While many prospective students tend to think of the United Kingdom and the United States first when considering where in the world they want to study – as these countries have the best institutions, according to most rankings – a new study argues that Germany is now their best bet in Europe.
The study, conducted by Study.EU, showed that Germany came out on top with a total score of 80.7 out of 100 – far ahead of the UK and France, which were scored at 75.8 and 68.6, respectively. Last year Germany also took the top spot.
30 European countries were ranked in the study according to three categories: education, costs, and life and career.
Addressing the quality of education offered in Germany, CEO of Study.EU Gerrit Blöss told The Local that the country has a large number of higher education institutions which are ranked well in international rankings.
Blöss pointed out that while the UK still comes on top in typical university rankings, German higher education schools received much better teaching scores than their UK rivals.
“Where Germany has made a considerable improvement is in the number of courses offered in English. While the UK and Ireland dominate this metric, offering almost all courses in English, Germany is second only to the Netherlands in the amount of courses students can study in English,” he said.
Offering more and more courses in English is something that will remain important in the years to come, added Blöss, referring to the issue in Germany of an increasing number of domestic students going abroad and the country having to attract more international students.
Nearly 2,000 of the 18,000 post-secondary courses to choose from in Germany cater to students from abroad in that they're conducted in the English language. 12 percent of the country's students are foreign.
Cost of education is another factor which made Deutschland stand out over countries like the UK, France, Switzerland and Sweden.
“Germany’s offer of mostly tuition-free, world-class universities remains hard to outrank,” writes Study.EU in its press release.
Students at state-run universities in Germany – both local and international students – do not pay tuition fees, but rather, simple administrative fees of between €100 and €500 per semester that also cover their public transportation costs.
Meanwhile in the costs category the UK came in last place due to its “prohibitively high cost of living and tuition fees.”
Life and career
In the third category of the ranking, which looked at life and career prospects for foreign graduates, Germany did “really well” although there’s “always room for improvement,” said Blöss.
An important aspect to this category, he explained, is that it covers the needs and interests of those who wish to study in Germany and go home afterwards as well as those who want to stay in the country – the majority of whom happen to be from Africa or Asia.
Graduates in the Bundesrepublik can stay up to 18 months after their studies come to an end. This is far longer than in the UK, where non-EU students are typically only allowed to stay for a few months after their studies wrap up.
Career prospects for international graduates in Germany can be further developed, according to Blöss, particularly when it comes to the “integration of students into the job market.”
But both graduates and universities play an important role with regards to this, he said.
An ideal situation for the integration of foreign students into the German workplace, according to Blöss, would be if institutions offered sufficient programmes in English and if graduates were able to to speak the local language.