• Germany's news in English
 

German gets diploma - 40 years after enrolling

Published: 05 Oct 2012 08:00 GMT+02:00

When Kahmann, from North Rhine-Westphalia, started his degree at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences it was 1973, Willy Brandt was still the chancellor, Watergate was setting the international media alight - and he was a full four decades younger.

While most students - especially in Germany - take a few years to complete a degree, life got in the way for Kahmann, who told the paper that he “de-matriculated and re-matriculated three times between then and now.”

Kahmann's student ID number was six figures long when he got his first card in 1973 - new students now have an eight-figure number.

“It was nice to have finally managed to get it done,” he added. Relief indeed, after sitting a grand total of 68 exams over his academic career.

“If I had moved to Cologne I would have just got my studying done,” but instead the 61-year-old father decided to commute in from the nearby town of Siegburg, where his girlfriend, football club and bowling team all kept him rooted at home.

The first time Kahmann put his diploma on hold, he broke his leg playing football. The second time, it was 1984 and his daughter was born so he took time out to help raise her. “Then in 2004 when student fees were introduced, I de-matriculated again.”

In 2011, the fee system changed and Kahmann found himself with his nose in a book one again. But this time, it was for real – he earned his diploma a year later, even though the university did not even run the course anymore.

There would be downsides to being a graduate though, he said. “Paying for public transport and not getting reduced tickets for the zoo,” being two of Kahmann's complaints.

Despite taking so long, Kahmann has been working since 1978 as a freelance engineer and draftsman.

“My daughter told me recently that she, aged 27 and with a brilliant job, wants to go and study,” he said. “I just told her that she should see it through to the end.”

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

08:59 October 5, 2012 by lucksi
I was gonna get an engineering diploma, but then I got high...was the first thing to come to mind
16:38 October 6, 2012 by Morseman
Back in the 1970s I knew many German "eternal students" (ewige Studente). I could never figure out how they survived financially. The company I worked for recruited several men with doctorates in their mid to late thirties, who had never had a job, but they became a Herr Doktor and a general pain in the posterior.
Today's headlines
Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'
Sudeten Germans practising traditional dance at a gathering in 2014. Photo: DPA

Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'

The Sudeten German Homeland Association has given up its claim to the group's former home in parts of the Czech Republic, quieting one of the final echoes of the Second World War. READ  

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan

Families Minister Manuela Schwesig confirmed on Sunday that she wants a new law allowing women to compare their wages with men doing similar work, provoking angry reactions from employers. READ  

Police wind down Bremen terror response
Heavily-armed police on patrol outside Bremen cathedral. Photo: DPA

Police wind down Bremen terror response

Police in Bremen said that the risk of a terrorist attack had been reduced in the city after they arrested two suspected arms dealers. The city remains under high alert, with special protection for the Jewish community. READ  

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone
Photo: DPA

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Sunday Greece's new hard-left government needs "a bit of time" but is committed to implementing necessary reforms to resolve its debt crisis. READ  

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo
Photo: DPA

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo

An estimated 375 people turned out for the Germany-based PEGIDA movement's first demonstration in Britain on Saturday, but were outnumbered by a 2,000-strong crowd of counter-protesters, police said. READ  

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote
Photo: DPA

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed Friday to "start working hard" to implement vital reforms in the stricken eurozone country, after Germany's parliament approved a four month extension to its bailout. READ  

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce
Photo: DPA

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared the killing of three government troops by pro Moscow rebels a "serious breach of the ceasefire", during a telephone call Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her office said. READ  

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps
Trouble at the top. Photo: DPA

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps

Germany's highest civil court ruled in favour of a man who swapped the carpet in his new apartment for parquet flooring, incurring the wrath of the retired couple who lived below him over his loud footsteps. READ  

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,157
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd