The high quality of education and research, modern teaching and learning methods, simple and transparent admission procedures and good advisory services are attracting young people to Germany from around the world. This has been confirmed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) which questioned 11,000 students from abroad in a survey. In the winter semester 2013/14 there were around 300,000 international students registered at the universities – more than ever before. This makes Germany the most popular host country for overseas students, following the USA and Britain. Special programmes, such as the DAAD scholarship and supervision programme Stibet, are designed to help the guests find their feet in Germany. The Federal Foreign Office has dedicated some 7.5 million euros to this programme alone.
As the survey shows, there are still hurdles to overcome. More than half of the students in the DAAD survey said they had difficulty finding a room or a place in a student hall of residence. A quarter of those in the survey had significant difficulty in dealing with official authorities and administrative bodies. That is why 77 per cent of the students favoured the improvement of advisory services at universities; almost half of them called for better support in their search for apartments and jobs. There are also hurdles before starting to study: prospective students from Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe complain about difficulties in acquiring a visa for Germany.
Slightly more than half of the students want to work in Germany after completing their degrees. “That is very positive, because top international employees are an essential element in the German university landscape, and they enrich our society,” stresses DAAD President Margret Wintermantel. Graduates especially praised the good career prospects, the high standard of living and the excellent educational opportunities in Germany.
There is no end in sight for the boom in demand generated by students from abroad. The Federal Government is expecting more than 350,000 international students in 2020.