of all graduates fail to find graduate-level work a year after completing their studies. In Germany, the figure is 7%. You read that correctly – just 7% of students that graduate from German universities with bachelor’s degrees find themselves working in jobs that require less education. This, coupled with the 4% total unemployment rate for graduates overall and the average starting salary of 33,650EUR, makes for reassuring reading for those contemplating making the plunge in Germany.

4. Berlin is a Student City

You might have the impression that Berliners are mostly hanging out in parks, roaming from one open air party to the next, well at least now the sun is out. But the reality is that Berlin is Germany’s most popular student city with 160,000 students and, 25,774 students from other German states in 2010/11, making it the most popular destination for students in the country. Like all good student cities, Berlin is popular for the reason it’s popular with so many foreigners moving here: rent is cheap, people are open and there’s a huge number of museums, theatres and libraries to make studying in Berlin worthwhile. If I have tickled your fancy, you can find out about the range of courses taught in English at Berlin universities and high education institutions here which should help get you started.

Be brave, it’s worth it!

By Sarah Coughlan
Sarah Coughlan is a Berlin-based British writer, proofreader, editor and book reader. She has lived in Berlin for around three years. She now lives in Wedding with her cat. She’s OK with this.
You can find her at: www.bulletproofed.org where she hides her academic proofreading business.

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