Heading over to study abroad in Germany for an advanced degree is the rave of the moment for international students. And for good reason. You have heard good things about the country and these are enough to push you too as a Nigerian to explore the advantages of higher education in Germany.
This is to the extent that Germany is now widely regarded as the top study destination for international students who wish to study abroad. What’s so special, you might ask? A volley of reasons is attributed to why a majority of international students might select the powerful nation as an apt location for education. As a teaser to this fact, it has been recorded by studyingingermany.org that the number of international students who study abroad in German universities peaks at 400,000.
Amidst the giddiness that you feel about the exciting experience waiting for you in the form of German academics and culture, you need to test yourself in being familiar with the general and specific requirements that are necessary for international students to apply for studies in Germany. One step further, you should also find out if there are country-specific requirements to study abroad in Germany as a Nigerian. Usually, this is not the case, but you can’t be too sure. Better safe than sorry!
You should also not forget to inquire about the peculiarity of a study in Germany visa, otherwise known as a student visa for the country you have chosen.
Before you saddle yourself with these, however, it is quaint to understand some things that make Germany so attractive to international students. In other words, what’s so special about Deutschland (another name for Germany) and its system of higher education that makes international students want to test their spirit of adventure by packing their bags and bid farewell, albeit a temporary one in some cases, to their home country?
Why International Students Are Often Attracted To German Life and Higher Education
Despite being a super economy in the European Union, Germany is quite an easy country to live in - one of the easiest in Europe. This extends to the ease this provides for study purposes. Germany offers the perfect avenue to enjoy a full and interesting life, replete with memorable experiences, especially for an international student exploring German life through education abroad.
- The majority of international students who apply to German universities do so because of the tuition-free policy of the country for its public universities. The country is one of the most progressive in Europe in terms of this policy that attracts international students to apply from all the corners of the world. As a matter of fact, this, and other reasons, is the motivation for most Nigerians who apply to acquire an advanced degree abroad in Europe. In an article by Business Day Newspaper, it was shown that the reason most Nigerians choose Germany for their studies (often postgraduate) is that they believe that they stand a better chance (tuition-wise) of studying there than most countries broad, especially in Europe where most want to get an education from because of the educational standard.
- Germany has a long and rich history that is filled with art, culture, and historical evidence left by way of monuments and historical landmarks. These aspects of German culture create a surreal experience for tourists and international students alike who are thrilled to test the famed vicarious thrill of the significance of the depiction of the Roman goddess of victory as carved on the Brandenburg Gate, which in itself is a symbol of German-Roman reunification. Also, the iconic Cold War history behind the Berlin Wall, the quaintness of the Imperial Baths of Trier, and many others.
- The language barrier is not as challenging and rigid as in some other non-English speaking European countries. So, it’s a plus for you to be able to converse with Germans who have sufficient proficiency to communicate in English. This even encourages many international students to learn the language by volition, although, by standard, it is required for you to have the intermediate level of proficiency in German- the B1 level test. In all, this sets you up for an inclusive experience of German life.
- It is relatively affordable to live in Germany as the cost of living per month is capped at 850 EUR, one of the lowest figures in Europe. For the consciously frugal student, however, this can be even lower, allowing you to work out your savings while still enjoying the basic necessities of accommodation, food, clothing, books, health insurance etc., as they apply to you. The affordability of living in urban cities like Berlin, Bonn, Dresden, and Leipzig is the index of the relatively low cost of living in Germany.
- You can easily augment your financial resources by tapping into the study/work option that allows you to work alongside your studies for up to 120 days or 240 half days a year. By doing this, you can earn as much as 450 EUR/month from whatever work you choose, a large chunk of your monthly living expenses.
- You have more options with your student visa, which allows you to travel further abroad to explore all the countries in the Schengen area. Even when you do not want to stray so far, it’s delightful to know that Germany is bordered by such interesting countries like The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, and Austria, making you want to put the multiple functions of your student visa to the test even more.
A Step By Step Guide To The Requirements To Study In Germany
In order to achieve a successful application process into a German university and, by extension, German life, there are crucial steps to be mindful of. With the step-by-step guide outlined below, it should be easy for you to keep track of what to do at every critical stage of your application process.
One: Choose From The Numerous Courses And Programmes Offered
With German universities offering a large number of competitive programmes and courses, this first step might make you meander with indecision, especially if you plan to apply for a Bachelor’s degree. For a Master’s degree, you might need to consider the smorgasbord of specialisations that are related to your first degree. Making your choice, of course, is the first tangible step to initiating your higher education plans in Germany.
You would need to consider the following:
- The background and status of the university chosen
- The nature and content of the chosen programme
- Tangentially, the location of the university
- The language in which the course is taught.
Two: Ask A Lot Of Questions
It is common to hear a Nigerian subscribe to the multi-cultural adage that refers to one not losing his way if he always asks for directions. Questions about the aspects of student life are crucial to helping you understand what could affect your transition into German university life, particularly because they apply to you. Questions about:
- the application process
- student accommodation options
- self-financing options (work/study opportunities)
- scholarship or funding opportunities by the country or the specific university
- language requirements and the relevant test or tests for these
- deadlines for application periods
- how foreign-earned degrees and diplomas (WAEC certificate) are evaluated
- the fees and semester dues, even if your university is tuition-free.
N.B: When not sure at any point, you can test your communication with your university by emailing them to provide clarifications. They should be glad to answer any of your questions.
Three: Scrutinise The Entry Requirements
The requirements for enrolment into a German university are usually similar between different universities. This is because the higher education system and universities in Germany often work with a unified application system that helps you apply with ease without necessarily having to explore the universities one by one.
Here, you have access to information ranging from checklists to deadlines, from FAQs to specific information about the universities on the database.
It is also important to apply in advance in order to allow the appropriate body to evaluate your application and verify the documents attached to it.
Four: Assemble And Triple Check Your Application Documents
It is always advisable to have your documents, especially your academic records (WAEC certificate, university certificate and transcripts) ready. In the event that you don’t, kick-start the process of retrieving it from your university in Nigeria immediately such that at the end, you always have a bit of time to spare. Don’t fall for the rush. Something usually goes amiss.
When these are ready, make sure to have the copies certified, as only certified copies of application documents are allowed in the German application process.
Secondarily but equally importantly, have these at the ready also:
- A passport photograph
- A photocopy of your international passport (cover page)
- Relevant language certificate (usually German language proficiency)
- Application fee
Six: Bide Your Time
After your application is submitted, all you can do is wait. While this might test your patience, a period of time usually elapses before the result of your application and admission status is made public. In the meantime, try to recline in the hope that you did your best in creating a stellar application.
Bonus Step: Network With Other Applicants Or Existing Students In Your University Of Choice.
Before you hesitate about the plausibility of this, remember the world now spins on the axis of interconnectedness through social networking sites. Use Facebook groups, Instagram pages, Twitter, and others to your advantage to connect with people with similar interests, especially to envisage what your experience in Germany would be like.
Studying abroad in a new country is indeed a great step. You have chosen to study abroad in Germany for a reason. Your international status as an aspiring student in Germany provides perquisites that are hard to find in other countries in Europe. That is why you should ensure, as much as is within your power, that your application process does work out as glitch-free as possible. In no time, you’ll be stepping onto German soil, ready as a sponge to soak up the best of German life, culture, and education.