Germany’s work opportunities & price point attracting international students
Germany’s attractiveness internationally is booming, especially among students across south Asia, according to international student recruitment experts.
The country hit a record of 370,000 international students in the 2022/23 academic year and is looking to target skilled workers and international graduates of its higher education system to boost its economy.
The chancellor Olaf Scholz recently stated that Germany needs the “young and well-qualified” international students for “the successful economic development of our country”.
Statistics released this month indicate that Europe’s largest economy shrank by 0.1% in the third quarter of 2023. However, its appeal among prospective students is at an all-time high, according to international student recruiters.
The ICEF 2023 Agent Voice survey, found that appetite for international education remains strong, with Germany listed as one of the destination countries where significant growth projected.
In addition to very affordable fees at public institutions, private higher education universities offering up to 30% off tuition fees in scholarships is attracting students, education agents say.
“Europe is becoming a real big player in India,” Jyotan Singh, senior business development manager, for SIEC Education recently told The PIE. “Germany is offering visas to students really quickly.”
Jaspreet Pandhal, partner – International Relations, Events & University Desk Management at TC Global in India, also noted that Germany is seeing a big uptick in interest, particularly through Undergraduate students.
“We’re finding that the price point, post-work opportunities and industries are making it more attractive to students,” she told The PIE.
The company has seen a “significant increase” in demand in its recent school visits, largely due to the price point making it a more viable option for many families, Pandhal explained.
The German Federal Ministry of Education, together with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), has launched an initiative to recruit international students and graduates and “qualify them as future skilled workers for the German job market”.
The program, back by €120 million from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research until 2028, will aim to support international students in their studies and in their transition to the German job market.
“Germany is in third place in the global ranking of the most popular countries to study,” Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger said earlier this month.
“For a large number of international students, the good prospects of remaining professionally in the future have already been an important factor in choosing Germany as a place to study.”
Analysis from last year found that more than 60% of international students who obtained a study visa in 2015 were still present in Germany five years later – a similar retention rate to Canada, and ahead of Australia, Estonia and New Zealand.
The ‘Campus Initiative for International Specialists’ initiative is seeking to expand “the opportunities for our member universities to qualify and support international talents during their studies, when they graduate and when they make the transition to the German job market”, according to DAAD president Joybrato Mukherjee.
“We ensure that young people from all over the world have better career opportunities in Germany”
“In this way, we strengthen the integration of international students at universities and in our society. At the same time, we ensure that young people from all over the world have better career opportunities in Germany after successfully completing their studies and help alleviate the shortage of skilled workers.”
Two programs included in the initiative are the FIT program, which offers international students tailor-made support measures in the various phases of their studies, such as study preparation courses, accompanying offers for academic success and integration into the university and society, as well as offers for entry into professional life.
Up to 70 projects will be funded with up to €1m from spring 2024.
The Profi plus program, in turn, is for international academics with foreign university degrees and professional experience.
Up to 25 university projects, with access to some €700,000 each, will support academics in adapting their qualifications to the requirements of the German labor market, in addition to specialist application coaching or job-related language and communication training.
In addition to the attractive price point and post-work opportunities, agents emphasised that Germany appears more welcoming that alternative study destinations.
One reason prospective PG students are turning away from the UK in favour of Germany is “definitely the end of the spouse visas”, SIEC noted.
“The age group we are targeting is above 25 or 30 and then mostly master’s aspirants. So that’s one reason. Australia has post study work right visas and the rhetoric that’s coming out of Australia is much more positive towards international students.
“I think what we went through last year where there was this whole conversation around the post study work visa, maybe not continuing, maybe the spouse visas are getting declined.”
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