Germany has, in recent times, become a desired destination for international students to explore for study purposes. Be it for a bachelor's, master's, or PhD programme, international students throng there every year to bring their academic and professional goals to fruition. Nigerians are not an exception as it is the dream of many Nigerian students to study in Germany, considering the spew of advantages that come with obtaining a German degree.
With the increasing interest of international students (whether for undergraduate or postgraduate studies) to study in Germany, there can be quite some confusion about the requirements that are attached to this intention. However, there is no need to fret as the requirements for international students to apply to German universities, in this case, Nigerians, are more straightforward than you might think.
Why is Germany a good study location for International Students?
Germany is a country that has many good things to offer. From the stunning scenery to the excellent cuisine, from the low cost of living to the stellar educational system, Germany is truly a home to an interesting mix of advantages.
However, while all these features are impressive about Germany, the major reason international students are interested in Germany is established in the lines of obtaining a degree through one of its many high-standard universities. It is interesting that many international students, upon arriving in Germany for their studies, find that there are many other things to enjoy about the German culture that transcends just an academic interest.
But before this mighty step of migrating to this foreign land, international students are usually more preoccupied with the requirements that they need to take the first step in moving to Germany for their studies.
To get a bird's eye view of the study interest in Germany, here are some general reasons why international students are interested in applying for a German education and, more so, why they should be:
- Germany is home to some of the best high-ranked universities around the world.
- Tuition fees are incredibly low or, in some cases, free, as most universities are public-owned.
- German universities usually meet and exceed global higher education standards.
- The visa application process for international students to study for a programme in Germany is regarded as one of the most straightforward amongst other European countries.
- With an impressive array of outstanding academic programmes, German universities boast of the diversity reflected in their wide range of courses that meet the academic and professional desires of international students.
Making Preparations To Study in Germany
In preparing to migrate to Germany mainly for academic reasons, the first step that international students take is making the choice to even emigrate in the first place.
One of the most important things to do at the start of your preparations for German university education is to have a checklist of everything that is required of you to apply. This is rather crucial because, although the application process seems straightforward, it is easy to get confused as you get deeper into the process. Having a checklist, therefore, helps to keep the requirements for your specific programme which you have listed down at the fore of your mind, thereby creating a mental picture of what needs to be done.
Also important is that while the whole application process rests upon your application to your chosen university and, subsequently, your visa application, there are also sub-levels to these processes that will serve you well if you take them into account. Some of these are:
- Choosing the exact university to apply to and the course of study.
- Taking note of the general entry requirements for the university being applied to.
- Fulfilling the specific entry requirements for your chosen programme.
- Choosing the specific type of visa that applies to you.
Entry Requirements For Nigerians
As a Nigerian seeking to explore the educational quality that the German environment has to offer, you need to be familiar with the requirements that are indispensable to the success of your application.
After having chosen a university to apply to and from which you hope to earn your degree, your choice, of course, is next. As mentioned earlier, these two usually have general and specific entry requirements which are made available on the university's website. One of the attractive things about planning to study in Germany is that the country has a united database that allows you to easily search for the programme(s) that you want. Through this, there are about 2000 programmes to choose from, with more than 1000 programmes offered in English.
You would need to take note of the following to help guide you on what is generally required for entry into a German university:
- Depending on your level of education, you would need to provide your high school diploma for undergraduate studies or the transcripts from your Bachelor's degree in Nigeria in the case of postgraduate studies.
- A copy of your international passport, both as required by your university of choice and in preparation for acquiring a visa to study in Germany.
- A duly and accurately completed application form from the university.
- It would also be wise to have several passport photographs at the ready.
- On the note of language proficiency, Germany is rather flexible as your high school diploma (A credit pass in WAEC result) or Bachelor's degree is enough proficiency for English if your language of instruction was in English, of course. However, it is now a rule of thumb for you to be required to present some proof of proficiency in the German language.
Language Requirements For Studying In Germany
Since many European countries require certain proofs of language proficiency, many Nigerians also believe that this applies to Germany. This is usually not the case. Nevertheless, there are two things to take note of in determining whether proof of language proficiency is required to study in a German university or not.
First, while a large percentage of German universities operate with the German language, and courses solely taught in English are diminishing, and it is becoming rather inevitable to be proficient to some degree in the German language.
Note that this is only usually applicable to the universities in the country, as the majority of the German populace speak English quite fairly. However, it would not hurt to have some level of proficiency in speaking the local tongue as this can immerse you deeper into the cultural experience of this foreign land.
But I digress. As a result of the increasing number of international students who are already proficient in English to some degree, German universities are now requiring, quite loosely, that students have at least a minimum level of proficiency in the German language, if not for anything, to enable them to partake in the full experience of their culture. This is especially apt as the system that the German government has put in place allows international students to stay back to gain work experience in the country. Also, it will help in avoiding a sharp culture shock when you arrive in Germany, especially in your first few months of interacting with the locals.
Therefore, it is advisable for you as a Nigerian student to get a certain level of proficiency in the German language. Some of the tests you can explore are listed below:
- TestDaF (TDN 3, 4 or 5) (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache),
- DSH II or III (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang),
- Goethe-Zertifikat C2,
- telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule (The European Language Certificate),
- DSD II (Deutsches Sprachdiplom Stufe II)
N.B: Some of these tests are more popular than others, but all German universities recognise them as fit for proving proficiency, to any degree.
Despite the seemingly official nature of these tests, you should note that German universities do not expect you to be as proficient as a native speaker and can accept your proficiency, even at the most basic level. For them, understanding just a bit of the German language is a good start and reflects your willingness to study in Germany.
Things To Prepare For Your German Student Visa Application
To help you with your checklist that we proposed earlier, you can take note of the following to help you prepare for your visa application:
- You should start your visa application immediately after you have been accepted into your German university of choice.
- As a specification of your reason for studying in Germany, you would need to apply for the German Visa Type D/ residence permit.
- Schedule an appointment with the German consulate by email. Please note that this is different from the embassy.
- The minimum required documents to be granted an appointment are: fully completed visa application form, 1 passport photograph, your international passport, and the application fee in cash. Without these, you may be rejected.
- The price of the specified German visa type is 75 EUR.
- It is necessary to have proof of financial support to the tune of 720 EUR/month from an external source or, preferably, in your bank account.
- You will also need to get accommodation before your travel, as you won't get a visa without getting it. Many universities in Germany offer on/off-campus accommodation for subsidized prices. Make sure to consult your school to find out the accommodation options available for you.
With these in mind, you are well on your way to achieving your dream of migrating to Germany to study. Keep in mind to explore all the good things that the German culture has to offer any international student. Being a Nigerian student with a natural spirit for adventure, studying in Germany can be a rewarding experience. Before this materialises, however, take note of these study requirements for a Nigerian student such as yourself as it has the potential to make or mar your application process.