German Educare

Studying abroad vs locally: Study in Germany at the cost of studying in Malaysia [updated 2023]

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Last updated: March 2023


TL;DR: The cost of studying in a German public university can be comparable to the cost of studying in a foreign university branch campus in Malaysia. The main difference is that most German public universities do not charge tuition fee, hence, making the overall cost of study in Germany alot more affordable. Here’s a breakdown of the comparison between studying in Germany and studying in a foreign university branch campus in Malaysia.

Are you deciding on studying abroad vs locally? Crave for the exposure and freedom of studying overseas but want to keep the cost low so it doesn’t burden your parents financially? 

If you’re considering studying at a foreign university branch campus in Malaysia, just pause for a moment to consider your option to study in Germany.

What are Foreign University Branch Campuses (FUBCs)?

FUBCs are foreign universities that are invited by our government to open an off-shore campus in Malaysia. To date, there are 10 FUBCs in Malaysia that originate from Australia, the UK, China, and Ireland. A few of the more well-known FUBCs in Malaysia are Monash University Malaysia (Australia), the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UK), Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (UK), and Xiamen University Malaysia (China).

FUBCs are a great option for students who wish to obtain an internationally recognized qualification but don’t have the capacity to study abroad due to financial constraints or other personal reasons.

While more and more students are aiming to study at FUBCs in Malaysia, not many are aware that with similar investments in your education, you can study in Germany and obtain a world-class education and an actual international exposure.

Don’t believe it just yet?

We did a comparison of the total cost incurred to study at a FUBC in Malaysia and a public university in Germany, taking into account both the tuition fees and estimated cost of living. Here’s what we found.

Is your qualification recognised by German universities?

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are often the biggest bulk of your cost of study, but that’s not the case for Germany. We have compared the cost of studying a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering at Monash University Malaysia simply because the majority of Malaysian students are studying engineering in Germany.

The total cost of studying at a FUBC in Malaysia can differ greatly depending on the course of your choice. A medical course, for example, will cost you more than RM100,000 per year whereas studying social science or business will cost you less than RM40,000 per year. Bright and talented students might enjoy scholarships and fee waivers, while students with financial difficulties can apply for financial assistance.

On the other hand, the choice of courses has little or no effect on your study cost in Germany because courses offered in public universities are tuition-free (except the state of Baden-Württemberg). This applies not just to local students, but also to other international students, which significantly lowers the cost of studying in Germany.


International students will definitely need to rent a room and cannot avoid paying rent. To make the comparison fair, we’ve included the cost of accommodation at the FUBC. If you can continue to stay with your family and don’t need to rent an additional room near the FUBC, you can exclude this in your consideration.

Most FUBCs offer the choice to stay in a single or a sharing room. For our calculation, we’re using the cost to rent a single room at the Sunway Monash Residence. If you opt for a shared room, the rent can be lowered.

In Germany, students usually stay in single rooms. In most cities, you can get a single room at a student accommodation for about €400 per month but in major cities like Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg, a single room may cost up to €700 in the city center.

Food and groceries

Expenses for meals very much depend on your lifestyle. Based on the feedback from a few students, meals cost about RM800 per month for a typical university student who dines out most of the time. This is because some student accommodations in Malaysia don’t allow cooking. If you’re allowed to cook and choose to cook your own meals, you might be able to lower your monthly meals expenses.

In Germany, it’s recommended to cook at home or eat at the campus or student-friendly cafes as dining at a restaurant is expensive. Furthermore, there’s a tipping culture in Germany, and a meal at a restaurant can easily cost up to €20. On average, students spend €170 to €200 monthly on meals.


In Malaysia, if you stay within walking distance to your campus, you might not need to spend on commuting. If you have your own car or motorcycle, you’ll spend up to RM200 monthly on fuel, parking and toll. Not to forget maintenance and road tax. This also applies if you commute regularly with ride-hailing services.

In Germany however, you’ll need to make a semester contribution to your university. This semester contribution is around €300 per semester and there are two semesters in a year. The exact amount varies from university to university.

When you make a semester contribution, you’ll receive a semester ticket which you can use to take public transportations in the area where your university is located. Therefore, you don’t need to allocate an additional budget for transportation.


Insurance is not mandatory for a local student studying in Malaysia. Since that is the case, we’ll not count the cost of insurance as part of the cost of study.

By law, everyone in Germany is required to have health insurance. That includes international students studying in Germany and it costs around €120 per month. Depending on your insurance provider, your insurance covers the costs for doctor visits, treatment, medication, rehabilitation, and even basic dental treatments. You don’t need to worry about unexpected medical expenses if you fall ill in Germany. However, the insurance might not cover your pre-existing conditions and it’s best to check with your insurance provider.

Other expenses

Apart from the above major expenses, you’ll have other lifestyle-related expenses like Wi-Fi and mobile plan, personal care products and services, shopping, entertainment, sports, and more. How much you spend depends on your lifestyle.

Additional costs for studying in Germany

There are more steps and requirements to study in Germany compared to studying locally. For example, if you want to study in Germany, you’ll need to have one of the recognised pre-university qualifications. If your course is offered in German, you’ll need to be able to prove your German proficiency. Since you’ll be moving to another country, you’ll need to apply for a visa and meet visa requirements such as showing that you have enough funds to sustain yourself while you’re studying in Germany.

In addition, although you can study in English, we encourage you to master German as there are many benefits of learning German. Not only can you communicate better with locals, you’ll open up opportunities to work in Germany, both part-time during your studies as well as full-time on a permanent basis upon graduation.

We’ve fully prepared over 100 students to study in Germany and the investment for our comprehensive preparation programme should be counted towards the total cost of studying in Germany.

1. University Preparation Program

Our University Preparation Programme (UP Program) is a 15-month preparatory programme for pre-u leavers who want to study in Germany. This program includes:

  • German classes and exams from A1 (beginner) to C1 (advanced)
  • University selection and application workshops
  • Visa application
  • Pre-internship arrangement (if required)
  • Intercultural and pre-departure workshops
  • Local support in Malaysia and Germany

2. Living expenses in Germany for the final 6 months of the UP Programme

The first 9 months of the UP Programme is conducted in Malaysia and the final 6 months is conducted in Aachen, Germany. Our students generally spend around €200 per month for food and personal expenses in Germany. Accommodation and insurance are included in the UP Programme fee.

3. Flight ticket to Germany

A one-way flight ticket to Germany costs around RM2,500.

Interested to study in Germany? Find out how we can prepare you to achieve your dream.

It might be quite surprising, but if you’re prepared to study at a FUBC in Malaysia, you’ll be able to also study in Germany too! Germany has a lot to offer and we believe that you’ll gain exciting experiences, exposures, and opportunities if you choose to study in Germany.

Did we also mention that most students work part-time during their studies? You’re allowed to work part-time for up to 120 full days or 240 half days per year with an average hourly wage of €12 per hour. This further lowers your living costs while studying in Germany.

With all that being said, studying in Germany isn’t too far-fetched, right?

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