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Foreign students in Germany: why they come and if they plan to stay

Many of the world’s best and brightest come to Germany to study - but why? A study seen exclusively by The Local took a deeper look at the profile of the country's prospective international students.

Foreign students in Germany: why they come and if they plan to stay
Internationals come from far and wide to study in Germany - particularly because of the low costs. Photo: DPA

The survey by online site Studying-in-Germany of over 4,000 prospective students to Germany found that the decision to seek higher education in Deutschland most often comes down to money. 

35.3 percent of respondents said that they came to Germany for the low-to-no cost of studying at Germany’s universities, as opposed to spending thousands of dollars in their home country.
Low fees are the reason 35.3 percent of international students chose Germany for the academic home. Photo: Studying-in-Germany
Almost as high on the list of deciding factors is Germany’s renowned academic reputation, which 29.3 percent of prospective students claimed as their chief reason for picking a uni in the Bundesrepublik. 
Additional factors listed in the report were the wide availability of English-language programmes at 20.4 percent, and the beauty of Germany’s landscape at 15.1 percent. 
Studying-in-Germany founder Besart Bajrami told The Local Germany that it comes as no surprise that Germany is a hotspot for students: “Germany is always an ideal destination for young people, and not just for studying purposes, but also for leisure, travelling and working.”
Concerning their long term plans after a German education, a whopping 69.2 percent of respondents said that they planned to look for a job in Germany in order to stay beyond their graduation. 
Almost 70% of international students plan to live in Germany for a longer time, which the study believes is due to higher job prospects. Photo: Studying-in-Germany
This is compared to 16.5 percent that said they plan to go to their home countries when their studies are complete and 14.3 percent who will take some off-time to vacation before ultimately heading home. 
According to Bajrami, international students have a lot to gain from their time in Germany. “Students from developing countries in Asia and Europe see staying in Germany as a solution to a more secure financial well-being because of its thriving economy, job market, and excellent quality of life.”
This international influx could do wonders for the German economy too, he claimed. “Germany needs young and skilled workers to keep its economy going”, Bajrami said, adding that, “international students bring a lot of economic benefits to Germany during their studies as consumers and part time workers.”
The study also looked into how students from abroad expected to finance their stay in Germany. It found that the majority will be hitting the pavement in hopes of a part time job alongside their studies. 
37.5 percent of prospective students plan to work while studying in Germany, an effect that founder Bajrami thinks benefits Germany. Photo: Studying in Germany
37.5 percent of prospective students surveyed would work part time along with their school responsibilities, while 29 percent would be able to support themselves from personal funds and 24.3 percent would live off of scholarships.
Only 9.2 percent planned to take out student loans – a stark contrast compared to nearly 70% of US college students in 2017.
Bajrami's outlook for these prospective international students is quite positive. For those from abroad who receive their German degree, he believes Germany has “a lot of demand and available jobs for qualified international students in fields such as Technology, Medicine, Science, and Engineering.”

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A pupils sits a desk at a school in Wedemark, Lower Saxony, earlier this year.
A pupils sits a desk at a school in Wedemark, Lower Saxony, earlier this year. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Moritz Frankenberg