Are you thinking about studying abroad in Europe but are unsure, because you only speak English? Don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities to study abroad in Germany in English as well. Since the system has changed to the international Bachelor/Master system, many courses are offered in English and many Germans speak the language – even more amongst the younger generation.
Do not let your lack of German language skills hold you back from considering Germany as a destination for your semester abroad, as there are many perks to choosing this country as the destination for your studies abroad.
Why Study Abroad in Germany?
Germany is a very popular destination for international students. Its very low tuition cost is most certainly one of the reasons, but there are many more. Germany has great universities with quality programs that really make it worth your time to spend a semester abroad. Furthermore, its strategic location in the middle of Europe makes it the perfect base to explore other countries during vacations – Germany shares borders with the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark alone, and many more countries are just hours of travel by train away.
But Germany is also a very interesting country in and of itself. You can find historic city centers, countless castles and fortresses, and amazing museums and exhibitions. You can go hiking in one of the 16 National parks and discover different ecosystems from the wadden sea in the north to the Black Forest and the peaks of the Alps in Bavaria.
Germany is also a very welcoming and inclusive country. Almost a quarter of Germans have a migration background, meaning they have either migrated themselves from a different country or their parents have. This also has a huge influence on the German culture. You can find every kind of food in the big cities and will hear many different languages spoken. German universities actively try to encourage foreign students to spend a semester abroad here and German students take this opportunity as well – a third of German students go abroad for at least a semester during their studies.
And last but not least, Germany is a very safe country. It has a low crime rate and ranks among the 25 most LGBTQ-friendly countries. So, you will definitely not regret your decision to study abroad in Germany in English.
English Study Abroad Options in Germany
There are different ways to study abroad in Germany. You can either come for one or two semesters, just take some courses or do your entire degree here. Of course, these different ways all require a different approach.
With direct enrolment, you can finish your entire degree in Germany. You can directly enroll with the universities as long as your university entrance qualification is accepted. If this is not the case, you can take specific courses to bring it up to date.
You have to take a good look at the programs to see if they are all in English. Usually, it is easier to find a Masters or PhD program in English, but you can also find Bachelor programs. A great resource for support, information and scholarships is the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
This is probably the most common way to study abroad in Germany – taking a semester or two as part of a direct exchange program of your university. You have to ask your own university which the partner institutions in Germany are. Often it is also possible to go to a university out of the program, but accreditation is much easier if you chose a partner.
If you decide to be part of a direct exchange program for your studies in Germany, enrollment and most of the logistics will be taken care of. Sometimes universities even help with accommodation and in the ideal case, all the courses you take abroad count towards your degree in your home country. If you live in an EU country, the direct exchange programs are organized through the Erasmus program.
Third-party providers for study abroad in Germany are the best choice if you only have limited time, are looking for a summer course or language classes. They are usually a bit more expensive, but they take care of everything for you and help you to get settled.
English-Friendly Destinations in Germany
Germany has a wide range of quality institutions where you can study abroad and the choice is not always easy. There are more than a couple of cities that are amazing to study abroad in. The bigger cities usually offer more opportunities for English speakers though and it might be easier to find other likeminded people to socialize. Furthermore, cities like Berlin and Munich have an incredible number of things to do – from visiting museums, concerts and exhibitions to dancing the night away in clubs and discotheques. So here come four of the best cities to study abroad in Germany in English.
Berlin is the perfect backdrop for any history or art student studying abroad in Germany. As the capital and one of the largest cities in Germany, it is also a paradise for student activities. There are plenty of museums and cultural activities to keep any student busy for months. With an easily navigable public transportation system, it is easy to take in the entirety of the city during your semester abroad. Most international students in Berlin choose to focus their studies on Management, Administration, and International Business.
Frankfurt is Germany’s business and economic center. As the home of the European Central Bank, Stock Exchange, and numerous business schools, Frankfurt is very expat-friendly and locals there are used to non-German speakers living in the city. It’s also one of the most livable metropolises in the world. For students who want to study in English, you can either take one of the many courses available in English at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, or even choose to do your entire graduate degree in English.
Munich lies in the south of Germany, near the Austrian border and at the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is also the home to Oktoberfest, and nicknamed ‘the Capital of Beer.’ As a popular study abroad destination, locals are used to students coming through the town. Traditional music and baroque architecture have their homes here. Study Media and Communication in Munich, and reduce your worries of things getting lost in translation. There are plenty of English speakers to befriend in Munich!
Hamburg is a slightly smaller city that still boasts an environment-friendly to non-German speakers. If you are a fan of the water, this city is for you. With beaches and canals to paddle down in a boat, you can’t go wrong in Hamburg. Its close proximity to Denmark and the Netherlands makes it a fantastic launching point for travel all over Europe. Hamburg is a port city and a worldwide trading center full of great shopping spots, nightlife, and plenty of cultural attractions. Go to Hamburg to study Engineering, Management, or Media and Communications.
Study Abroad Housing in Germany
Finding a place to stay during your studies in Germany can be a bit difficult, specifically in the bigger cities. If you are going with a direct exchange program or a third-party provider, the coordinators of the program will help you with this though. And even if you are planning to do your entire degree in Germany, you can ask the coordination office or your supervisor for support in looking for accommodation.
Student residences are very common in university-towns in Germany. Usually, students have a small room for themselves and share a kitchen and a bathroom. This is also the most affordable way of living and often these residences are close to the campus. And the best thing is, you will meet many people from all over the world and will surely make many friends very quickly.
Another very common way of living as a student in Germany are so called WGs (Wohngemeinschaften) where several students share a flat as roommates. This is also a great way to get to meet people and to learn about German culture – is there a better way for immersion than to live with Germans?
Study Abroad Costs in Germany
Germany is a very popular destination for students from all over the world because of its extremely low tuition cost. As long as you are planning to study at a public university, you will only pay a so-called semester contribution for your studies which covers administrative cost and can range from 50 Euros to around 300 per semester (except for some specific cases). Private universities charge more and the price range here varies widely.
Living in Germany is not very expensive, considering the living standard. The biggest expense you will have is rent, and particularly in a city like Munich, this number might be quite high. If you cook and do not eat out a lot, you will be able to live quite well on a limited budget with discounters like Aldi and Lidl in every city.
Study in English -- But Learn German
German is the most widely spoken native language in the European Union and knowing some German can really work as a door opener during your time studying in Germany. So, while this whole article focuses on how you can study in Germany in English, you might change your mind once you arrive and realize you do want to learn German. If that happens, there are many German Language Schools Abroad where you can learn some language skills and dive a bit deeper into German culture.
Studying Abroad in Germany in English is a great way to broaden your horizon and spend time in an interesting country with a colorful culture. Germany is a great destination, not only because of its location and the low cost, but also because it is welcoming towards foreign students and can help you to get the quality education you are seeking.