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In numbers: Who are Germany's international students?

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In numbers: Who are Germany's international students?
International Student Day at the Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) in 2015. Photo: DPA

According to the latest official data, international students now make up nearly 15 percent of Germany's student population. Who are they?


Based on the latest official enrollment data, the number of international students attending German universities has increased to 393,579 as of winter semester 2018/19, reports

The highest number of international students was recorded in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, with 12,882 foreign students who enrolled in the former, and 10,472 in the latter.

The top countries from which Germany's international students hail are China, Turkey, India, Italy, Russia, Austria, Ukraine, Syria, Iran, and France.

International enrollment has greatly expanded recent years following the abolishment of international fees in 2014, and the latest data show no change in this trend.

Where do they study?

According to the latest official statistics provided by Germany's national statistical agency Destatis, there were 393,579 non-German students as of the 2018/19 winter semester studying alongside their local peers at German universities.

Compared to the number of all higher education enrollees in Germany, it means overseas students account for 14 percent of the total student population.

Most of these students were studying at universities (257,089) including 90,879 first-year students, whereas another 122,625 students were studying at colleges (Fachschule).

The statistics reveal a slight gender disparity, with male students comprising 53 percent (206,961) of the total numbers compared to (186,618) female students.

What do they study?

Engineering remains the most attractive subject to study for international students in Germany.

As of 2018/19, German engineering schools counted a number of 32,373 non-German students. The number of male students in engineering-related degree courses is still higher compared to that of females.

Chinese university students on an exchange program with the Hasso Plattner Institute for engineering and IT in Potsdam. Photo: DPA

However, statistics reveal a slight increase of the later (from 8,965 to 9,140) between two successive winter semesters, 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Law, business and social sciences are also very popular, as there were 26,997 international students studying for a university degree in one of these subjects as of winter semester 2018/19.

In contrast to engineering, in law, business and social sciences female students are the dominant group in the international student population.

Given that, statistics show that last year 16,008 foreign female students were studying for either a law, business or social science degree in Germany.

Humanities, mathematics and natural sciences also appear to be attractive. Enrollment data collected as of 2018/19 winter semester shows that there are 11,688 international students seeking a degree in humanities, and 8,622 in mathematics and natural sciences.

'Alongside the best in the world'

Destatis’ preliminary annual statistics show that the majority (59,723) of current first-year international students are studying at universities, while the rest of 28,259 freshmen are enrolled in vocational training.

In many key global university rankings, German universities stand alongside the best in the world.

SEE ALSO: These are the German universities with the best global ranking

On one hand, there are low or no international fees applied at all, and on the other, the cost of living in Germany for international students is very affordable.

Germany is building a strong standpoint in the international higher education competition as it is continuously attracting ambitious and talented students from all across the globe.

Moreover, Germany proudly stands among the top five most popular study destinations in the world.

These along with many other reasons make studying in Germany very good value for money.

By Granit Sadiku from Studying In Germany



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